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Putin, Biden discuss visa problem, RF accession to WTO

11. March 2011. | 07:42

Source: Itar-Tass

 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden discussed the visa problem, accession to the World Trade Organisation and missile defence issues, deputy chief of the Russian government office Yuri Ushakov said on Thursday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden discussed the visa problem, accession to the World Trade Organisation and missile defence issues, deputy chief of the Russian government office Yuri Ushakov said on Thursday.

Summing up the results of the Putin-Biden talks, Ushakov said: “The visa problem should be solved on the practical basis. Its solution should radically change Russians’ attitude towards Americans and Americans’ attitude towards Russians.”

The deputy chief of the government office stressed that Putin had specially raised this question. He added that this problem had been raised for the first time in the history of Russian-American relations.

“In total, Biden reacted positively. During the meeting, he agreed that it was necessary to get rid of stereotypes and standards of Soviet times,” Ushakov said.

Putin urged U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to start talks on visa free travel between both countries. “If Russia and the U.S. agreed to introduce visa free travel, this would be a historical step.”

Biden supported Putin’s idea. “A good idea,” he said.

At the same time, Putin said Russia held talks on visa free travel with European countries. This issue was discussed at the plenary session of members of the Russian government and the European Commission in Brussels at the end of February, as well as during the talks with the leadership of European states.

Putin said visa formalities between Russia and the EU created real obstacles for cooperation. “In our view, today visas impede business-like contacts and free movement of citizens,” the Russian prime minister said.

According to Putin, relations between Russia and the United States are developing intensively. “Last year trade turnover increased by 29 percent. In addition, we completed several significant events: the START Treaty and the work on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” Putin noted that key American companies were working in Russia successfully.

“What is more pleasant, Russia’s investments in the U.S. are growing,” the prime minister stressed. “Particularly, in the humanitarian field and sensitive spheres such as nuclear energy. The Government Commission on Foreign Investments monitors the situation what is very pleasant,” he said.

Putin noted that Russian and American companies intensified their contacts. “Jointly with European countries we are holding active talks on introducing visa free formalities,” Putin said, adding that Europeans flew to the U.S. freely. “If Russia and the U.S. agreed to introduce visa free requirements before it did with the EU, this would be a historical step towards developing Russian-American relations,” Putin said.

In his opinion, “This would destroy old stereotypes between Russia and the U.S.” “We’d turn a significant page in our past and try all back,” Putin said. He believes that such step would create a new atmosphere in relationship between Russia and the United States.

“If you agreed with what I’d said, your view, Mr. Vice President, the view of one of the leaders of the present administration, that has its impact on the Congress, would be very important for us,” the Russian prime minister pointed out.

Commenting on Russia’s accession to the WTO, Ushakov said Putin stressed that this political “is political”. The Russian prime minister expressed satisfaction with the fact that this problem was settled with the United States. Putin said he is hopeful that the Georgian problem “will be also resolved”.

The United States asked Georgia not to impede Russia’s accession to the WTO, Ushakov said.

The United States has not said it straight that the Georgian problem on the way of Russia’s accession to the WTO will be removed. “But it was confirmed that the United State has had talks on the issue with Georgian officials,” Ushakov said.

“The parties discussed in detail missile defence,” the deputy chief of government office said, adding that Putin had reminded of his proposals on which the previous U.S. administration had not reacted.

“The parties determined the positions on missile defence and agreed to continue consultations at the level of experts,” he said.

“As for the deployment of missile defence elements and units of the U.S. Armed Forces in Poland, this problem arouses concern. If these plans are realised, we’ll have to take into account such events in Poland in our plans on the construction of our Armed Forces that we won’t want, of course,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier.

“This topic is not new and it is part of the so-called U.S. Administration gradual adaptive approach on the missile defence global system. This system comprises of several stages. It is designed till 2020. According to our experts, the first and second stages do not create risks to upset the strategic balance. But then ballistic defence missiles, which will be able to intercept Russian inter-continental ballistic missiles, are planning to deploy in Europe that, naturally, will have an impact on the strategic balance and on Russia’s security,” the diplomat said.

“We discussed this issue with our Polish partners at different levels and representatives of the American administration. Such plans [announced by the U.S. Administration] are out of the decisions, which were taken at the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon last year, including with U.S. representatives,” he said.

In addition, Ushakov said the situation in Libya and Afghanistan had been discussed in passing. “Nobody said nothing about Libya,” he explained.

According to Ushakov, Biden showed interest in developing Russia’s energy sector.


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