Putin Calls For Better U.S. Ties

President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday that they hope the United States will scrap its missile-defense system in Europe and will be more willing to negotiate a nuclear arms control deal once U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

The comments appeared to be the strongest signal yet that the Kremlin would like to step back from confrontation with the United States.

Putin said Russia so far has failed to negotiate an extension or replacement of a 1991 arms reduction treaty in talks with U.S. officials but added that a deal could be struck with Obama.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires next year, cut U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

"We hope that the new U.S. leadership will be more constructive, responsible and -- this is quite important -- far-sighted," compared to their predecessors, Putin said in a speech at a lawyers' conference Monday.

Medvedev said he hopes Obama's administration will scrap plans for missile-defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"There is a chance for that," Medvedev said in Lima, Peru at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. "While the position of the current administration on the issue is extremely rigid ... the position of the president-elect looks more careful."