| GEO World|
| Obama to go on official visit to Russia from July 6-8|
| Updated at: 2105 PST, Monday, May 11, 2009|
MOSCOW: US president Barack Obama will make his first official visit to Russia since entering the White House from July 6 to 8, the Kremlin said on its website on Monday.
Obama had said following talks with Russian President Dmitry Medevedev on the eve of the G20 summit in London on April 1 that he would visit Russia in July.
"The president of the United States, Barack Obama, will be on an official visit to Russia from July 6 to 8... at the invitation of the Russian president," the Kremlin statement said, giving no further details.
Obama said Thursday he was "hopeful" of improving ties between Washington and Moscow after hosting visiting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office.
The president said his wide-ranging talks with Lavrov focused on Iran, nuclear proliferation, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East, the financial crisis and other issues.
"We have an excellent opportunity to reset the relationship between the United States and Russia on a whole host of issues," Obama said.
"I am hopeful that the meetings that we had so far, and the meetings that we expect to have throughout the course of this year, will be of mutual benefit to both countries."
Medvedev hailed Barack Obama as "my new comrade" after their face-to-face London discussions.
"I liked the talks. It is easy to talk to him. He can listen. The start of this relationship is good," Medvedev said, adding: "Today it's a totally different situation (compared to Bush)... This suits me quite well.
"Today from the United States there is at least a desire to listen to our arguments," he added of US missile defence shield plans in Moscow's former eastern European sphere of influence that Russia fiercely opposes.
Obama, before that meeting, said there were "very real differences between the United States and Russia, and I have no interest in papering those over."
But, he added, "there are also a broad set of common interests that we can pursue."