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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Bilateral Presidential Commission

Fact Sheet
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
October 15, 2009


Mission Statement

The United States and the Russian Federation reaffirm that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over. Recognizing our many common national interests, we are resolved to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations between our two countries to contribute to our future progress and shared prosperity. Under the leadership of President Obama and President Medvedev and coordinated by Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov, the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people. Through the commission’s working groups and sub-committees, we will strive to deepen our cooperation in concrete ways and to take further steps to demonstrate joint leadership in addressing new challenges. The foundation for the work of the commission is based on the core principles of friendship, cooperation, openness, and predictability, and we are resolved to address disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other’s perspective.

Terms of Reference

The Bilateral Presidential Commission is intended to serve as a regular and structured mechanism to advance the highest priority bilateral objectives. The coordinators will meet at least once a year. Working groups and sub-committees should be composed of government representatives and shall meet regularly, as often as co-chairs consider necessary.

Guided by objectives set out in the U.S.-Russia Action Plan agreed by the Presidents in July 2009, working group and sub-committee co-chairs should develop an initial list of priority initiatives and roadmap for moving forward on those initiatives this year. Working groups and sub-committees are encouraged to liaise, where appropriate, with parallel structures from the business community and non-governmental organizations, and consider their recommendations.

Working groups and sub-committee co-chairs shall report progress, next steps and unresolved issues to coordinators at least twice a year. Coordinators shall submit overall progress reports to the Presidents at least once a year.

The composition of the commission may change as some objectives are accomplished and new ones are identified. The commission does not preclude or supersede ongoing or future bilateral cooperative efforts that fall outside the commission’s structure. Working Group and sub-committee participation should be inclusive and representative of government ministries/agencies which have equities on a particular issue.

U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission

Commission Co-Chairs: President Obama and President Medvedev
Commission Coordinators: Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov

Working Groups:
Policy Steering Group
Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security
Arms Control and International Security
Drug Trafficking
Business Development and Economic Relations
Science and Technology
Space Cooperation
Cooperation in Prevention and Handling of Emergency Situations
Civil Society
Education, Sports and Cultural Exchanges
Military to Military

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