Medvedev Expects Early Obama Face-to-Face

President Dmitry Medvedev anticipates a meeting with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama shortly after his inauguration next month, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

"President Medvedev and Barack Obama agreed to work on the basis of pragmatism and hold a top-level meeting soon after Obama's inauguration," Lavrov said at a meeting with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Interfax reported.

Relations between the outgoing administration of U.S. President George W. Bush and the Kremlin have been marred by a long list of disputes ranging from Kosovo's independence and the Georgia war to Washington's planned missile shield in Europe.

Lavrov also struck a conciliatory note and said both countries should work towards eliminating their differences.

"Russia is ready for this and it hopes that the new [U.S.] administration will also be ready to consider any issues and strive for looking for mutually acceptable solutions," Lavrov said.

Lugar is holding a series of meetings in Moscow to sound out the prospects for an intensified dialogue on future nuclear arms cuts after the Obama administration takes office. No date or location has yet been released for a meeting between Medvedev and Obama.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Rood said in Washington on Wednesday that Russia has become more rigid in dealing with the United States on issues such missile defense.

"My assessment is that the Russians intend to test the mettle of the new administration and the new president," Rood said.