Biden visits Russia to keep up New START momentum

March 8, 2011 11:43

MOSCOW - US Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to arrive in Russia on Tuesday to build on two years of improving ties capped by the New START nuclear arms reduction pact's entry into force last month as elections in both nations draw closer.

The White House and Russia also want progress toward turning decades of disputes over missile defense into cooperation.

Biden is to meet President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday and on Thursday he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, president from 2000-2008 and senior partner in Russia's ruling "tandem."

Putin may use a March 2012 election to return to the Kremlin. Analysts say opportunities for further milestones in ties will diminish as elections approach in both countries.

Biden's visit will be colored by turbulence in the Arab world, a potential source of friction which both sides said will be discussed. As US President Barack Obama weighed potential military options on Monday for Libya, Russia stressed it opposes such intervention.

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