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Putin proposes scrapping visas between Russia, US

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (right) shakes hands with US Vice President Joe Biden ahead of talks in Moscow. Putin has proposed that Russia and the United States abolish visas in a "historic" step to seal a revival in ties. (AFP/Pool/Alexey Druzhinin)

 

 

MOSCOW, March 10, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / AFP) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday proposed to visiting US Vice President Joe Biden that Russia and the United States take the “historic step” of abolishing visas between the two countries, AFP reported on  Thursday.

“If the United States and Russia agree to implement a visa-free regime before Russia and the European Union, then this would be a historic step in our relations,” Putin told Biden.

“This would break all the old stereotypes between Russia and the United States.”

Efforts by Russia and the European Union to agree visa-free travel between the two sides have continued for years without making substantial progress.

This appears to be the first time Putin has suggested cancelling visas with Moscow’s main Cold War foe.   (*)

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in World News

 

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Putin, Biden to meet in Moscow on Thursday

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

 

 

RUSSIA, March 10, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will meet on Thursday in Moscow to discuss Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a variety of bilateral issues.

As reported by RIA Novosti on Thursday, Biden arrived in Russia on Tuesday. His visit is taking place against a backdrop of the second anniversary of the much heralded ‘reset’ in bilateral relations, notable in particular for the signing of a new arms deal between Russia and the United States.

On Wednesday, Biden met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and said that Russia’s membership in the WTO was a top priority for the United States.

Russia has been in talks on membership in the 153-nation WTO for 17 years. A recent Russia-EU summit assessed its chances to join the organization this year as very high.

Later on Thursday, Biden will give a speech at Moscow State University on bilateral relations of the two countries.
A Kremlin source earlier said Biden’s visit is a run-up to an official visit to Moscow by U.S. President Barack Obama, due later this year.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in World News

 

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U.S. Biden backs Russia's WTO bid, favors end to Vanik provision

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, center, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, looks on before talks in the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Russia's president that bringing the country into the World Trade Organization is a top priority for Washington.

RUSSIA, March 10, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization was a top priority for the United States which also hoped to cancel a trade restriction provision, As reported by RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

WTO accession for Russia is “the most important item on our agenda,” Biden said at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his Gorki residence near Moscow.

Russia has been in talks on membership in the 153-nation WTO for 17 years. A recent Russia-EU summit assessed its chances to join the organization this year as very high.

Another important issue on the bilateral economic agenda is the long-standing Jackson-Vanik Amendment on restricting trade with the Soviet Union, which the U.S. Congress had adopted in 1974 to pressure the USSR into allowing emigration.

Biden, 68, said that his first visit to Russia was in Leonid Brezhnev’s times, and that he was so old that he had known the late Jackson and Vanik personally. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, which made him one of the youngest senators in U.S. history.

Medvedev said the Jackson-Vanik Amendment regularly came under discussion during bilateral meetings and added the law would hopefully become history by the next negotiations.

“You simply can’t allow this issue to dominate your entire career,” Medvedev said.

Russia’s chief trade negotiator, Maksim Medvedkov, said on Wednesday that abolishing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was a political matter and that the latest consultations on Russia’s WTO bid did highlight the issue but no specific results were achieved.

Biden praised progress in “resetting” bilateral relations despite skeptics’ expectations.

Russian-U.S. relations began their “reset” in 2009 when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had his first meeting with new U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva, which signified a thaw in bilateral relations after George W. Bush’s tenure.

“I think we’ve proved the skeptics wrong: We have had great progress in the last two years,” Biden said.

Biden said the two countries had boosted cooperation in arms reduction, in the North Korean settlement, Iran, Afghanistan and other important areas.

Biden hailed Russia’s role as a superpower and said he had been one of the first people to talk about resetting bilateral ties.

The U.S. vice president also said that today’s meeting with Medvedev left him with a feeling that he had met with one of the most powerful people in the world.

