Russia 110419 Basic Political Developments

Russian FM to talk economy, Kosovo

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Russian FM to talk economy, Kosovo
Source: Tanjug

Belgrade, Moscow -- Russian FM Sergei Lavrov will visit Belgrade today, where he will confer with Serbia's top officials on bilateral relations, economic cooperation and Kosovo.

According to announcements, Lavrov will meet Serbian President Boris Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.

Prior to Lavrov's visit, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass released that the focus of attention will be the improvement of the bilateral cooperation, which has been on the upsurge in the past several years.

The officials will discuss the development of the trade and economic cooperation, and the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that Serbia will remain Russia's biggest partner in the Western Balkan region.

According to Russia's estimates, the commodity exchange between the two countries amounted to USD 1.4bn in 2010, Itar-Tass reported, adding that the work on the realization of large projects is being continued, including the construction of the Serbian section of the South Stream gas pipeline.

One of the topics to be discussed is the issue of Kosovo.

There is no doubt that the issue of Kosovo will be mentioned, and Serbia has Russia's unconditional and consistent support in this matter, Itar-Tass reported, referring to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

As Tanjug was told earlier by the Russian embassy in Belgrade, it is possible that one of the topics of talks will be the agreement on the two countries' strategic partnership, which has been drafted and whose harmonization is underway.

Lavrov will attend the unveiling of the memorial plaque to Russian architect Nikolai Krasnov placed at the Serbian Foreign Ministry building, and visit the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, the Russian Embassy told Tanjug.

Lavrov is paying a visit to Serbia shortly after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Belgrade on March 23.

Belgrade will be the first stop on Lavrov's mini tour which lasts until April 21, and during which he will also visit Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia.

World Leaders to Attend St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2011
Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero have confirmed they will take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2011 in St. Petersburg on June 16-18, the Russian Economic Development Ministry said on Monday.

"An invitation has been sent to President of China Hu Jintao to attend as an honored guest and to speak at the plenary session after the Russian president's welcome address," the ministry quoted Presidential Aide Arkady Dvorkovich as saying.

The forum will also include executives from over 250 of the world's leading companies, the ministry said. In all, almost 5,000 politicians and businesspeople, official delegations from over 70 countries, leading scholars, social activists, and journalists are expected to come to St. Petersburg to discuss the most pressing issues facing Russia and the broader international community.

Washington-Moscow News Conference: Suit Filed to Require President Obama to Lift 'Jackson-Vanik' for Russia

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the law firm Bailey Gary PC:

Suit was filed today in U.S. federal court to require President Barack Obama to use his existing legal authority to permanently remove the Russian Federation from trade restrictions under the 1974 "Jackson-Vanik" law.   A press conference on the suit will be held at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19, in the offices of Bailey Gary PC (1615 L Street NW Suite 650, Washington), counsel for plaintiffs, with video link to the Interfax news agency in Moscow.  Participants will include the plaintiffs and their attorneys, members of the Russian Duma, and American and Russian experts on U.S.-Russia ties.

"For the better part of two decades the Executive Branch, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, has claimed to support Russia's 'graduation' from Jackson-Vanik, while lamenting inaction by Congress," states James T. Pitts, lead attorney for the plaintiffs.   "But a close reading of the amendment shows that Congressional action is not necessary to remove Russia permanently from these outdated, Cold War-era provisions.  The president has all the authority he needs, and we respectfully hope this suit will impel him to use it."

The action has been brought by Edward Lozansky, a former Soviet dissident whose wife and daughter were "refuseniks" for 6 years and who at a 2010 House of Representatives hearing on Jackson-Vanik testified:

"Having been separated by the Soviet authorities from my wife and child for over six years since they could not get such an exit visa, I can confirm that Jackson-Vanik played a very important role not only in the process of lifting restrictions on emigration but on the whole process of democratic and human rights developments in the countries of the former USSR.  But I strongly believe that now Jackson-Vanik is not only obsolete but even harmful to U.S. interests. What was good 30 or 40 years ago may not be appropriate today."

Enacted in 1974, Jackson-Vanik barred normal trade ties between the U.S. and communist ("non-market economy") countries unless they permitted free emigration of their citizens.  Most countries formerly impacted by Jackson-Vanik have been permanently "graduated" from its provisions. But due to unrelated trade and political issues, Russia has not, even though for years Russia has been in full compliance with the amendment's emigration requirements.  In addition, in 2002 the Department of Commerce determined Russia was no longer a "non-market economy," which, according to Richard Perle – a noted hardliner about Russia and drafter of the Jackson-Vanik language – itself is sufficient to release Russia from its provisions. 

In addition to Lozansky, the other lead plaintiff is Anthony T. Salvia, an expert on U.S.-Russia relations and former Reagan Administration appointee and head of the Radio Liberty bureau in Moscow.   It is expected that additional American plaintiffs disadvantaged by the amendment's continued application to Russia may join in the action.

Contact: Darren Spinck, 202-669-4418,

SOURCE Bailey Gary PC

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