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During Biden visit, Finland calls for Russian WTO membership

09 march 2011, 01:35
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday met Finnish Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi in Helsinki, where she argued for Russia's quick entrance into the World Trade Organisation, AFP reports.

"I stressed that a rapid implementation of Russian WTO membership is in the best interests of Finland, Europe and the world, in addition to being in the best interests of Russia," Kiviniemi told reporters after meeting Biden briefly at the Finnish parliament.

She argued Russia's case just before Biden, who was not at the news conference, was scheduled to fly to Moscow, the second stop in his three-nation European tour of Finland, Russia and Moldova.

Russia starts talks Friday or Saturday on WTO membership with Georgia in the Swiss capital Bern.

Georgia opposes Russia's efforts to join the WTO, and as a member itself, can veto the membership of WTO hopefuls.

Earlier Tuesday, which is International Women's Day, Biden held talks with Finnish President Tarja Halonen, calling on the world to improve women's rights.

"The single most significant thing we can do in the 21st century to improve the prospect of peace and security is to educate more women ... and give them more access to opportunity," he said at a joint news conference with Halonen, who has a long track record of working with international women's rights organizations.

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