Putin writes to Obama on security, missile defence: source
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Russian President Vladimir Putin. AP PhotoRussian President Vladimir Putin has spelled out his views on security, bilateral relations and regional cooperation in a letter to US counterpart Barack Obama, a Russian diplomatic source said today.
The letter was delivered by Putin's Kremlin predecessor Dmitry Medvedev who attended the G8 summit at Camp David at the weekend after Putin had cancelled his US visit on the grounds that he was too busy picking a cabinet.
A Russian diplomatic source familiar with the matter told AFP the letter consisted of three parts and mapped out Russia's vision of security issues, bilateral relations including controversial trade restrictions, and regional cooperation.
Putin has repeatedly criticised the United States over the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a law imposing trade restrictions on Russia that dates back to the Cold War and which remains a sticking point in US-Russian relations.
The US missile defence plans for Europe remain another major stumbling block in bilateral ties as Washington presses ahead with a European missile shield despite Russian complaints. The letter is meant to prepare the ground for a scheduled meeting with Obama at the G20 summit in Mexico next month, their first since the Russian leader returned to the presidency for a historic third term, the source said.
Obama was overheard telling Medvedev at a nuclear security summit in Seoul in March that the upcoming election left him little room for manoeuvre to address Moscow's objections to the US missile shield. His republican rival Mitt Romney has accused him of showing "breathtaking weakness" towards Moscow.
Obama enjoyed a close relationship with Medvedev, now Putin's prime minister, but uncertainty clouds US-Russia relations after the ex-KGB man's return to the pinnacle of power.