US Ambassador: US-Russian relations have matured

A very important consultation in regard to Iraq will take place during the upcoming meeting between the US and Russian presidents at Camp David at the end of September. In addition, questions of the fight against international terrorism and widening US-Russian economic relations will also be discussed, said US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow on radio station Echo Moskvy. Moreover, he said that questions of US-Russian bilateral relations will also be discussed.

Vershbow said that the US is closely following the efforts of Russia to solve the Chechen conflict. 'We believe that the conflict can only be solved through a political settlement. In this context, we have great hope in the Chechen presidential elections,' said Vershbow. He also said that during the upcoming meeting, the two presidents will also discuss non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, Iran and North Korea. 'We are hopeful that the presidents can find a unified position for working out a new resolution on Iraq for the UN Security Council,' he said.

Vershbow said that both presidents have expressed an interest in expanding bilateral trade and flow of investment between the two countries. He said that Russia and the US could successfully cooperate in humanitarian areas as well as the battle with AIDS. 'Russia is successfully deciding questions of democratization, nevertheless, like before, several joint US-Russia programs remain directed at the consolidation of democratic and economic cooperation between the two countries,' Vershbow said. He said that in this respect the US-Russia relationship has matured compared to the 1990's.

Vershbow said that he did not know about any participation by Russia in post-war Iraq peacekeeping operations. 'Russian must make a decision by itself about participating in the Iraq peacekeeping operation. (Russian participation) would certainly accelerate stabilizing the situation in Iraq and the process of returning power to the Iraqi government,' he said. He said Russia is already participating in the economic reconstruction of Iraq as Russian companies are now cooperating in the 'oil for food' program.

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