| Updated at: 1356 PST, Sunday, November 14, 2010|
YOKOHAMA: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday that a NATO summit in Lisbon next week would mark an "improvement of relations" between the defence alliance and Russia.
The Russian leader is to attend the summit on November 19, marking a major thaw in relations after the crisis caused by the war between Russia and the pro-Western ex-Soviet state of Georgia in 2008.
Medvedev, speaking after talks with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a summit in Japan, said the NATO meeting would mark the "improvement of relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization".
Obama said the NATO-Russia council would help NATO and Russia to "ease tensions and increase cooperation on various security issues."
In Lisbon, the NATO powers are due to unveil their new "strategic concept", the framework within which the Euro-Atlantic allies intend to coordinate their defence and foreign policy goals.
They will, in particular, discuss the final blueprint for a missile defence system, a plan which has in the past rekindled Cold War rivalries with Moscow but which Western powers now hope Russia will participate in.
The US president added that he thanked Medvedev for his cooperation on Afghanistan and talked about a range of international issues including Sudan.
"It is wonderful once again to meet with my partner Dmitry, I think we have built up an excellent relationship over the past couple of years," Obama said.
"We stressed our interest in working with Russia on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues."