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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lantos Vows Positive Change in U.S.-Russian Relationship

U.S. Representative Tom Lantos said Tuesday that U.S.-Russian relations were in for "historic" and "positive" change.

The Democratic chairman of the House International Relations Committee said that on Wednesday he "will have an announcement of historic significance which I will have the pleasure of making, which I believe, in a fundamental sense, will turn Russian-U.S. relations in a very positive way."

Lantos, who has called for removing Russia from the Group of Eight, is visiting Russia on his first trip as chairman. Lantos' comments followed meetings Tuesday with State Duma officials.

Subjects that were discussed Tuesday included President Vladimir Putin's recent speech attacking U.S. foreign policy, Kosovo, arms control, NATO expansion and an international nuclear fuel bank.

Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, said another issue that came up Tuesday was the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which the United States imposed on the Soviet Union in 1974.

While the amendment continues to apply to Russia, the U.S. Congress has granted Moscow yearly waivers.

Still, the measure remains a serious thorn in the side of U.S.-Russian relations.

Kosachyov was upbeat about the meeting with Lantos. "We just had a ... very constructive discussion about many current issues and the general situation in the world, and how that affects our bilateral relations," Kosachyov said.