President Barack Obama called Vladimir Putin today and congratulated the Russian leader on his victory in March 4’s presidential election, according to a White House statement.
“The two leaders outlined areas for future cooperation, including strengthening trade and investment relations,” according to the statement. They “agreed to continue discussions on areas where the United States and Russia have differed, including Syria and missile defense.”
Obama called Putin earlier today from Air Force One as he traveled to Prince George County in southern Virginia for a speech, spokesman Josh Earnest said.
U.S.-Russian relations will be based on U.S. interests when Putin succeeds President Dmitry Medvedev, White House press secretary Jay Carney said yesterday.
“It’s not a personality-based policy,” Carney said. “Our policy towards Russia is based on our interests and not on personalities.”
Obama retooled relations with Russia, pushing a diplomatic “reset” button that Carney said “produced benefits” for U.S. national security and commercial interests.
“President Obama and President-elect Putin agreed that the successful reset in relations should be built upon during the coming years,” according to the White House statement.
The U.S. will work with Russia “where we agree on issues,” Carney said.
Putin won the election with about 64 percent of the vote, according to the official tally, in a victory that international observers criticized as unfair.
Putin, 59, has held power in Russia for 12 years, including the last four as prime minister. He was elected president in 2000 and 2004; term limits prevented him from seeking a third consecutive term in that office.
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