Medvedev heads to US to strengthen economic ties

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will begin a visit to the United States on Tuesday aimed at improving bilateral relations strengthening cooperation on economic issues and new technology.

"The good movements in the military and political area and in regional cooperation must be followed with real progress in the economic sector," said Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev's diplomatic adviser, at a press briefing Monday.

Medvedev arrives in San Franciso on Tuesday and will head the next day to California's Silicon Valley to visit the headquarters of major high-tech companies Cisco, Apple, Twitter and Yandex, Prikhodko said.

The Russian leader will also meet the directors of Stanford University, where many of the new technology leaders studied.

On Thursday Medvedev will hold talks with US President Barack Obama, and members of the Senate.

"It is particularly interesting to bring together the US potential in science and technology, and the possibilities in the Russian market, and use all this in mutually beneficial projects," a statement from the Kremlin said.

One project Medvedev has singled out as a priority is the setting up of an innovation centre in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo, envisaging it as the Russian Silicon Valley.

"The ratification of the nuclear disarmament treaty (START), the problems of the missile defense weaponry as well and the situation in Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and North Korea will be top of the agenda," Prikhodko said.

US and Russian relations have improved over the past few months after the presidents signed a new START treaty, in which both agreed to slash their stockpiles of nuclear weapons by roughly 30 percent.

Washington and Moscow are also working on a joint statement on Kyrgyzstan, where deadly ethnic clashes have broken out that may have killed up to 2,000 people and affected more than one million others.

© 2010 AFP

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