Medvedev took over office from Vladimir Putin in 2008, after which many said he would be nothing but a puppet in the hands of the ever-powerful and sometimes even intimidating Putin.

“In my career when I sat down with a Russian leader I sat with one of the most powerful men in the world. I still feel that way,” Biden said to Medvedev.

Biden told the Russian president that Russians might think Washington had unreasonably high expectations from their country, but “the expectation is born out of admiration and respect, not out of disrespect.”   (*)
 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in World News

 

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meets Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shake hands during their meeting in the Gorky presidential residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Russia's president that bringing the country into the World Trade Organization is a top priority for Washington. (Photo : KREMLIN.RU)

RUSSIA, March 10, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden discussed prospects for the development of Russian-US relations, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, and issues pertaining to European anti-missile defence.

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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Vice President, I am happy to be meeting with you again.

Last year, we were able to make a lot of progress in the relations between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. This past year was successful, including the ratification of the new START treaty, which was a significant event for all of us. I think that the President and I did some good work and I would like to say that your participation in this process was also quite successful. For that, I want to thank you.

I am certain that this will benefit our nations, and therefore, the overall security on our planet. But at the same time, we have bilateral issues that are also very important for our states. And that is the context in which I view your visit to our nation. I think that our economic relations lag significantly behind our political relations. In this sense, of course, the issue is also hampered by Russia’s lack of membership in the World Trade Organisation. I hope that this year, the processes will be completed, particularly with the United States’ active support.
 

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seen during their meeting at the Gorky presidential residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Russia's president that bringing the country into the World Trade Organization is a top priority for Washington. ( Photo : KREMLIN.RU)

 


We have major economic projects that we must develop jointly. I am very happy that you have just visited Skolkovo. It is an example of good cooperation in the high-tech sector and the creation of new types of businesses, which is particularly important for our nations, perhaps especially so during a time when the economies of both our nations are overcoming the financial crisis.

I think you’ve had talks on economic issues today, and will continue to do so tomorrow. But naturally, there are issues that nevertheless remain exceedingly important for our nations: I am referring to ensuring security. Recently, we have had a whole series of important events in this area.

Last year, during the Russia-NATO summit, I proposed a joint configuration for our work on anti-missile defence, as well as generally looking into this matter in the European security context. There are problems that have occurred this year; I feel that they must also have a place on our joint agenda – including the problems and challenges that are currently concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa. There is a whole set of other international problems on which we are cooperating well with the United States of America. I am certain that this kind of cooperation will continue.

Thus, I hope that your visit will be successful and productive. We are ready to develop full-fledged, full-scale, strategic relations with the United States, and you know this. And especially as your last visit to our nation was a long time ago. I hope that your current visit will give you new impressions. In any event, we will create all the conditions for this. I would like you to pass my best wishes on to my colleague, President Obama.

Vice President of the United States of America Joseph Biden ( Photo : KREMLIN.RU )



VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES JOSEPH BIDEN: Mr President, President Obama sends his regards as well. As you know, he has sought your counsel and advice and met with you more than any other head of state by probably a factor of three.

It’s very good to be back in Russia. I am both a student of and a respecter of the great traditions of a great power. The first Russian leader I met with was Brezhnev. That’s how old I am. To further age myself, I knew both Jackson and Vanik. I think that’s why President Obama keeps me around.

But Mr President, as you know, when President Obama and I were elected, the first matter of business internationally we thought we should attend to and change the direction of was US-Russian relations. For years before, as the chairman of our Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I, along with President Obama, thought that the relationship was drifting in the wrong direction prior to us coming to office. The first foreign policy pronouncement our administration made was the speech I made in Munich at the request of President Obama, where we used the phrase that it was time to push the reset button, reset our relationship with Russia. Because of your personal leadership and your colleagues, I think we’ve proved the sceptics wrong. We have made great progress in the last two years – not only on the new START treaty, but on matters relating to Korea, Iran, matters related to Afghanistan, a whole range of areas where there has been cooperation and Russian leadership.

