Medvedev assures Obama on ties after spy scandal

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has assured his US counterpart Barack Obama that attempts to weaken relations are doomed to failure, despite discovery of an alleged Russian spy ring, media said Monday.

"I am sure that constructive, neighbourly relations between Russia and the United States are in line with the full interests of the peoples of our countries, of security and stability in all the world," Medvedev told Obama.

"This means that attempts to belittle the meaning of what we have achieved or interfere in our work... are hopeless and groundless," added Medvedev.

In a letter to mark Sunday's US Independence Day, published on the Kremlin website, Medvedev made no explicit reference to the scandal sparked last week by the arrest in the United States of 10 alleged Russian agents.

But daily newspaper Vremya Novostei said that the letter was a clear attempt to keep the spy scandal separate from a "reset" in US-Russia relations, which have seen a rapid improvement over the last months.

"Moscow does not intend to respond to the provocation of the US special services and go down the path of tit-for-tat responses. This is Dmitry Medvedev's message," the paper said.

The Russian edition of weekly Newsweek quoted a Kremlin source as saying that Medvedev would not explicitly comment on the scandal so long as Obama does not do so himself.

"For the moment we do not see a change from the policy of detente and we ourselves do not intend to stop this policy," the source, which was not named, told the magazine.

"We think that Russian-US cooperation is not endangered, at least not at the current moment," it added.

© 2010 AFP

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