News

Voice of America 4/28/97

COHEN/RUSSIA DEFENSE

BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST
DATELINE=PENTAGON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN 
SAYS HE WILL PLAY HOST TO RUSSIAN DEFENSE 
MINISTER IGOR RODIONOV FOR PENTAGON TALKS 
MAY 12TH AND 13TH.  A KEY ISSUE WILL BE THE 
SECURITY OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR FORCES AMID 
THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC CRISIS.  DAVID GOLLUST
HAS DETAILS FROM THE PENTAGON.

TEXT:  IT WILL BE SECRETARY COHEN'S 
FIRST MEETING WITH MR. RODIONOV SINCE
HE ASSUMED THE PENTAGON JOB.  IT IS ALSO 
THEIR FIRST MEETING SINCE THE RUSSIAN 
DEFENSE CHIEF WARNED TWO-MONTHS AGO
BECAUSE OF A CRUMBLING MILITARY 
INFRASTRUCTURE, THE RELIABILITY OF 
RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR COMMAND AND CONTROL 
SYSTEM CANNOT BE GUARANTEED.

MR. COHEN ANNOUNCED THE DATE FOR 
THE RODIONOV VISIT AT A CONFERENCE ON 
TERRORISM AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION 
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA.  HE TOLD A 
QUESTIONER MR. RODIONOV'S FEBRUARY 
REMARKS WERE APPARENTLY A GAMBIT IN 
BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS, BUT U-S OFFICIALS 
CANNOT NOT BE ENTIRELY SURE ABOUT THE 
NUCLEAR SAFETY ISSUE:

      /// COHEN ACTUALITY ///

THE HONEST ANSWER IS WE DO NOT KNOW, 
BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF 
TRANSPARENCY AND OPENNESS IN OUR 
RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM TO GIVE YOU AND 
UNQUALIFIED ANSWER.  WE HAVE BEEN 
ASSURED THAT THEY HAVE VERY STRICT
COMMAND AND CONTROL.  SECONDLY, WITH 
RESPECT TO THE STATEMENTS FROM MINISTER
RODIONOV, I CAN ONLY SPECULATE. AT THAT 
TIME HE WAS TRYING TO GET MORE MONEY FOR 
THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE THEY 
ARE IN PRETTY POOR SHAPE.

           /// END ACT ///

MR. COHEN SAID THE ADMINISTRATION IS READY 
TO PROVIDE MORE AID TO RUSSIA UNDER THE 
NUNN-LUGAR COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION 
PROGRAM TO HELP IT DISMANTLE SOVIET-ERA 
NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND TO CARRY OUT 
ITS STATED COMMITMENT TO ELIMINATE 
ITS CHEMICAL WEAPONS ARSENAL.

BUT HE SAID PERSUADING CONGRESS TO 
SUPPORT ADDITIONAL FUNDS IS COMPLICATED 
BY RUSSIA'S DEFERRAL OF RATIFICATION OF
THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS TREATY, AND
REPORTS IT IS WORKING ON NEW TYPES OF 
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ARMS.

ONE OF THE AUTHORS OF THE DISARMAMENT 
PROGRAM -- RETIRED SENATOR SAM NUNN -- 
TOLD THE SAME GATHERING THERE IS AN 
URGENT NEED TO FIND WORK FOR THE MANY 
WEAPONS SCIENTISTS WITHOUT JOBS YEARS 
AFTER THE SOVIET UNION'S COLLAPSE:

        /// NUNN ACTUALITY ///

TENS-OF-THOUSANDS OF SCIENTISTS, AND 
ENGINEER, AND TECHNICIANS IN THE FORMER 
SOVIET UNION THAT KNOW HOW TO MAKE 
THESE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ARE
WONDERING HOW THEY ARE GOING TO FEED 
THEIR FAMILIES BECAUSE OF THE DESTITUTE 
CONDITION OF THE GOVERNMENTS IN THOSE 
FORMER SOVIET STATES.  SO THIS IS AN 
UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGE. AND ONE 
THING I CANNOT RESIST SAYING WITH SO 
MANY PEOPLE  HERE FROM UNIVERSITIES 
AND REPRESENTING UNIVERSITIES.  I CAN 
NOT THINK OF ANYTHING MORE PRODUCTIVE 
FOR THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION THAN 
EVERY RESEARCH UNIVERSITY IN THE UNITED
STATES HIRING ONE, OR TWO, OR THREE, OR 
FOUR FORMER SOVIET SCIENTISTS OR ENGINEERS.

          /// END ACT ///

SINCE ITS INCEPTION FIVE-YEARS AGO, 
THE NUNN-LUGAR PROGRAM HAS PROVIDED 
NEARLY TWO-BILLION DOLLARS IN DISARMAMENT 
FUNDS TO RUSSIA, BELARUS, KAZAKHSTAN, AND 
UKRAINE.  ONLY LAST WEEK, THE 
ADMINISTRATION SAID IT WILL REQUEST 
ANOTHER 214-MILLION DOLLARS IN NUNN-LUGAR 
MONEY FOR RUSSIAN NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL 
WEAPONS DISPOSAL PROJECTS.   (SIGNED)

NEB/DAG/RAE

28-Apr-97 1:14 PM EDT (1714 UTC)
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