On Monday while President Obama was taking part in a global nuclear security summit in South Korea, he was caught on tape asking for Russian President Dmitri Medvedev for “space.”
“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama implored.
Obama assured the departing Russian President he will have the “flexibility” required to deal with missile defense issues after the 2012 presidential election.
In the past Russia has strongly opposed the fortification being built in Europe to intercept ballistic missiles.Its leadership fears the US will use the system against Russia, but the US insists its intended purpose is strictly for defense against countries such as Iran.
As RT reported earlier this month, American authorities could soon be involving Russia on their classified data regarding the missile defense system in Europe. The motion to recruit the former Cold War rival is part of an ongoing effort to re-tune the ties between the US and Russia.
“I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev responded,referring to the soon to be Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two which were unaware that their actions were being recorded seemed to have a genuine understanding of the situation while in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The two superpowers haven’t exactly seen eye to eye when it comes to how to implement their respective anti-missile programs.
Moscow has expressed it would like to work in collaboration with Washington to unite the anti-missile defense systems to create one global program, but the US has insisted the best way to go about it would be separately.
The intended private conversation between the two leaders initially caught the White House off guard. Obama’s request to the current Russian president later sparked the White House to release a statement.
“I think as you saw from their remarks, there was a very positive tone,” said the National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes wrote.
"Since 2012 is an election year in both countries, with an election and leadership transition in Russia and an election in the United States, it is clearly not a year in which we are going to achieve a breakthrough," Rhodes added.
According to the press releaseand President Medvedev, The New START Treaty has been a key factor in “the most productive three years in US-Russia relations.”
Although disagreements have arisen in the past, Rhodes said the future for the two countries to collaborate on the project is plausible.
“We should continue to be working on this issue at the technical level; that there are steps that can be taken on both sides to gain better understanding of the US and Russian,” he added.
“President Obama and President Medvedev agreed that it was best to instruct our technical experts to do the work of better understanding our respective positions, providing space for continued discussions on missile defense cooperation going forward," he said.