News

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

Blue Bar

INDEX
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1997
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN

RUSSIA
8Seismic Event in Vicinity of Novaya Zemlya on August 16




U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 124
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1997 12:40 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


................

QUESTION: You may have seen the reports about the Russians supposedly having engaged in some nuclear testing, notwithstanding promises to the contrary. The Russians are now saying it was an ordinary earthquake and not a nuclear test. Do you have anything on that?

MR. RUBIN: We have information that a seismic event with explosive characteristics occurred in the vicinity of the Russian nuclear test range at Novaya Zemlya on August the 16th. The information we have is still under intensive review. We are currently engaged in a dialogue with Russia and with other countries regarding this event.

Let me point out that the information we have is not conclusive. We are not able to confirm that a nuclear test has taken place, thus we cannot rule out an earthquake or another natural explanation like the one the Russians provided to you. So that's the situation. The information is not conclusive. We haven't been able to confirm that a nuclear test has taken place. But obviously information came to our attention that was troubling. There were some early indication of its explosive characteristics. Now what we're doing is what we are supposed to be doing, which is talking to the Russians about what they know and what information they have, expressing our concern about the matter, and talking to our allies who may have additional information, and assessing what is complicated science, which is trying to determine what this event was.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up. Did the Secretary discuss this issue with Foreign Minister Primakov this morning when she talked to him?

MR. RUBIN: She spoke to him yesterday. I do not believe this came up other than in passing because it was deemed to be something the experts had to work on. But I would be surprised if she didn't mention it. The purpose of the call was focused on Bosnia in advance of Ambassador Gelbard's visit there and the Middle East trip.

..................

[end of document]

Blue Bar