News

 

DATE=12/3/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-223602

TITLE=RUSSIA / MILITARY (L)

BYLINE=MICHELE KELEMEN

DATELINE=MOSCOW

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO:   RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN SAYS HIS COUNTRY IS 

READY TO CUT GROUND AND NAVAL FORCES BY 40 PERCENT.  V-O-A'S 

MICHELE KELEMEN IN MOSCOW REPORTS THIS WAS MR. YELTSIN'S SECOND 

STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT DURING HIS VISIT TO SWEDEN.  AND THE 

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT'S AIDES HAVE BEEN BUSY EXPLAINING WHAT HE 

MEANT.



TEXT:  PRESIDENT YELTSIN SEEMS TO BE FULL OF SURPRISES ON HIS 

VISIT TO SWEDEN.  DURING HIS SPEECH TO PARLIAMENT IN STOCKHOLM 

WEDNESDAY, HE ANNOUNCED RUSSIA WILL UNILATERALLY REDUCE ITS LAND 

AND NAVAL FORCES BY 40 PERCENT IN 1999 MAINLY IN THE NORTHWESTERN

REGION OF RUSSIA.  HE SAID IT WILL BE DIFFICULT AND THERE MAY BE 

PROBLEMS BUT RUSSIA WILL SOLVE THEM.



THE ANNOUNCEMENT DREW BIG APPLAUSE IN PARLIAMENT.  REUTER NEWS 

AGENCY REPORTS RUSSIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER YEVGENY PRIMAKOV LATER 

EXPLAINED THE 40 PERCENT TROOP CUT PROPOSAL WILL BE LIMITED TO 

THE NORTHWESTERN REGION OF RUSSIA.



THE PROPOSAL APPEARS TO BE AIMED AT REDUCING TENSIONS BETWEEN 

RUSSIA AND THE BALTIC COUNTRIES.  RUSSIA HAS OFFERED SECURITY 

GUARANTEES TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA IF THEY STAY OUT OF 

NATO, BUT ALL THREE HAVE REJECTED THE OFFER.



IN HIS SPEECH WEDNESDAY, PRESIDENT YELTSIN APPEALED FOR WHAT HE 

CALLS A NEW REGIME OF TRUST IN THE BALTIC REGION.  HE SUGGESTED 

SETTING UP MILITARY HOTLINES AND HOLDING JOINT EXERCISES.



THE COMMENTS COME ONE DAY AFTER ANOTHER SURPRISING INITIATIVE 

FROM THE RUSSIAN LEADER.  DURING A NEWS CONFERENCE TUESDAY,  

PRESIDENT YELTSIN SAID RUSSIA IS READY TO REDUCE ITS NUCLEAR 

ARSENAL BY ONE-THIRD.



BUT, A KREMLIN SPOKESMAN DOWNPLAYED THE APPARENTLY IMPROMPTU 

REMARKS, SAYING IT IS AN IDEA, BUT  IT IS  NOT  YET ON THE 

NEGOTIATING TABLE.  HE SAID THE RUSSIAN LEADER WAS TIRED WHEN HE 

MADE THE STATEMENT.



FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV ADDED THE RUSSIAN LEADER WAS ONLY 

REITERATING RUSSIA'S DESIRE TO AGREE WITH THE UNITED STATES ON 

MORE CUTS IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  (SIGNED)



NEB/MLK/JWH



03-Dec-97 10:35 AM EST (1535 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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