News / Europe

US Vice President Calls for Closer Economic Ties with Russia

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting in the presidential residence at Gorki, outside Moscow March 9, 2011.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting in the presidential residence at Gorki, outside Moscow March 9, 2011.
James Brooke

Visiting U. S. Vice President Joe Biden said in Moscow Thursday that economic modernization can only come with political modernization. He said foreign investors want predictability, transparency and the rule of law.

Two years after the Obama administration launched a campaign to improve relations with Moscow, Vice President Biden is calling for close economic ties with Russia.

Citing joint cooperation on Afghanistan, on sanctions on Iran, and on nuclear weapons control, Biden gave this verdict in Moscow on the political reset. "The reset is working. It is working for all of us, working for Russia, and I would presumptuously suggest, working for the world.”

He says the reduction in political tension has led to a dramatic softening of attitudes of Russians and Americans toward each other. Today, only two percent of Americans see Russia as a threat, he told an audience of business leaders and Moscow State University students. On the Russian side, he said, Russians with positive views of the United States have jumped from 17 percent in 2008 to over 60 percent today.

To build on this base, he says, the next step is to bring Russia into the World Trade Organization. "Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: President Obama and I strongly support and want to see Russia in WTO," he said.

Joining the WTO should be part of a wider effort in Russia to increase foreign investment by fighting corruption. Citing cases of ‘fortunes lost because of legal abuse' he said "Russia’s business and legal climate, quite frankly, is going to have to continue to improve. Because, right now, for many companies, it presents a fundamental obstacle."

Russia faces a presidential election one year from now. The visiting American made a forceful argument that economic modernization is linked to political modernization.

"No amount of government cheerleading, or public relations, or US support, or rebranding will bring wronged or nervous investors back to a market they perceive to have these shortcomings. Only bold and genuine change," Biden said.

Earlier Thursday, the American vice president, met behind closed doors with Russian opposition leaders. Speaking at Moscow State University in the only public address of his two day visit to Russia, he gave a textbook lesson on democracy, stressing the need for a free press, for free nongovernment organizations, and for viable opposition political parties.

"Polls show that most Russians want to choose their national and local  leaders in competitive elections. They want to be able to assemble freely,  and they want a meeting that is independent of the state, and they want to live in a country that fights corruption. That’s democracy," he said.

Also on Thursday Biden met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Russian caught the visiting American off guard by unexpectedly proposing to abolish visas between the two countries.  Mr. Putin said: "This would break all the old stereotypes between Russia and the United States. We would turn a very important page and everything would start over," he said.

Biden limited his response to saying it is a good idea.

In his public comments in Russia, Biden has repeatedly praised President Dmitry Medvedev.

After their meeting on Wednesday, he said: "Your personal leadership and progress has proved the skeptics wrong."

In another endorsement, he also said: "We fully support Mevedev’s vision of a nation powered by innovation and modernization."

In his public remarks, he has made no mention of Prime Minister Putin. The Russian press has speculated that the Obama Administration would prefer to see Mr. Medvedev as the official candidate in next year’s presidential elections.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs