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Obama birthday call from Medvedev

US president Barack Obama has received a happy birthday phone call from Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

Besides discussing the president's 50th birthday, the two leaders also talked about Russia's effort to join the World Trade Organisation this year after nearly two decades of talks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the presidents took note of the significant progress made in recent weeks towards that goal. And he said that Mr Obama stressed that Russia needs to work with other WTO members to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Russia is by far the largest economy still outside the World Trade Organisation, which regulates trade between its 153 member states.

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