MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russian political analysts are more skeptical than their U.S. counterparts that Russian-U.S. ties can be "reset" during President Barack Obama's July 6-8 visit to Moscow, a Russian analyst said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a RIA Novosti-hosted Valdai Discussion Club meeting, Sergei Karaganov, chairman of the Council for Russia's Foreign and Defense Policy, said the underlying nature of the concept of a "reset" was extremely fragile.
"On the Russian side, there is more skepticism as Russia does not see real changes in U.S. policies and believes they are more of a cosmetic nature," Karaganov said.
Karaganov said the Americans were "unwilling to make substantial changes in their policies," including over NATO expansion and the signing of a Russian proposed pan-European security treaty.
Steven Pifer, Visiting Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe of the Brookings Institution, said: "My sense is that the presidents got off to a good start when they met in London, so next week is an opportunity to build on that. However, I don't think you are going to see a breakthrough, you're not going to see the relationship change overnight."
"But what we want to see is that the presidents agree on some specific steps and that these agreements are then carried out [to] move the relationship in a more positive direction. That would be good for both sides," he said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he hopes Obama's Moscow visit will take Russia-U.S. dialogue to "a new level."
Obama said after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in May that Moscow and Washington had a great chance to "reset" relations.
The term "reset" has been used on a number of occasions by the Obama administration with relation to Russia-U.S. ties. In March, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Lavrov with a yellow box with a large red "reset" button on it, which she asked Lavrov to push with her.
Russia and the U.S. have been involved in comprehensive talks over a new nuclear arms reduction deal to replace the START 1 treaty, which expires in December.
The START 1 treaty obliges Russia and the United States to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The agreement, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.
Medvedev and Obama agreed to launch the discussions during their first meeting, in London in early April.
Russia, which proposed a new arms reduction agreement in 2005, expects Washington to agree on a deal that would restrict not only the numbers of nuclear warheads, but also place limits on all existing kinds of delivery vehicles.
Medvedev has also said that any strategic arms cuts would only be possible if the United States alleviated Russia's concerns over Washington's plans for a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.