Biden hails U.S.-Russian relations
Biden and Medvedev at Medvedev's dacha on Wednesday
March 9th, 2011
03:33 PM ET

Biden hails U.S.-Russian relations

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Citing progress in the areas of arms control, as well as cooperation over the situations in Iran and Afghanistan, Vice President Biden told Russian President Dimitry Medvedev Wednesday that "we've proved the skeptics wrong" when it comes to the "re-set" in relations between the two countries.

In a brief evening appearance at Medvedev's dacha in the Russian countryside before journalists covering the visit, the two men hailed the ratification of the New START nuclear arms accord, Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, as well as the current wave of unrest currently rolling across the Middle East and North Africa.

Biden told Medvedev the situation will "require a joint effort," by the US and Russia according to members of the American press pool traveling with the vice president.

Making light of his age, Biden joked that the first Russian leader he had met was Leonid Brezhnev of the former Soviet Union. Brezhnev led the Soviet Union from 1964-1982.

He found strong support from Medvedev for the lifting of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, a piece of legislation from the Cold War era that denied Most Favored Nation trade status to the Soviet Union as a means to pressure for the allowance of greater Jewish emigration. The legislation remains a thorn in the relations between the two countries.

Medvedev told Biden to send his "best regards to my colleague, Barack Obama."

Earlier in the day, Biden traveled to the city of Skolkovo, to attend the signing of a $2 billion deal between Aeroflot and Boeing for the purchase of six Boeing 777-300 ER jet airliners, and two 777-200 ER's.

A high-tech hub outside of Moscow, Skolkovo is billed as Russia's version of Silicon Valley.

Biden hailed the deal as good for both countries. "It will create high-tech jobs here in Russia, and at home, it will sustain 11,000 jobs," he said. Some of the planes will be used to assist in long-haul transport for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

In a separate roundtable discussion with U.S. and Russian business leaders in Skolkovo, Biden said stronger economic relations between the countries also hinged on the strengthening of the rule of law in Russia to assure international businesses were treated "fairly," and for "endemic corruption" to be rooted out. He was joined by leaders from companies including Alcoa, Aeroflot, Ernst & Yong, as well as members of the Russian government.

Biden began the day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. He was joined by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and his 12-year-old granddaughter Finnegan.

The family made a visit to Finland before their stop in Russia. They will travel to Moldova before returning to the United States later this week.


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