The new American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will be in Geneva on Friday next week for delicate talks with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
The Bush administration had difficult relations with Moscow, clashing over a planned United States missile shield in Europe, the independence of Kosovo, last year's Russian intervention in Georgia and how to persuade Iran to curb its nuclear programme.
Clinton is scheduled to meet Lavrov after talks with Nato foreign ministers in Brussels.
"This is a new relationship that they hope to develop and a positive one. There is a lot of business the secretary has to do with her counterpart," commented State Department spokesman Robert Wood about the meeting.
"The United States and Russia have a complex relationship but we want to find common ground," he added.