Biden arrives in Russia to broaden 'reset'

8th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday arrived in Russia for a visit aimed at realising the potential for economic relations and finding common ground on the revolts rocking the Middle East.

Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, touched down at Moscow's Vnukovo airport in the late afternoon, an AFP correspondent reported.

Officials said that Biden is seeking to build on the "reset" in ties spearheaded by the US and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, which are aimed at overcoming the legacy of recent years when relations plunged to a post-Cold War low.

Both countries have long acknowledged that economic relations remain well below their potential and Biden will want to make clear Washington's backing for the Russian bid to join the World Trade Organisation as it seeks to modernise the economy.

But events in the Middle East, especially in Libya, are bound to cast a shadow, with Moscow sounding less than enthusiastic about the domino collapse of Arab regimes and warning against any kind of foreign intervention.

Biden will on Wednesday travel to the town of Skolkovo outside Moscow, the Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley that is the hub of Medvedev's dream to create an innovation-based economy in Russia.

He will meet Medvedev himself later in the day and hold talks on Thursday with strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin before giving a keynote speech at Moscow State University.

© 2011 AFP

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