Clinton, Lavrov cite improved US-Russian ties

By the Associated Press | July 13, 2011 | 6:29 PM EDT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shakes hands with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Russia are showcasing improved relations by signing a raft of minor agreements on nuclear, visa and adoption issues.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov both cited recent steps to improve cooperation including a major arms control agreement.

In statements after signing the agreements Wednesday, the two officials played down differences on issues including missile defense and Libya.

Among the accords, Lavrov and Clinton signed a document ending a contentious dispute over U.S. adoption of Russian children. They also signed an agreement to ease visa rules.

Lavrov noted that the agreements transcended the usual strategic concerns. He said: "we have a new quality to our cooperation."