The Washington Times - March 6, 2009, 12:42PM

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva Friday with a special present: a reset button inside a gift box with a ribbon.

It was the material expression of the symbolic gesture Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. made to Moscow in a speech in Munich last month, which was meant to mark a fresh start to U.S.-Russian relations under the Obama administration.


Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lavrov pressed the button together at the beginning of their first meeting, and he said he would put in on his desk.

“I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama, Vice President Biden and I have been saying,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We want to reset our relationship, and so we will do it together.”

In addition to the red button on a black-and-yellow base, the State Department had written “reset” in English and what it thought was its Russian equivalent.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Mrs. Clinton asked Mr. Lavrov.

“You got it wrong,” he said, adding that the word he was looking at meant “overcharge,” though “overload” may be more precise.

“We won’t let you do that to us,” Mrs. Clinton replied, with everyone in the room laughing.