1. First Solid Oxide Fuel Cell In Russia Demonstrated By Federal Nuclear Center
Russian Science News
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The first Russian power system based on a solid-oxide fuel cell had been tested in the All-Russia Research Institute of Technical Physics (Russian Federal Nuclear Center, Snezhinsk, Chelyabinsk oblast). In this system, hydrogen is obtained from natural gas, and oxygen - from the air. For the first time, such a system has been built up of units (air pump, reformer, and fuel cell) that all are made in Russia at factories of the Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom). Almost ten-year-long work of Minatom specialists on creating the solid-oxide fuel cell has been successful. The testing team has acknowledged an important financial support of the ISTC that helped to solve key technical problems.
Viktor Emel'yanov, co-coordinator of the ISTC fuel cell construction initiative, has reported the following. The scientists launched an experimental system, which was operated several days and then turned off. But the main goal was attained: it has been revealed, which units are to be modified and how. The resource of the energy system functioning has been estimated in pilot experiments with separate fuel cells at 50 thousands of hours. Though the coast hasn't been evaluated yet, it is expected to be acceptable. This event is comparable by importance with the first automobile construction. The experimental system power is 1 kW. This makes us sure that building 2.5 kW system under the ISTC project can be successfully accomplished.
Fuel cells and power systems on their basis are the key elements of hydrogen energetic, which is a promising way to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and also to reduce or stop the air pollution by exhaust gases of vehicles and power industries. Hydrogen energetic in Russia is promoted by the alliance of Minaton, ISTC, and Gazprom under aforementioned project, plus the Norilsk Nickel Company and Russian Academy of Sciences under the complex program of research and experimental-construction works on hydrogen energetic and fuel cells signed in December of 2003.
A fuel cell creates electricity through an electrochemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen. For this purpose, hydrogen atoms are driven to the hydrogen electrode, turned to ions, and transferred by an electrolyte to the oxygen electrode, where they join up with oxygen atoms to form water and leave the fuel cell. There are several kinds of electrolytes that determine the construction of a fuel cell and respective power system.
A solid-oxide fuel cell is a high-temperature fuel cell having an operating temperature of more than 800 degrees. At room temperature, this electrolyte does not conduct any ions. It is unsuitable for an automobile, but quite appropriate for generating electricity and heat for a severed cottage or supplementary equipment of transport means. The main advantage of this fuel cell is its adjustability to hydrocarbon fuels, primarily, natural gas. The decomposition of natural gas to hydrogen and carbon monoxide and dioxide results in the production of synthesis gas. Here carbon monoxide can serve as a fuel along with hydrogen due to the presence of oxygen anions in the electrolyte. But it would be a poison in alternative low-temperature fuel cells, where the electrolyte conducts hydrogen ions (protons). Solid-oxide fuel cells produce not only electricity, but also heat that can be used in heating of buildings as well as generating an additional power supply, e.g., with the use of gas or vapour turbine.
Solid-oxide electrolyte is usually made of zirconium oxide substances with the addition of alkaline-earth and rare-earth metals. There are two ways of obtaining electricity with the use of solid-oxide fuel cells, one of which is based on a tubular construction developed in Snezhinsk. That fuel cell consists of many modules. Each module is a tube about 1 cm in diameter and 25 cm long, consisting of the same material as the electrolyte, i.e., zirconium oxide, in which the electrodes are implanted: the hydrogen one is made up of nickel and zirconium oxide, and the oxygen one of lanthanumontium manganate. The tube is filled up with a porous insulator, in which a smaller metal tube is incorporated. By this tube synthesis gas is supplied to the fuel cell, and the electricity exits the fuel cell. A tube can be made also from the material of cathode. In this case, it is clad in electrolyte 20-30 cm thick, which is covered by the anode layer. Such a tube having the power density 550 mW/sq cm at the temperature of 950 degrees can produce the electric current of 0.55 V and 13 W. And these values do not change during 1.5 thousand hours of the operation test that has been conducted by the scientists.
