Moscow (AsiaNews) - A "war of attrition" in which Vladimir Putin, for the time being, looks like the winner. So say some Russian newspapers, such as the authoritative Kommersant, commenting on the relations between the U.S. and Russia in the aftermath of the first bilateral agreement between the U.S. president, Barack Obama, and the head of the Kremlin, back in the highest seat in Russia since May. The two met on June 18, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. The joint statement, coming out of the face to face after weeks of friction between the two chancelleries, reflects Moscow's intention to continue the policy of "resetting" (begun by Dmitri Medvedev in 2008) and Washington's willingness to not force the partners, aware that it would be a counter-productive choice with the new Russian president. Despite the tough trading of accusations in recent days on the mutual responsibilities in the violence in Syria and the tensions regarding the anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe, the parties have decided to avoid further critical statements and highlight the points in common.
Putin intends to give continuity to the positive process in relations with the United States, his spokesman Dmtri Peskov made known from Mexico. The two presidents addressed the burning issues which they see from different positions: first of all, that of the Syrian crisis, but within the context of "a very constructive and open dialogue," Peskov said. And it is precisely concerning Syria, the Russian newspapers noted, that Obama made concessions to Moscow, giving Putin a "trophy" to take home. In the joint statement, the two launched an appeal for an end to the violence and they admitted the existence of "many points in common" on the issue. Abandoning a more interventionist line, Washington recognized the need for a "political process" to prevent civil war. "We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to choose their own future in a democratic and independent manner," the statement said. The Kremlin has always refused to support new measures against the regime in Damascus at the Security Council, fearing that, as in Libya, they might actually cover an external armed intervention and the overthrow of a friendly regime.
Also on the anti-missile shield - which the U.S. would like to install in Europe, and which Moscow opposes - conciliatory tones were used after those of the Cold War, which led Putin to boycott the G8 summit in Camp David. The two leaders expressed a willingness to find a compromise to overcome their differences. The entire meeting recalled the atmosphere of times when Obama met with the 'liberal' Medvedev. At the end, the head of the Kremlin invited his colleague to visit Moscow, where he hasn't been for three years.
No mention of the so-called "Magnitsky list", a list of some Russian officials banned from the U.S., because they are linked to serious human rights violations, and concerning whose approval the U.S. Senate will soon make a decision. Moscow has already threatened retaliatory measures, but after the meeting in Los Cabos, the U.S. initiative might not go ahead.