SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The World

March 8, 2011

Joe Biden meets Finnish leaders en route to Moscow

HELSINKI — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has met with Finnish leaders on the first leg of a European tour aimed at building warmer ties between Washington and Moscow.

Biden discussed international issues, including Afghanistan and developments in northern Africa, with Finnish President Tarja Halonen before a working lunch with Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi. Later Tuesday, he was to continue the weeklong tour to Russia and Moldova.

The talks in Moscow are expected to focus on missile defense cooperation and Russia's efforts to join the World Trade Organization. Biden is also traveling to Moldova to signal support for democratic and economic reforms.

It is his first visit to the region as vice president.

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