An alternative idea is a planar fuel cell. In this case, the base is made of either a half-millimetre-thick plate of the same electrolyte carrying micron-deep layers of porous cathode and anode made of above-mentioned materials, or of a millimetre-thick anode plate with electrolyte and cathode layers. Such a plate up to 60 mm in diameter made of nickel/zirconium oxide with adjustable porosity and conductivity can be produced, for example, in the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering in Obninsk. That is commented by one of the members of the research team, N.I. Khramushin, as follows. The planar construction is more efficient and compact than the tubular one. Its use allows for obtaining a higher electric power density and decreasing power and heat losses. We have managed to obtain a maximal power density of 700 mW/sq cm at 950 degrees. Therefore, power systems based on such fuel cells will cost lower than tubular ones - the price for one kilowatt of power may drop to 400 dollars in case of a massive production.
1. Duma Ratifies Russia-Romania Treaty of Friendly Relations
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MOSCOW, January 23 (Itar-Tass) - The State Duma ratified on Friday the Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Russia and Romania, signed on July 4, 2003. It is aimed at developing mutually advantageous cooperation between the two states in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres.
The document notes that Moscow and Bucharest advocate ï¿½strengthening of international cooperation in opposing traditional and new forms of terrorist threats in compliance with the U.N. Charterï¿½ and ï¿½cooperate in the struggle against international terrorism in all its forms and manifestationsï¿½.
The sides agreed on cooperation in struggle against organized crime, money laundering, illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, nuclear and radioactive materials, smuggling and illegal contraband of cultural values across borders.
The document says that Russia and Romania will improve mechanisms of rendering mutual legal assistance in civil, criminal and family affairs as well as will encourage boosting contacts between citizens of the two states.
Chairman of the Duma International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, substantiating the committeeï¿½s support for the bill on ratification, noted that ï¿½Russian-Romanian relations have passed the bottom-low point in their development and are rapidly picking up steamï¿½.
According to the chairman, the ratification of the treaty ï¿½consolidates positions of those forces in Romania who come out for the development of relations with Russia, for solution of international and bilateral issues, including questions of a Dniester settlement as well as the situation in Moldova.
2. Russia Faces Growing Technological, Psychological Terrorism
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MOSCOW, January 20 (Itar-Tass) -- In the next few years Russia will face more crimes in the field of technological and psychological terrorism, said Deputy prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov at an international conference "The World community against globalisation of crime and terrorism" held in Moscow on Tuesday.
Over the past two years the number of terrorist attacks have grown almost twofold - from 339 terrorist acts staged in 2001 to 562 in 2003, he said. The North Caucasus accounts for the biggest share of terrorist acts. Most of these crimes are committed for reasons of personal gain because terrorism is the only source of income for the executors of terrorist acts and the main incentive for organizers who seek to come into power, Kolesnikov said.
He gave due to positive results in the struggle against terrorism, but admitted that the statistics of solved crimes was low, with no more than 30-35 percent of the overall number of such crimes being solved. Kolesnikov stressed the importance of activities for prevention of terrorism, saying that all security and law enforcement bodies should coordinate their activities and develop cooperation between countries.
Kolesnikov predicted that the North Caucasus and Moscow would be the most vulnerable areas exposed to the threat of terrorism in the next few years. It is important to pay attention to security of nuclear power facilities, Kolesnikov warned. He called to create and develop more special task force contingents that would enable to prevent mass death of people and financial losses.
1. Russia-French Group On Terror To Meet In Moscow Soon
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MOSCOW, January 22 (Itar-Tass) - The first meeting of the Russian-French working group on terrorism is planned to be held in Moscow soon, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass ahead of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepinï¿½s visit to Moscow starting on Thursday.
He said as well that the Russian-French working group for non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction would meet in Paris in the near future.
