Richard Haass: What the US wants from Russia now

From a speech by the planning director of the US State Department at the Kennan Institute in Washington

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a sea change in US-Russian relations, so that disagreement no longer creates crisis. But to be frank - and friends need to be frank - our bilateral relationship over the past two years has had setbacks as well as achievements.

On the positive side of the ledger, Russia has understood that Nato's enlargement does not clash with its basic interests. Both of our countries have signed the Treaty of Moscow, calling for deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals, and we anticipate exchanging instruments of ratification at the St Petersburg summit next month.

On the negative side, we were disappointed at Russia's opposition to a second UN resolution authorising force to compel Iraqi compliance with its disarmament obligations. That said, I want to applaud Russia's vote earlier today in the Security Council on behalf of a resolution that lifts sanctions and provides a foundation for the rebuilding of Iraq.

Beyond Iraq, the United States is looking for solid Russian co-operation in addressing other regional threats. We have made clear our desire for Russian involvement in persuading North Korea to abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons, just as we have reiterated the dangers posed by Iran's nuclear programme.

It is also important that Russia continues to consolidate political and economic reform at home. The last decade has been one of extraordinary change and adaptation for Russian society, but much work remains to ensure the emergence of a mature market democracy, particularly in the areas of the rule of law and independent media. Our goal is an ever-deepening bilateral relationship based on partnership with an increasingly democratic, market-oriented Russia.

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