Medvedev to visit US, sign trade deals: Kremlin aide

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President Dmitry Medvedev plans a visit to the United States to sign trade deals and possibly tour Silicon Valley in his drive to diversify Russia's hydrocarbon-dependent economy, a top aide said Tuesday.

"This visit will have an innovative character and will be aimed at intensifying trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the United States, first and foremost in hi-tech areas," Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev's seniormost foreign policy aide, told reporters.

The Kremlin aide declined to give the date of the visit or details of the contracts to be signed, saying only it will be a "solid set of documents" on economics, including high-tech and science, and several trade contracts.

His US tour may include a trip to Silicon Valley, Prikhodko said.

Medvedev is expected to travel to North America in late June when he's set to take part in the Group of Eight and Group of 20 summits in Canada.

Medvedev is seeking to modernise the Russian economy and one of his most recent initiatives includes building a high-tech hub near Moscow.

Dubbed the Russian Silicon Valley, the project aims to entice leading Russian and foreign scientists to focus their energies on nuclear and bio-medical technologies, energy and telecommunications.

A large Russian business delegation will accompany Medvedev on the trip, which is expected to kick off several large projects, Prikhodko said, without elaborating.

"There are a lot of interesting ideas and proposals," he added.

Russian-US ties are enjoying a renaissance after Medvedev and his US counterpart Barack Obama signed the long-awaited landmark Cold War-era nuclear disarmament treaty in Prague in April.

"There will certainly be talks on issues of strategic stability," Prikhodko added, noting that the two nations had demonstrated political will by signing the new START arms control treaty.

"We are ready to continue these efforts," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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