US, Russia Move to Thaw Military Relations

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov have signed a memo outlining a renewed US-Russia military relationship, acting to mend relations strained by Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia. “Today we begin what I believe will develop into more frequent communication between each other and our staffs, and I look forward to our continued work together,” Gates said at the Sept. 15 signing ceremony in the Pentagon. The two defense leaders promised to meet at least once a year and created a “defense relations working group” to resolve issues in armed forces reform and transformation, defense policy priorities and national security, transparency and confidence building, and regional and global security. During their five-hour meeting, Gates and Serdyukov discussed defense reforms, the New START arms control agreement, operations in Afghanistan, and the US-led coalition’s northern supply route through Russia into Afghanistan. (AFPS report by Lisa Daniel)