Obama, Medvedev mistrust scuppers deal

2011-05-26 21:14
President Barack Obama, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walk together as they arrive at the G8 Summit, in Deauville, France. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

President Barack Obama, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walk together as they arrive at the G8 Summit, in Deauville, France. (Carolyn Kaster, AP) (Carolyn Kaster)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now

Deauville - President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev emerged from private talks Thursday unable to show progress on the contentious issue of missile defence, underscoring an enduring mistrust underlying the US-Russia relationship despite gradual thawing.

Obama's top Russia adviser Mike McFaul put the problem plainly after the meeting with the Russians: "They don't believe us," he said.

At issue is Washington's plan to site missile interceptors in Central and Eastern Europe in phases through 2020. Despite repeated assurances, Russia hasn't let go of the fear that the US would end up threatening Russia's own missile arsenal, something US officials say won't happen.

Obama and Medvedev spoke on the sidelines of a two-day summit of industrialised nations here focused in part on bolstering emerging democracies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Obama said after the 90-minute meeting with Medvedev that they'd committed to working together on missile defence to find an approach that is "consistent with the security needs of both countries, that maintains the strategic balance, and deals with potential threats that we both share."

Medvedev, however, suggested the problem wouldn't be solved any time soon.

"I have told my counterpart, Barack Obama, that this issue will be finally solved in the future, like, for example, in the year 2020, but we, at present, might lay the foundation for other politicians' activities," Medvedev said.

"And this would be a sound foundation for co-operation between our two countries in the future."

Medvedev has warned that failure to co-operate with Moscow on the missile shield could spark a new arms race.

Deep tensions remain

Their meeting came in the context of an ongoing attempt to shore up relations between the US and Russia, once icy but now significantly warming - to the point that Obama and Medvedev had a memorable bonding day, complete with a burger run, when the Russian president visited the US less than a year ago.

But deep tensions remain and the leaders' body language Thursday seemed to show it. Obama's stern expression was in contrast to his relaxed and affable demeanour during earlier stops on his four-country Europe tour.

Medvedev also appeared cool, and leaned away from Obama as he talked. The two men spoke of a strengthened personal relationship, but their body language did not match their words.

Obama's aides worked later to correct any impression, based on the leaders' cool demeanour in their few minutes of speaking in front of the media, that there was tension between the men.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes described the relationship as warm and free-flowing, saying they even "joke around a lot".

McFaul said it was precisely because of their much cultivated relationship that Medvedev and Obama were talking seriously about issues that have stymied their countries for decades, such as missile defence.

At the same time White House officials said that after decades of deep mistrust during the Cold War, and the chilly relationship between former presidents George W Bush and Vladimir Putin, putting past feelings aside will take time.

"This is a very hard issue," McFaul said. "There's a lot of old thinking in both of our governments, frankly. This is a new challenge to think about how to do this co-operatively."

Requires effort

Medvedev, according to a translator, said he was "satisfied" by his personal relationship with Obama and that it has helped advanced the one between the countries, too.

"It requires a lot of effort, and it requires continuing in the same vein, full of trust, with relations full of trust, between the two presidents," the Russian president said. "It does not mean that we'll have common views and coinciding views on all the issues. It's impossible, and it's not worth trying."

Obama was also holding talks on Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the first between the two leaders since the March earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan that sparked fears of a nuclear meltdown at the damaged Fukushima plant.

Obama's meetings with Medvedev and Kan came as leaders from the Group of Eight industrialised economies readied plans for offering financial assistance to Tunisia and Egypt.

Both North African nations are heading toward elections after their long time leaders were pushed out of power by the uprisings that started the Arab Spring.

While there are still questions about whether Tunisia and Egypt can successfully transition to democracies, White House officials say that prospect will be far more likely if the US and its allies help strengthen their economies.

The G-8 is not expected to reach an agreement on how much money to give the two countries, only outline a framework for ways to offer financial assistance.

Leadership crisis

The International Monetary Fund, which is in the midst of a leadership crisis following the arrest and resignation of its chief, will play a leading role in assessing Tunisia and Egypt's economic needs and providing loan packages.

The White House says it is confident the fund can still carry out these duties as it waits for a successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be named.

The US is carefully avoiding saying whether it believes a European should continue to run the fund, or whether a leader from the developing world should take over.

The G-8 comprises the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan. The European Union is also represented.

Obama's appearance here comes on the heels of a sweeping address he delivered on Wednesday at London's Westminster Hall, where he cast the US, Britain and other allies in Europe as the world's "greatest catalysts for global action".

After the G-8 meeting wraps on Friday he travels to Poland, the final stop on his four-country, six-day Europe trip that began on Monday in Ireland.

- AP
Read more on:    barack obama  |  dmitry medvedev  |  us  |  russia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Adventure holidays you HAVE to put on your bucket list

Need a break from your usual boring routine? Consider one of these places for your next adventure holiday.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.