Clinton, Lavrov Pledge Closer Cooperation

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed Tuesday to work more closely on key strategic issues, the Foreign Ministry said.

The two officials spoke by telephone at the request of Washington, the ministry said.

"In the course of the discussion, the accent was given to the mutual interest of building a positive agenda for our relations after the arrival of the new U.S. administration," the ministry said in a statement.

"Especially noted was the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation, including questions of strategic dialogue and economic cooperation, as well as current international problems such as the resolution of [the situation in] Afghanistan."

Moscow's ties with Washington sank to a post-Soviet low in August over the war in Georgia, but some diplomats hope that relations could thaw under the new administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has cautiously noted positive signals from the new administration, and Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev are set to meet for the first time on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in London in April.