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The resumption of Russia-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) dialogue has gone awry. And the nascent hopes regarding a "reset of the button" of the Russian-American relationship are belied. With Moscow under multiple pressures from the West, two top Chinese officials have arrived in the Russian capital to offer support - Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
Moscow angrily reacted to NATO's expulsion of two Russian diplomats on Wednesday.
Originally posted by JanusFIN
- Sounds like "hunt of the red october" in my ears... Really. Where are we heading, and fast?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday mildly rebuked Moscow over its role in Georgia but said she wants U.S.-Russia relations to rise to a "new level" and would not dwell on differences.
At a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Clinton sought to minimize tensions over Georgia and Russia's strong opposition to NATO military exercises there this week, saying "people in families disagree."
"It is old thinking to say that we have a disagreement in one area, therefore we shouldn't work in something else that is of overwhelming importance, she said.
"That is just not the way we think," she added. "We want to normalize the relationship and raise it to a new level."
Russia briefly invaded Georgia last summer and tensions flared again this week when Georgia accused Russia of being behind a failed mutiny at a military base.
Clinton said the two discussed Georgia in their meeting, which is aimed at laying the groundwork for a July summit between President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev. Lavrov was also set to see Obama on Thursday.
"We have expressed on several occasions our concern about Georgia," said Clinton. "I believe that Minister Lavrov as well as the Russian government recognize that stability and a peaceful resolution to the tensions in Georgia is in everyone's interest."
'NOT TURNING A BLIND EYE'
Lavrov said the two nations had obvious differences over Georgia but progress in key areas such as arms control would not be held hostage by such disagreements.
"We are not turning a blind eye to the difficulties that exist ... but we must openly and sincerely discuss those differences and seek to find solutions," he said.
"We need to get rid of any negative heritage from the past," he added through an interpreter.
U.S.-Russia relations deteriorated under the Bush administration, sinking to post-Cold War lows after Moscow's invasion of Georgian territory and differences over a missile defense system planned by Washington.
Arms control is one area where both sides say they can make progress, especially in replacing a Cold War-era arms reduction treaty, called START 1, that expires in December.
Clinton said negotiators had met again this week and were making progress. Formal talks are set to start in Moscow on May 18, with the goal of having the outlines of a deal when Obama meets Russia's leader in July.
Another issue is increased bickering between Moscow and NATO following the expulsion last week of two Brussels-based Russian diplomats from the military alliance.
Lavrov responded by dropping plans to attend a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this month, but said on Thursday he hoped the council could soon resume its work.
"We hope that in the very near future, any obstacles in the resumption of the work, of the NATO-Russia Council -- such obstacles are absolutely artificial -- we hope that they will be removed very soon," he said.