Obama, Medvedev: Big Nuclear Cuts in Sight

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President Barack Obama has wrapped up his first day in Moscow, but not before both countries announced a tentative agreement to reduce nuclear arms.

After a tense relationship with the Bush administration, both the U.S. and Russia are hoping to change the nature of how they do business.

The president landed in Moscow with the full family in tow and a full agenda ahead. The overall theme-- to reset the relationship between the two countries.

After a brief ceremony at the Russian tomb of the unknown soldier, the two presidents Obama and Medvedev met with a sort of "to Russia with love" approach.

"The United States and Russia have more in common than they have differences, and that if we work hard during these next few days, that we can make extraordinary progress that will benefit the people of both countries," Obama said.

The president came to Russia trying to forge an agreement on nuclear arms reductions.  The old Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expires in December, so Monday --while it's not a done deal--  a framework for a new START agreement is beginning to now take shape. It will pave the way to a new treaty.

The U.S. and Russia signed a "joint understanding" that commits both countries to reducing strategic warheads to a range of 1,500-1,675, down from the 2,200 of the the current start treaty.  Strategic delivery vehicles would be reduced to anywhere between 500-1,000, down from the current 1,600.  The tentative agreement is seen as a positive first step.

"I think it shows that Russians and Americans have a lot in common and the people themselves want to see much better relationships between the countries on a geo-political basis," said Andrew Somers of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

The two leaders met Monday for a few hours and afterwards, at a joint press conference, the president was asked whether he trusts Medvedev in these negotiations.

"Yes, I trust President Medvedev to not only listen and to negotiate constructively, but also to follow through on the agreements that are contained here today," Obama said.

The love back from Medvedev to Obama was obvious as well.

"We have agreed that we will go forward without stopping that we will make the decisions that are needed for the development of relations between our two countries," he said.

While the nuclear reduction deal is being spun positively by both sides, it should be noted that the U.S. and Russia could not agree, at least for now, on a proposed missle defense system in eastern Europe.

Both countries will discuss it again this fall.

Also, in addition to the progress on START negotiations, the Russians also agreed to allow the U.S. to use their territory and air space to move supplies into Afghanistan.

The White House says the deal will save the U.S. about $133 million a year.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.