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, third right, seen during talks in the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Russia's president that bringing the country into the World Trade Organization is a top priority for Washington. (Photo : KREMLIN.RU)



As you pointed out, I just came from meeting with Russian and American business leaders, on a beautiful new campus which, hopefully, will become the Silicon Valley of Russia. The reason I’m here is because the President wants me to make it clear we wish to continue the progress we’ve made, this time on the economic front – economic cooperation – your vision for Russia of innovation and change and modernisation, and we’d like very much to be a part of that.

A fundamental change has taken place between my first visit in the seventies and today as we no longer and you no longer view our mutual success as a zero-sum game. We both benefit when the other succeeds. I consider it a success when I attend a meeting and I learn something that I hadn’t thought of or knew before the meeting. That happened in my meeting today with Russian business leaders. One of the Russian CEOs said, ‘You seem to demand more of us, and expect more of us, Russia, than you do of China or India.’ And he suggested that may be a legacy from the Cold War. And I thought about that. I don’t think it’s because of the Cold War. I think it’s because we have such high expectations – and I mean this seriously – we have such high expectations and such respect for Russia. For my entire career, when I sat with a Russian leader, I was sitting with one of the most powerful men in the world, and that’s how we still think of you. I mean that sincerely. So it may be, sometimes, we do expect too much progress too quickly. But the expectation is born out of admiration and respect, not out of disrespect.

At the meeting with Vice President of the United States of America Joseph Biden. ( Photo : KREMLIN.RU)



DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Vice President, thank you for your words. I would just like to express hope that the next time you come to our nation – which I hope will happen soon – at least one of the topics you’ve mentioned will be left in the past. I am referring to the Jackson-Vanik amendment, because this is an issue that always comes up during your visits. I hope that this will be the last time. After all, you cannot keep dealing with it throughout your entire career.

JOSEPH BIDEN: I hope not, Mr President. We strongly support the repeal of Jackson-Vanik and we will work to eliminate it. As you know, we are working in Geneva, not just with you but the international community, to push for Russian accession. We are not being passive in this effort.  (*)

Source : KREMLIN.RU
 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in World News

 

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Medvedev, Biden to meet in Moscow

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden

RUSSIA, March 9, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) —  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will meet on Wednesday in Moscow to discuss Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organization, missile defense and international issues.

As reported by RIA Novosti on Wednesday, Biden arrived in Russia on Tuesday. His visit is taking place against a backdrop of the second anniversary of the much heralded ‘reset’ in bilateral relations, notable in particular for the signing of a new arms deal between Russia and the United States.

Russia and the United States completed the ratification of the New START in February. The new deal replaced START 1, which expired in December 2009. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

A Kremlin source earlier said Biden’s visit is a run-up to an official visit to Moscow by U.S. President Barack Obama, due later this year.

On Wednesday, Biden will also meet with U.S. businessmen and visit Skolkovo, dubbed Russia’s Silicon Valley outside the capital, where he will participate in a roundtable with Russian businessmen.

On Thursday, Biden will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and will later give a speech at Moscow State University on the two countries’ relations.

Biden will leave Russia on Friday and head for Moldova.  (*)
 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : Chinese President Hu Jintao Arrives in US for State Visit

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) stand at the end of the red carpet during an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base January 18, 2011 at Camp Springs, Maryland. Chinese President Hu is on a state visit to the United States. He will be welcomed with a state arrival ceremony and have official meetings with the Obama Administration at the White House tomorrow. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Chinese President Hu Jintao talks with Vice President Joe Biden during an arrival ceremony,Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

China's President Hu Jintao receives flowers upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is at rear. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao greets members of the United States government alongside Vice President Joe Biden (R) upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

China's President Hu Jintao and and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) listen to national anthems upon Hu's arrival at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington for a state visit, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in World News

 

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