8 Jul 2009

Obama addresses university graduates in Moscow

6:15 am on 8 July 2009

US President Barack Obama has urged Russia to turn from the past, emphasising the common goals that America shares with its former Cold War enemy.

He told university graduates in Moscow on Tuesday they were the last generation to be born in a divided world.

He said the challenges facing the world, such as nuclear proliferation, require a global partnership.

Mr Obama sought to reassure the country the United States seeks a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia.

The speech was on the second day of Mr Obama's visit to Moscow and followed his first meeting with prime minister Vladimir Putin.

The students listened politely and their response was low key. Opinion polls show a majority of Russians mistrust the United States and believe it abuses its power.

Later at a summit with business leaders, Mr Obama noted that the percentage share of Russian trade in total United States trade had not risen since the Cold War.

Trade between Russia and the United States amounted to $US36 billion last year. Investment is also relatively low.

Mr Obama also will also meet the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, before leaving Russia on Wednesday morning for a G8 summit meeting in Italy.