Clinton to Travel to Russia, Meet with Lavrov

Posted June 20th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The State Department says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Russia next week, were she will meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Clinton will be leading the U.S. delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's Women and the Economy Forum in St. Petersburg.

The United States and Russia have been struggling to bridge their disagreements on Syria. Last week, Clinton criticized Russian plans to send attack helicopters to the Syrian government.

Russia has criticized the U.S.-led NATO missile defense system currently being installed in Europe.

Meanwhile, Clinton is urging the U.S. Congress to extend permanent normal trading relations to Russia.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Clinton said this is not a gift to Russia but a smart strategic investment in one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. goods and services.

She said Russia is poised to join the World Trade Organization and not taking advantage of the Russian market will hurt the U.S. economy and job creation.

Trade with Russia is currently restricted by the Jackson-Vanik Amendment — an early 1970s law that penalizes countries that restrict emigration.

The amendment was aimed at prompting the Soviet Union to allow Jews to emigrate to Israel and the West. Clinton says the law achieved this historic purpose long ago.

Before going to St. Petersburg next week, Secretary Clinton will stop in Finland and Latvia for bilateral talks.