Putin says ready to "go far" in U.S. relations - Ifax

Sat May 5, 2012 6:06pm GMT

By Gleb Bryanski

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's President-elect Vladimir Putin is ready to go far in developing ties between Russia and the United States provided the relationship is equal, Interfax news agency quoted Putin's foreign policy aide as saying on Saturday.

Putin discussed bilateral relations at a closed-door meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama's top security aide Tom Donilon at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Friday, three days before his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin.

"Putin emphasized that in developing the relationship with the United States, Russia is ready to go really far, on condition that the Americans will act on the principles of an equal and mutually respectful partnership," Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying.

Ushakov said Donilon handed Putin a letter from Obama, calling it "a multi-page detailed document, whose main message is that Obama is ready to cooperate with Putin in order to move forward on the path of the creation of partnership between the United States and Russia".

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov and the U.S. embassy in Russia declined to comment on the meeting.

Putin plans to make his first foreign visit as president later this month to the United States where he will take part in the G8 leaders' summit as well as meet Obama. Putin's second major foreign visit will be to China at the start of June.

Putin, who tried to keep a low profile in foreign policy issues during his stint as prime minister, last met Obama for a caviar breakfast at Novo-Ogaryovo in July 2009.

Obama made "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia one of his top foreign policy priorities. He had a good working relationship with departing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who will now become prime minister.   Continued...

Russia's Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin talks to the media at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool
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