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Obama, Medvedev Chow Down, Then Chew Over Issues

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President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia ride together for lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va.
Official White House photo by Pete Souza via Flickr
President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia ride together for lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va.

By DESMOND BUTLER Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama declared Thursday that he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have "succeeded in resetting" the relationship between the former Cold War adversaries that had dipped to a dangerous low in recent years.

Obama directly acknowledged differences in some areas, such as Moscow's tensions with neighboring Georgia, but said "we addressed those differences candidly." And he announced that the U.S. and Russia had agreed to expand cooperation on intelligence and the counterterror fight and worked on strengthening economic ties between the nations.

Obama gave Russia perhaps the biggest gift it could have wanted from the meetings: an unqualified, hearty plug for Moscow's ascension to the World Trade Organization. Russia has long wanted membership but U.S. support in the past has come with conditions.

"Russia belongs in the WTO," Obama said as the two leaders stood side-by-side in the East Room after several hours of meetings, including an impromptu trip to a nearby burger joint for lunch.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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