US Vice-President Biden underscores women's rights on Finland visit
Mar 8, 2011, 14:19 GMT
Helsinki - US Vice-President Joe Biden Tuesday highlighted the importance of women's rights as part of enhancing global stability during a visit to Finland where he praised the Nordic country's progress in that area.
In Finland, women hold the posts of president and prime minister, and have some 40 per cent of parliamentary seats, Biden observed after a meeting with President Tarja Halonen and just before he met with Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi.
Halonen, who has been in office since 2000, said Biden's timing was excellent, noting that his visit coincided with the centenary of International Women's Day.
'The world needs more women (in office) but also more progressive men,' she said.
North Africa and Libya, as well as Afghanistan were other topics discussed during their meeting, she said.
They did not take questions after giving statements.
The talks with Kiviniemi also touched on international affairs as well as trade, including Russian membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Kiviniemi told reporters that a speedy entry for Russia in the WTO would benefit Finland, Europe and the world, as well as Russia.
Finland was the first stop on a three-nation tour for Biden who continues to Russia and later Moldova.
The last visit by a US vice-president to Finland was in 1992 by former vice president Dan Quayle. Five years later, US President Bill Clinton visited as well.
In Russia, Biden is scheduled to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The visit to Moldova is set to be the first by a US vice- president, the White House said.
Read more about Finland Diplomacy
Read more about US