Obama, Russia's Lavrov meet at White House

AP
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shakes hands with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama discussed a broad set of issues with Russia's foreign minister Wednesday, including the next steps in Libya, Iran and the prospects for political change in Syria and Yemen.

The White House said Obama reiterated to Sergey Lavrov his support for Russia's efforts to forge a political solution between the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and the rebel forces fighting to topple him.

Obama had delivered a similar message Monday to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, saying the U.S. would support talks that lead to a democratic transition in Libya as long as Gadhafi steps aside.

Obama and Lavrov also discussed Iran's suspected nuclear program during the Oval Office meeting.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Lavrov at the State Department earlier Wednesday and said afterward that the Obama administration would study Russia's idea for bringing Iran back to negotiations about its nuclear ambitions. Talks on the matter broke down this year.

Russia's proposal calls for the international community to make limited concessions to Iran for each step it takes toward meeting demands to clarify its nuclear intentions.

Iran has refused, despite stiff sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other nations, to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful and not designed to produce an atomic weapon.

The White House said the two leaders also discussed the international community's role in preventing additional violence and pressing for political change in Syria and Yemen, as well as how to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the bargaining table to resume stalled peace talks.

Other topics they discussed include U.S. plans for a European-based missile defense system and ensuring a peaceful transitions in Sudan and the newly formed nation of South Sudan.

Clinton and Lavrov signed separate agreements to end a dispute over U.S. adoptions of Russian children and relaxation of visa rules. Both tried to minimize differences over such issues as missile defense and Libya. They cited recent steps to improve bilateral cooperation, including a major arms control agreement.

The White House said Obama thanked Lavrov for his work on completing the accords.