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Obama determined to seek 'resetting' relations with Russia - lawmaker

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) - U.S. President Barack Obama is firmly committed to a policy of "resetting" U.S.-Russian relations, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Friday, citing his impressions from a visit to Washington.

"The president is personally seeing to relations with Russia, and is doing so with unabated energy, something that is in line with our own approach as well. It is the number one priority for Washington today to push through Congress bills on Russia's accession to the WTO, including the abolition of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment," Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, said in a blog.

Kosachyov had meetings with U.S. State Department and National Security Council figures and members of Congress during his visit to Washington, from where he returned on Thursday.

One of the officials he met with was presidential aide Michael McFaul.

"I asked him where we stood on visas. McFaul's answer: It can't be done right now, we even deny that to the Poles, who are our NATO allies," Kosachyov said.

"It turned out that, under American law, visas can only be abolished after no more than 7% of those who have come in end up staying on illegally. The Poles have a larger proportion. We don't, by the way. So why not solve the problem? But we are not allies, Congress won't let it through," the lawmaker said.

He said his visit had left him with the impression that there remain "doves" and "hawks" in the U.S. as regards American-Russian relations.

"Resetting is no more than an instrument. It may be an end in itself for diplomats, perhaps, but by no means for politicians. And when attempts are made to put that instrument itself out of service without giving it a chance to produce any results - in Russia, as in the U.S., it's the entire parliamentary opposition without exception - the question arises how much time has yet to pass for Cold War soldiers to give up attempts to wreck the conciliatory agenda for international policy," Kosachyov said. Back (c)2011 Interfax-Military News Agency, All rights reserved. News and other data on this web site are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended for republication or redistribution. Republication or redistribution of Interfax content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Interfax-Military News Agency.

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