Putin says Russia ready for effective cooperation with U.S.

Russia is ready for effective cooperation with the new U.S. administration led by President Barack Obama, RIA-Novosti quoted Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying on Friday.

"We are ready for effective cooperation, and we expect a lot from the new U.S administration. All signals that we have received so far from Washington have allowed us to hope for positive dialogue," Putin told reporters on the eve of Obama's visit to Russia on July 6-8.

Putin said the visit will focus on the strengthening of dialogue between the two countries.

"We need it and the U.S. needs it...Many of our points of view coincide and complement one another," the prime minister said.

"If our American partners abandon their plans to deploy new weapons systems in Europe, a missile shield in Europe or review their stance on the expansion of military blocs...it will be a huge step forward," he said.

Putin added that he wanted to hear the U.S. view on how to overcome the current economic crisis because a large part of Russia's currency reserves is in U.S. dollars.

"It is important to know what new steps are being taken by the U.S. administration to overcome the global economic crisis, considering that we keep a large chunk of our currency reserves in dollars," he said.

Putin also dismissed Obama's recent statement that the Russian prime minister had still not abandoned completely the old Cold War approach to U.S.-Russian relations.

Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Obama said that, while

Putin "still has a lot of sway [in Russia, he] has one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new."

Putin refused to comment on Obama's remark until their first meeting during the Moscow visit, but said: "We stand firmly on our feet and always look to the future. And...this is something that has always enabled Russia to move ahead and become stronger."

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