Russia-U.S. ties still not easy: Russian FM

09:46, December 26, 2009      

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Relations between Russia and the United States have not become easier since U.S. President Barack Obama came into office, but the two countries have had more and better exchanges, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"Saying that it has become easier for us to work in this area (Russia-U.S. relations) since President Obama came to power would simplify the situation seriously. However, the amount of work has increased and its quality has changed," Lavrov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency.

He said the two countries are now busy clearing up the problems that were amassed under the former U.S. administration and have strained bilateral ties.

"In fact, we are at the beginning of a process aimed at bringing our relations back to normal, which would also reflect our shared responsibility for the fate of the world," he said.

In a separate interview with Russian news channel Vesti 24 on Friday, Lavrov admitted that Moscow and Washington remain at odds over Georgia, a former Soviet republic that has allied itself with the United States.

"We have differences on how to further interact, if at all, with the (Mikhail) Saakashvili regime because the United States supports Georgia's Euro-Atlantic ambitions and is helping it restore its army," Lavrov said.

This year marked the "reset" of Russia-U.S. relations as the Obama administration adjusted its policy toward Moscow, but dispelling mistrust accumulated over years remains a knotty issue, observers here noted.

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