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Russia Calls Dropping Jackson-Vanik Priority For U.S.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (fore) met in late June with the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Howard Berman in Moscow.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that dropping the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment that restricts trade would be a priority for the United States administration, Itar-Tass reported.

Russia has repeatedly complained that the United States has kept in place trade restrictions, some of them dating back to the Cold War years, such as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which tied trade relations with the Soviet Union to the rights of religious minorities to emigrate.

Religious minorities have been free to leave Russia for many years.

Lavrov was speaking as visiting U.S. President Barack Obama continued his high-profile summit with Russian leaders, opposition members, and representatives of civil society.

Soon after Lavrov's comments, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev repeated separately Moscow's intention to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Obama has also called for increased trade between the United States and Russia.