ACCESSION NUMBER:218676 FILE ID:EC-506 DATE:03/06/92 TITLE:ALLIES EASE CURBS ON FIBER OPTICS TO EX-SOVIET STATES (03/06/92) TEXT:*92030606.ECO ALLIES EASE CURBS ON FIBER OPTICS TO EX-SOVIET STATES (Bush administration drops opposition) (240) Washington -- The United States has agreed with its industrial country partners to allow export of high-technology telecommunications equipment to the newly independent republics of the former Soviet Union. Included in the proposed relaxation of export controls are fiber-optics telephone systems and digital microwave radio equipment, a State Department official said. Until now the United States has opposed such liberalization; U.S. intelligence agencies have argued that allowing fiber optics exports would interfere with their eavesdropping capability in the former Soviet republics. The decision came, State and Commerce departments officials said March 6, the previous day in Paris during an informal meeting of representatives from key countries of the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). "A general framework was agreed upon to expand availability of telecommunications systems to proscribed countries," the Commerce official said, adding that the Bush administration is pleased with the results. Many details, still to be worked out, are expected to be released during the week of March 9. All 17 COCOM countries -- Australia, Japan and the NATO countries except 1celand -- must approve the change, possibly at their next high-level meeting, scheduled for June in Paris. According to published news reports, the proposed rules would allow the former Soviet republics to buy medium-speed, state-of-the-art telecommunication systems for transmitting voices, data and possibly video pictures between cities. NNNN .