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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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lunarchick - 02:53am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1812 of 1817)

Russia for cooperation with US on nuclear security

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday urged greater cooperation with the United States in reducing nuclear proliferation, in a veiled response to Washington's reassessment of aid programs helping Russia secure its nuclear weapons.

U.S. President George W. Bush's announcement Thursday that his administration is reviewing the programs prompted fears among U.S. lawmakers of cuts in the popular programs. Bush insisted that the move does not mean a deepening of tensions between Washington and Moscow, which have been fueled in the past week over a tit-for-tat spy scandal.

Asked Friday about the U.S. announcement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko did not directly address the possible aid cuts.

"We took note of the statement of President Bush confirming the intent of his administration to continue and develop cooperation with Russia in reducing nuclear dangers," Yakovenko said.

"The Russian side is ready for such cooperation, which should form the basis for all further deep cuts in strategic offensive weapons," he said. "We expect the soonest start to Russian-American talks on a whole complex of nuclear security issues."

Bush said it is in U.S. interests to work with Russia to dismantle its nuclear arsenal but that Washington must ensure that the money is being spent properly.

The United States spends more than dlrs 1 billion a year on the programs, designed to help Russia secure its vast nuclear weapons arsenal and ensure that underpaid nuclear scientists are not lured to work for antagonistic states or terrorists. (AP)

lunarchick - 02:56am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1813 of 1817)

Showalter this reads as if there is an AUDIT on expenditure .... !? Or is it mere 'politician speak' to voters, lulling them into a belief that auditing happens through all government departments.


On Slobo: it seems he was pushing drugs via officials selling them to finance both his bank accunt and aspects of the war --- it will be interesting to see this unfold --- not so good for those who have become drug addicts and had their worlds turned upside down!

lunarchick - 03:00am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1814 of 1817) Russia wants quick admission into the World Trade Organization to win better conditions for its exports but will firmly defend its interests during admission talks, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said on Friday.

"We consider admission into the WTO as a part of modernization of our economy and social sphere," Kasyanov said at an international conference on Russia's bid for membership in the global trade club. But, he added, "Russia can't accept increasing demands during the talks."

The one-day conference was organized by the European Union, which wants Russia to join the WTO and has urged it to act more quickly in adopting globally accepted trade rules.

Russia has been pushing for membership in the organization since 1995, but so far has failed to open up its markets and bring legislation in line with WTO norms.

WTO director Mike Moore Friday that the admission talks intensified last year, but warned that Russia still has a long way to go before its laws will be ready for membership.

Many Western officials argue that Russia still hardly deserves to be called a market economy - the key condition for admission into the 140-nation WTO, which sets rules for international trade. They point at heavy-handed government interference into the economy and state subsidies that mean prices for Russia's exports, such as steel, are often below world market levels.

Kasyanov dismissed those charges and said Russia has lost more than dlrs 2.5 billion from what he described as unfair anti-dumping moves by Western countries.

"Russia wants to join the WTO not for the sake of membership, but in order to protect its exports from discrimination," Kasyanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Russia's Economic Development Minister German Gref said that Russia hopes to complete admission talks early next year. He cited expert estimates saying that Russia may gain up to dlrs 18 billion from WTO membership over the next few years thanks, in particular, to the lifting of anti-dumping measures.

Kasyanov said Russia would oppose any excessive admission demands that would surpass standard WTO requirements.

At the same time, Kasyanov added, Russia needs a five- to seven-year grace period to restructure certain industries after it joins the group.

One key barrier to Russian membership is the high import tariffs intended to protect domestic producers. Kasyanov said the Russian public is coming to understand the need to lower the tariffs.

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