COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) – President Barack Obama said the United States and Russia are "quite close" to forging a new nuclear disarmament treaty in a "timely fashion."
Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a side meeting at the climate change summit here Friday, and the two made brief public comments. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expired earlier this month, and both countries were working to develop a new pact.
"Obviously our main concern in coming to Copenhagen was to try to move forward with an accord on the issue of climate change. But on the margins of this meeting we thought it was important to continue to build on the excellent relationship that our two governments have developed over the last several months," Obama said.
"Our main focus today was the START treaty - the new START treaty that we have been negotiating. We've been making excellent progress. We are quite close to an agreement. And, I'm confident that it will be completed in a timely fashion. And I just want to thank President Medvedev for being a very effective partner in these negotiations. "
Medvedev, noting that the priority in Copenhagen was the climate summit,
said it would have been "unreasonable" not to take the opportunity to discuss
the START negotiations.
"Our positions are very close and almost all the issues that we've been
discussing for the last month are almost closed. And there are certain
technical details which we can encounter (in) many agreements which require
further work. I hope that we will be able to do it in a quite brief period of
time. The outcome of our efforts will reflect good and close spirit of our
relationship that we have established with the new U.S. administration,"