News

Voice of America 3/12/97 CONGRESS-RUSSIA

BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON
DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: MEMBERS OF THE U-S CONGRESS HAVE SOME ITEMS THEY WANT ON THE AGENDA FOR NEXT WEEK'S CLINTON- YELTSIN SUMMIT IN HELSINKI. V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS THEY LISTED THEIR CONCERNS DURING A HOUSE HEARING ON THE ADMINISTRATION'S RUSSIA POLICY.

TEXT: THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE SAYS THE UNITED STATES HAS PROVIDED RUSSIA WITH A LOT OF HELP IN RECENT YEARS. AND REPUBLICAN BENJAMIN GILMAN MAKES CLEAR, MANY LAWMAKERS WONDER IF THE MONEY WAS WELL SPENT.

////GILMAN ACT///

THERE IS A STRONG DISAPPOINTMENT AMONG MANY OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS THAT OUR POLICY TOWARDS RUSSIA DOES NOT SEEM TO BE SERVING AMERICAN INTERESTS AS WELL AS IT SHOULD.

////END ACT/////

MR. GILMAN SAYS THERE ARE DISTURBING SIGNS -- TRENDS THAT SHOULD BE DISCUSSED AT THE CLINTON-YELTSIN SUMMIT.

////GILMAN ACT////

RUSSIA STILL INSISTS ON SELLING REACTORS TO IRAN. THERE ARE TOO MANY ALLEGATIONS THAT RUSSIA IS DEVELOPING CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND SELLING DANGEROUS TECHNOLOGY AROUND THE WORLD.

////END ACT////

THE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MAKES SPECIFIC MENTION OF RUSSIAN ARMS SALES TO CHINA, AND MOSCOW'S INSISTENCE ON PLACING BASES AND TROOPS ON THE TERRITORY OF UKRAINE AND OTHER FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS. OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS TALK ABOUT THE FLIGHT OF RUSSIAN CAPITAL TO FOREIGN BANKS AND THE SLOW PACE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S COORDINATOR FOR THE FORMER SOVIET UNION AGREES THERE ARE PROBLEMS. BUT AMBASSADOR JAMES COLLINS REMINDS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS THAT THIS REMAINS A REGION IN TRANSITION. HE SAYS THERE HAVE BEEN SETBACKS AND SUCCESSES.

////COLLINS ACT////

RUSSIA HAS MADE SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS IN TAMING INFLATION AND PRIVATIZING THE INDUSTRIAL ECONOMY, BUT CORRUPTION CONTINUES TO OBSTRUCT DEVELOPMENT OF A NORMAL AND ROBUST COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENT IN RUSSIA, AND THE WEAKNESS OF LEGAL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT INSTITUTIONS HAS SPAWNED A DISTURBING AND DANGEROUS RISE IN CRIME.

////END ACT////

AMBASSADOR COLLINS TOLD THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE THAT DIFFERENCES WITH RUSSIA ON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY ARE ALSO A REALITY. HE SAID THE UNITED STATES IS CLOSELY MONITORING ALL MAJOR ARMS SALES THAT MIGHT THREATEN AMERICA'S NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS. BUT HE DOWNPLAYED ANY DANGER POSED BY COOPERATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND CHINA, FOCUSING INSTEAD ON THE BENEFITS OF LOWERING TENSIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. HE ALSO STRESSED RUSSIAN OFFICIALS HAVE PROMISED THEY WILL OVERSEE THE NUCLEAR REACTORS IN IRAN AND MAKE SURE THOSE FACILITIES ARE NEVER USED FOR MILITARY PURPOSES.

MR. COLLINS WAS ALSO ASKED ABOUT NATO EXPANSION PLANS -- PRIMARILY ABOUT THE COST AND THE POSSIBILITY AMERICAN TROOPS COULD BE STATIONED IN COUNTRIES NEW TO THE ALLIANCE. HE TALKED ABOUT A GENERAL SHIFT IN NATO OPERATIONS, STRESSING THAT MASSIVE DEPLOYMENTS IN INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES ARE NO LONGER THE NORM. HE SAID MORE AND MORE, NATO IS RELYING ON CENTRALLY LOCATED MOBILE FORCES THAT CAN BE SENT TO HELP ANY MEMBER NATION IN A TIME OF CRISIS. AND HE PREDICTED THAT WOULD BE THE CASE IN AREAS THAT WERE ONCE PART OF THE SOVIET BLOC. (SIGNED)

NEB/PW/MMK

12-Mar-97 2:50 PM EST (1950 UTC)
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