President Barack Obama — who visited Russia in July — has vowed to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations and Clinton brought a wide range of issues to Moscow for discussion.
Clinton apologized for missing Obama’s visit because of a broken elbow, but joked that that “now both my elbow and our relationships are reset and we’re moving forward, which I greatly welcome,” she said.
While Clinton was visiting Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, generally seen as Russia’s most powerful political figure, was in China to sign a framework agreement for $3.5 billion in energy deals.
Putin’s absence from the Russian capital highlighted Moscow’s growing recognition of the global clout of its eastern neighbor — and to some even suggested an effort to show the U.S. it’s not the only game in town.
Maria Lipman of the Carnegie Moscow Carnegie noted, however, that Clinton met not only with her counterpart, the Russian foreign minister, but also with Medvedev, who as president is the constitutional head of state.
As part of the emerging division of labor between the Russian leadership duo, Putin has increasingly focused on strategic business issues and Asia, while leaving diplomacy with U.S. and European officials to Medvedev, who was elected last year after being picked by Putin as his successor.
Beyond Iran, Lavrov said U.S. and Russia negotiators have made “considerable” progress toward reaching agreement on a new strategic arms treaty. The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expires in December and negotiators have been racing to reach agreement on a successor.
The two diplomats also discussed possible cooperation on missile defense following Obama’s decision not to proceed with Bush-administration plans to base such a system in eastern Europe. Russia has welcomed Obama’s new approach, but has said it was eager for more detailed information.
Also on the agenda were Afghanistan, nuclear-armed North Korea, NATO expansion, the situation in Georgia after its conflict with Russia last year, human rights and arms control.
Associated Press writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report.