Russia ties based on policy, not personality: US
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Reuters photoThe White House said Thursday its relationship with Russia was based on issues, not personalities, as the return of Vladimir Putin poses fresh questions for "reset" US-Kremlin relations.
President Barack Obama's reinvigoration of relations with Russia is regarded by aides as a signature foreign policy success, but recent spats with Moscow and Putin's presidential election win have cast doubt on future cooperation.
"Our policy towards Russia is based on our interests and not on personalities," White House spokesman Jay Carney said, when asked whether Obama would be as friendly with Putin as he has been with President Dmitry Medvedev.
"The reset policy that the president pursued after he took office, with Russia, produced benefits for US national security interests, US commercial interests." "We obviously look forward to continuing to cooperate and work with Russia where we agree on issues. And that's regardless of who the president is." Putin has adopted a more confrontational posture towards the West than that used by Medvedev, who seems a better personal fit for Obama than does Putin, a hardnosed former KGB man.
Some analysts have also questioned whether the rising political opposition Putin has encountered in Russia will lead him to adopt nationalistic and populist stances which could cause conflict in US relations with Moscow.
Washington has reacted cautiously to Putin's election and said it hoped that Moscow would carry out an independent probe after foreign monitors found the results of Sunday's poll had been skewed in Putin's favor.
"I believe the international observers noted that Mr. Putin won a majority of the vote. But we also note the irregularities that have been reported," Carney said.
The State Department said on Monday that it hoped that with the election out of the way, Russia would turn its attention to helping to solve the Syria crisis.
Russia and China have twice used their veto in the UN Security Council to block international action against the regime in Damascus of President Bashar al-Assad, earning an angry US response.