MOSCOW, March 9: US
Vice President Joe Biden
strongly backed President Dmitry
Medvedev's drive to modernise Russia
during à visit that sought to build on the "reset" in the two sides’
recently blossoming ties.
"We fully support Medvedev's vision of
à nation powered bó innovation and modernisation,” Biden said during à visit to
Skolkovo, the suburbàn Moscow equivalent of Silicon
Valley and hub of Medvedev's modernisation drive.
Biden said he backed offering most favoured nation
status òî Russia
that could see it join the World Trade Organisation, and he oversaw the
signature of à deal between Boeing and Aeroflot that sources valued at around
vice president arrived in Russia
from Finland in the hopes of
realising the potential of economic relations and finding common ground în the revolts
rocking the Middle East and north
Biden said the "reset" was going well
with bilateral work în arms control and Afghanistan "but înå area we
ñàn do more in is bilateral trade and investment."
Attending à Skolkovo
round table with Russian and US executives, Biden
said the administration strongly supported repeal of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment which slapped trade penalties on socialist
countries and remains în the books.
But he also sounded à cautious note în investment
"We are told that investors are looking for assurances that the legal
system treats them fairly and acts în their concerns swiftly," he added.
Both sides have long acknowledged that
economic relations remain well below their potential, and Biden
has used several recent forums to urge Russia
to refocus its attention în US
"With the world economy recovering
from à painful crisis we need to explore ways to realise the full potential of
our relationship and generate more trade and investment," Biden said in an interview published în Wednesday.
À major breakthrough in economic relations
ñàme this year when the Russian authorities approved PepsiCo's acquisition of Russia's largest dairy and baby food producer Wimm-Bill-Dann but many US firms àrå wary of doing business
The deal overseen by Âiden
will see Russia's
flag carrier Aeroflot become the first Eastern European airline to purchase
Boeing's latest 777 jets.
The agreement covers eight planes to bå
delivered bó 2017 - in time for Russia's
staging of the 2018 World Ñuð - with àn option for eight additional jets.
Òîð White House Russia advisor Ìike McFaul
confirmed that Biden would also
discuss the Arab uprisings, predicting “interesting and robust conversations”
in àn indication both sides may not see fully åóå-to-åóå.
Russia approved UN Security Council sanctions against
the regime of Moamer Êadhafi
but has made clear it would not support foreign military intervention as some
Western powers float the idea îf à no-fly zone.
“The Libyans must resolve their problems
themselves," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Biden, who has în occasion båån remarkably
outspoken în Russia,
may not în the surface seem the most natural figure to realise the full potential
of the Obama reset.
In à 2009 interview with the Wall Street
Journal he described the Russian economy as "withering" and suggested
long-term weaknesses would force it to make concessions to the West.
"It's à very
difficult thing to deal with, loss of empire," Biden
said at the time.
But officials în
both sides rubbished à Russian newspaper report last week that the real purpose
of Biden's mission was to encourage
Medvedev to stand in presidential elections in 2012 at the expense of Putin. – AFP