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Obama may visit Russia in July: Report

world Updated: Mar 18, 2009 12:30 IST

US President Barack Obama could pay his first visit to Russia in early July, the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

The visit would include more in-depth talks than will be possible when Obama meets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time next month, the newspaper said, citing a source close to the Russian foreign ministry.

Obama and Medvedev are due to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London in early April.

The most likely dates for Obama's visit to Russia are just ahead of the G8 summit to be held in Italy from July 8 to 10, Kommersant said.

Citing sources in Washington, the newspaper said that former US secretary of state James Baker would arrive in Moscow this week to help lay the groundwork for Obama's visit.

Also this week, a group of prominent US foreign policy veterans including former secretary of state Henry Kissinger will visit Moscow for a series of meetings with Russian officials, including Medvedev, Kommersant said.

The tone of US-Russian relations has warmed since Obama's inauguration and officials from both sides have pledged to work closely on renegotiating START, a landmark Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty that expires in December.

Ties between the two countries deteriorated badly under the administration of former president George W Bush due to disputes over a range of issues, including NATO expansion, last summer's war in Georgia and missile defence.