Russia's Putin warmly greets Obama victory

AFP , Wednesday 7 Nov 2012

President Putin congratulates US President Barack Obama on winning second term

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday congratulated Barack Obama with his victory in a tightly-fought US presidential election vote that was greeted with relief in Moscow.

The Kremlin said Putin had reacted "positively" to Obama's victory over Mitt Romney after a campaign that saw the Republican Party challenger refer to Moscow as Washington's chief geopolitical foe.

Putin has already sent a telegram to Obama congratulating him on the victory and will soon repeat the congratulations in a telephone call, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"We hope that the positive beginnings that have taken hold in Russian-US relations on the world arena will grow in the interests of international security and stability," Russian news agencies quoted Peskov as saying.

Peskov's comment was clearly referring to the "reset" in relations that Obama launched with Putin's presidential predecessor Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 following nearly a decade of distant ties.

Relations between Moscow and Washington began to sour again three years into the "reset" when Putin voiced his plans last year to return to the Kremlin for a third term.

The Russian strongman then blamed the protests that emerged against his rule over the winter on US State Department funding.

But Medvedev -- now serving as prime minister -- said that he was personally glad Russia had avoided the complications that could have come from Romney winning the White House.

"I am glad that the president of this very large and influential country will not be someone who views Russia as its enemy number one," news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

"That is simply laughable -- a paranoia of some sort," Medvedev said of Romney's comments.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile said Russia was willing to work with the new US administration as closely as Obama himself was willing to take the two sides' relations.

"Of course we will continue working with this administration," Lavrov said in a statement posted on the ministry's Twitter account.

"We are ready to cooperate on equitable terms, with mutual benefit, mutual respect... To go as far as the US administration is willing to go."

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