Medvedev: US, Russia must clear "toxic assets" from relations

Medvedev: US, Russia must clear "toxic assets" from relations Moscow - Russia and the United States need to clear "toxic assets" souring their relations and work together on key global issues, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday in an article in the Washington Post.

Neither country can afford to tolerate "drift and indifference" to perpetuate their ties, the Kremlin leaders said.

Ties between Washington and Moscow ground to Cold War lows under former US President George W Bush amid a security standoff over Russia's war with Georgia and US plans to base a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

"I believe that removing such obstacles to good relations would be beneficial to our countries -- essentially removing 'toxic assets' to make good a negative balance sheet
- and beneficial to the world," Medvedev wrote.

Russia has also remained deeply suspicious over NATO expansion to include post-Soviet states along its borders. In this climate bilateral talks to extend key arms control treaties fell apart last year.

But both sides have loudly proclaimed optimism for a fresh start to relations, starting with Medvedev first meeting with US President Barack Obama in London at the G20 summit on Wednesday.

Medvedev said the former Cold War superpowers could not allow relations to "languish in inaction and disengagement," saying both countries held a "special responsibility in world affairs."

"These opportunities are most visible on the issues of strategic stability and nuclear security," he added (dpa)