On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov to sign an agreement regarding cooperation in adoption of children. After the meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"Let me begin by saying that the past two and a half years has been a time of great strides in the relationship between our countries. We have signed a historic arms control treaty and opened a vital new land and air supply route to Afghanistan. We are cooperating on addressing Iran's nuclear threat, working to coordinate our diplomatic approach to Libya, consulting closely on the changes unfolding in the Middle East. Across the world, we are not only working bilaterally but multilaterally on so many important issues, from counterterrorism to nonproliferation.
"Our challenge now is to continue and maintain the momentum in order to deliver more results for both of our people. To that end, Minister Lavrov and I discussed missile defense cooperation. I believe we do have an opportunity to address common challenges in a way that makes Russians, Europeans, and Americans safer, and we are committed to working with both Russia and our NATO allies to do so.
"We also, of course, discussed the broader range of issues on which we are cooperating beyond security and arms control. For example, we strongly support Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization. Russia's membership would allow us to increase trade and deepen our economic ties. This is a high priority, and a priority for President Obama and the Administration. It's part of our broader global effort to promote a rules-based system of economic competition.
"We also discussed the increasing emphasis within Russia on democracy, and we obviously, as I have said many times, as our two presidents have discussed, support the rights of Russian civil society to assemble and speak freely, of Russian journalists and bloggers to monitor and report on official actions, and of lawyers and judges to work independently to uphold the rule of law.
"I am especially pleased that we were able to reach several new agreements. First, we are signing an agreement on inter-country adoptions. We take very seriously the safety and security of children that are adopted by American parents, and this agreement provides new, important safeguards to protect them. It also increases transparency for all parties involved in the adoption process. And I want to thank Senator Mary Landrieu, the leader of the adoption caucus in the Senate, as well as Congresswoman Karen Bass, who are present with us.
"Second, our negotiators have now concluded a visa agreement. We think this is especially important for our businesses, so that business men and women can travel multiple times between our two countries over 36 months on a single visa. This is a big deal for those who are doing business, and we are laying the groundwork for even more trade and travel.
"Third, we exchanged diplomatic notes on the U.S. Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement. This brings into force a protocol that Sergey and I signed last year that commits both of our countries to dispose of no less than 34 metric tons of weapons-grade uranium on each side, the equivalent of some 17,000 nuclear weapons.
"And fourth, we are renewing the protocol on the effects of radiation, which allows our scientists to collect and analyze epidemiological data together with the cancer risks that come with exposure to radiation.
"Fifth, our national aviation agencies today signed an Air Navigation Services Agreement that will increase air traffic control cooperation, enhance information sharing, and ultimately make even more air traffic between our countries even safer.
"This relationship, then, now involves cooperation in many different areas, and the Bilateral Presidential Commission that Presidents Obama and Medvedev began, that Minister Lavrov and I have the honor of co-chairing, has emerged as an important vehicle for pursuing our common interests. And we are very committed to continuing to move our relationship forward. And again, I thank the minister for the excellent work that we have done together."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.