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U.S., Russia should avoid stereotypes - Russian ambassador

WASHINGTON, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian ambassador to the U.S. said Monday the key task in bilateral relations is to overcome the stereotypes the two countries have.

"Our relations are being built with good intentions, but we are preserving old stereotypes," Sergei Kislyak said while addressing participants at the 28th annual Russian forum: America and Russia: New Leadership, Challenges, Chances.

Kislyak said the most vivid example of the influence of these stereotypes was evident through the reaction by the United States to the war last August in South Ossetia - "poorly calculated, badly thought-out and to a larger extent instinctive."

Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states after a five-day war in August 2008 with Georgia, which attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control. Most residents of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia have held Russian citizenship for several years.

However, Kislyak said there is evidence that relations are warming and that the sides are getting closer to each other and cited arms reduction treaty talks and nonproliferation issues.

He said trade turnover last year was $36 billion.

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