Title: "Agreements with Russia on MTCR, Space, Energy Discussed." An unnamed senior US official says Russia's agreement to abide by the provisions of the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR) is a very good signal of Russia's intent to be a reliable partner in terms of its nonproliferation behavior. (930903)
Author: PITTS, DAVID (USIA STAFF WRITER)
AGREEMENTS WITH RUSSIA ON MTCR, SPACE, ENERGY DISCUSSED (Also foreign policy during Russian PM's visit) (590) By David Pitts USIA Staff Writer Washington -- Russia's agreement to abide by the provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) "is really a very good signal of Russia's intent to be a really reliable partner in terms of its nonproliferation behavior," a senior administration official has said.
Speaking late September 2 after the United States and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on MTCR as well as a number of agreements on space, energy, and technical cooperation, the official said he would put the MTCR memorandum "at the top of the list" in terms of importance.
But he also said the other pacts, particularly the agreement to cooperate on space and in the development of a space shuttle, were also very important and signal a new relationship between the two nations in the area of economic cooperation.
The agreements emerged from a two-day meeting of the U.S.-Russian Commission on Cooperation in Space and Energy, which was created at the Vancouver Summit between President Clinton and Russian President Yeltsin. The meeting in Washington was led by Vice President Gore for the United States and Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin for Russia.
The agreements also provided for the creation of six working groups under the commission. "In many respects, the most important is the Business Development Committee," the official said. "This committee will be the committee that works in the oil and gas area, in the area of nuclear power plant safety and in the area of lowering barriers to trade and investment in general," he added.
With regard to cooperation on the space shuttle, the official said, "We're clearly looking at getting something up and flying in the mid-nineties time frame." The benefits of the cooperation will be "lower cost, shorter time to get activities going in space, short time to get construction going, shorter time to get people flying in experiments under way," he noted.
The senior official also discussed the talks between President Clinton and Chernomyrdin on foreign policy.
On Russian-Ukrainian relations, the official said the president "reiterated our commitment to do what we can to help improve the Russian-Ukrainian relationship, and our interest in seeing, obviously as soon as possible, a non-nuclear Ukraine."
On the Baltics, the official said President Clinton "reiterated our continued interest in an early withdrawal of the Russian military forces from Estonia and Latvia." Chernomyrdin communicated "a very strong view that the Russian government understood the need to withdraw the troops. He listed the problems that are currently preventing an early withdrawal. But he did speak with some degree of certainty that the Russians had a plan to withdraw their troops," he added.
On the Jackson-Vanik amendment, the official said, "We don't have a time frame for repealing Jackson-Vanik. Our view has been that there continues to be a problem with refuseniks in Russia. There are still Jews and Christians denied the right to emigrate for two reasons -- one is security reasons and the other is what they call poor relatives," he remarked.
"We also feel very strongly that the Russian government must establish a commission that can review cases in the future after any possible repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. But right now we are not talking in real terms about doing that because we're not there yet. We've simply enunciated our position again for the Russian side," the official said.