Medvedev to visit US, tour Silicon Valley: officials

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit the United States later this month to hold talks with President Barack Obama and tour Silicon Valley, the Kremlin and White House said Friday.

Medvedev will "visit the United States June 22-24 on the invitation of US President Obama," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Obama, said the White House later Friday, "is pleased to welcome" his counterpart to Washington.

Before talks with Obama at the White House on June 24, Medvedev will also tour California's technology corridor Silicon Valley on a visit that will focus on "broadening Russian and American cooperation in the areas of innovations and hi-tech," the Kremlin said.

Medvedev is also set to take part in the Group of Eight and Group of 20 summits in Canada.

The White House noted the pair have "collaborated closely to enhance the security and well-being of the American and Russian people" since first meeting in London in April last year, including the landmark signing of the new START treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals.

Among other strides, the US statement praised moves to bring sanctions against North Korea and Iran over their controversial nuclear drives, and the creation of the Bilateral President Commission that expanded US-Russian ties on a range of issues such as counternarcotic efforts, counterterrorism and space travel.

The president's forthcoming visit, first announced on Tuesday by a senior Medvedev aide who did not name the exact trip dates, is part of his efforts to modernise the Russian economy, as 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.

Russian-US ties are enjoying a renaissance after Medvedev and Obama signed the long-awaited, updated Cold War-era nuclear START disarmament treaty in Prague in April.

Obama, said the White House, "looks forward to using this next meeting with President Medvedev to explore possible avenues of greater cooperation regarding trade, investment and innovation."

The US leader is "pleased" that Medvedev will visit Silicon Valley before their meeting and be able to "review the unique set of factors that has fostered this important center of technological advancement and entrepreneurship," US officials said.

© 2010 AFP

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