Obama meets with Rice, signs Russian trade bill

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Associated Press

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 5:04 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 14 at 7:33 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is meeting privately with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a day after she withdrew her name from consideration to be the next secretary of state.

In a busy Friday schedule, the president also will sign into law a Russian trade and human rights bill.

The measure opens new export opportunities for American businesses. But a section that would punish Russian officials who allegedly commit human rights violations has antagonized Moscow.

The bill establishes permanent normal trade relations with Russia and eliminates a long-obsolete 1974 provision, called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, that tied trade relations with the former Soviet Union to the emigration of Jews and other Soviet minorities.

The president also will likely work on trying to strike a deal with Republicans to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

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