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Putin tells Obama he wants better ties, equal treatment

G20/By Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin called for an improvement in ties between Russia and the United States on Friday in an Independence Day message to Barack Obama, urging Washington to treat Moscow as an equal partner. Relations between the two presidents and countries are at a low ebb following disagreements over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and over human rights, democracy and defence matters. “The head of the Russian state expressed hope that … ties between the two countries will develop successfully on the basis of pragmatism and equality despite difficulties and disagreements,” the Kremlin said in a statement, outlining a telegram sent to Obama on the July 4 holiday. “Vladimir Putin also highlighted that Russia and the United States, as countries carrying exceptional responsibility for safeguarding international stability and security, should cooperate not only in the interests of their own nations but also the whole world.” The telegram underlined a message Putin has made central to his third term as president – that Russia, like the United States a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, must be treated as a world power and on an equal footing two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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