Today, Secretary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton said, "Since our first meeting in Geneva, a little more than a year ago, Minister Lavrov and I, along with our respective governments under the leadership of both President Medvedev and President Obama, have worked toward a new beginning in the relationship between the United States and Russia. We believe that this reset of the relationship has led to much greater cooperation, coordination, and a constructive ongoing consultation on numerous issues that are important to our bilateral relationship and to the global issues that we both are facing."
Secretary Clinton continued, "I think it's critical that Minister Lavrov is hosting the Middle East Quartet. When we begin our meetings with Quartet members this evening, we'll have the chance to explore in depth the way forward in the Middle East, but these talks are yet another reminder that the United States and Russia, together, face global challenges, and that there are many people not only in Russia and the United States, but, literally, throughout the world who depend upon the ability of the U.S. and Russia to work together."
Secretary Clinton then addressed several topics she and Foreign Minister Lavrov discussed, including the upcoming nuclear security summit, Iran's nuclear program and cooperation on Afghanistan. Secretary Clinton said:
"We discussed the upcoming nuclear security summit. Fifty heads of state, including President Medvedev, will be in Washington. And it especially is important for the United States and Russia, who bear the responsibility, to continue the way forward on nonproliferation and to work as partners in the global effort to secure fissile materials and counter the threat of nuclear terrorism. So this is another initiative that both President Obama, who suggested it, and President Medvedev, who embraced it, can see the cooperation between us. We are making substantial progress on the new START treaty; that's the word from our negotiators in Geneva. And the results from the latest negotiating rounds lead us to believe we will be reaching a final agreement soon.
"We discussed at length Iran's nuclear program, which remains an issue of grave concern for the international community. We are still committed, as we have been, to a diplomatic solution, but there must be a solution. Iran is not living up to its international obligations and, therefore, we're working together with our other partners in the P-5+1 to bring together a very clear international consensus in the Security Council that gives Iran the message it needs to hear that its behavior does have consequences and that its pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a direct threat both to regional and global security.
"I thanked Sergey for the cooperation between the United States and Russia with respect to Afghanistan. The transit agreement that our two presidents announced has resulted in troops and material now moving across Russia in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan. As of this week, 111 flights have ferried more than 15,000 soldiers. And we have also increased our cooperation and launched a joint exercise to share financial intelligence related to the flow of narcotics into Russia, an issue that is very important to the Russian people, and that we have pledged to work with the Russian Government to address.
"We are also looking for ways to increase our cooperation on disaster response. The devastating earthquake in Haiti was a clear indication of why we need to be working more closely together. Russian emergency relief teams were among the very first on the ground in Haiti after that disaster. This is a particular concern of Minister Lavrov's, and I believe it's another area where we should deepen and broaden our working together.
"The Bilateral Commission that our two presidents established is working well, and we're pleased by the results of the efforts of the working groups. This goes far beyond traditional foreign issues. We are exploring new opportunities for collaboration in the fields of energy efficiency and nanotechnology. A United States delegation made up of executives from the information technology companies recently visited Russia to explore joint private sector-led initiatives in education, e-government, and other fields. We're increasing partnerships between Russian and American universities. And there are growing interactions between American and Russian people, including an upcoming sports exchange for young people using basketball as the means of communications."
Secretary Clinton concluded, "Now, there are differences in our relationship. We know that. We've raised them and we have had very frank conversations about them. But they are raised within the context of an overall approach that looks for ways to narrow the areas of difference and disagreement, that looks to enhance the cooperation and partnership between our two countries that we are building.... [W]e have made real strides in the relationship over the past year, but we still have a lot to do. And many of the challenges facing the world today can only be addressed through greater cooperation between Russia and the United States. That's the commitment of our two presidents. That's the commitment that Sergey and I have made over and over again. And we look forward to continuing to work together in the months ahead."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.