ï¿½Russia and France attach major importance to bilateral security cooperation,ï¿½ the high-ranking official said. He added, ï¿½The fact of setting up of a special forum ï¿½ Council for security cooperation with participation of the foreign and defence ministers or the two countries is a proof of that.ï¿½
ï¿½We are now preparing the Councilï¿½s third meeting, which is planned to be held in Paris in March,ï¿½ Meshkov said.
According to him, the two sides ï¿½will discuss prospects for the architecture of European security, the Russian and EU role in its formation, global partnership within the Group of Eight, regional crises, as well as promising bilateral projects of cooperation in the military sphere.ï¿½
ï¿½Internal security problems of countering new threats and challenges, first of all terrorism, are no less acute,ï¿½ the deputy minister pointed out.
ï¿½We are working in active cooperation with France in the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the U.N. Security Council and in the G-8 antiterrorism action group,ï¿½ Meshkov said. The official added, ï¿½We also work with the French side with a view to developing the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Comprehensive Convention Against International Terrorism.ï¿½
MOSCOW, January 23rd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The upcoming talks due on January 26th between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Colin Powell will feature a serious discussion of regional problems, above all the situation around Iran and North Korea's nuclear programmes. A source in the Russian foreign ministry said this to RIA Novosti on Friday.
According to the source, Moscow and Washington's positions on these issues are drawing closer.
As for Iran, the dialogue is now more balanced than before. "This was largely due to the decisions of the Iranians themselves, especially the signing of the additional protocol on IAEA guarantees," said the source.
"This will also open the way for further co-operation between Russia and Iran in the civil nuclear development, including the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant," said the source. (Russian experts are building a nuclear plant in Bushehr on the basis of Russian technologies.) As for the situation in North Korea, the six-sided talks (involving Russia, the US, Japan, North and South Koreas) on the problem will be continued.
The date for the second round of talks has not been fixed yet, but it is likely to be held in the next few months, said the source. Hopefully, the second round made it possible to harmonise the approaches to the settlement, the source emphasised.
According to the source, Russia and the US agree on the ultimate goal of the settlement, i.e. nuclear-free status of the Korean peninsula. All the participants in the process have a clear idea of the need to give security guarantees to North Korea and encourage its economic development, the source said.
2. Ivanov, Powell To Discuss Jackson-Vanick Amendment Cancellation
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MOSCOW, January 23, 2004. /RIA Novosti/. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Colin Powell are to discuss the cancellation of Jackson-Vanick amendment during Powell's forthcoming visit to Russia, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"The cancellation of the Jackson-Vanick amendment would ruin the symbol of the past epoch," the source said.
This amendment named after the two senators who initiated it was adopted at the cold war climax by the US administration and imposed restrictions on trade with the Soviet Union as a state, which prevented free migration of the population. Today Russia gives its citizens absolute freedom to travel abroad however, the amendment is still in effect.
3. Russian, US Foreign Policy Chiefs To Discuss Strategic Security And WMD
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MOSCOW, January 23rd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Security and non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction will be high on the agenda of the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Colin Powell due on January 26 in Moscow, a source in the Russian foreign ministry said to RIA Novosti.
According to the source, this is linked to the launched implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions (SOR) Treaty. The treaty was made at the meeting between the two countries' presidents on June 3rd, 2003 in St. Petersburg.
Its implementation has already begun. The sides have exchanged information about their plans in this area. Now a bilateral commission for the treaty's implementation is due to gather for a session, after its competence area and mandate have been co-ordinated.
To quote the source, the upcoming talks will highlight the realisation of the Moscow declaration on new strategic relationships, signed in 2002, and especially its part dealing with missile defence.
We do not agree that the plans to develop a global ABM that is seen as the Bush administration's priority are justified. But we are ready to seek answers to the emerging threats, including missile menaces, together, said the source.
In his words, today the main task is to deal with the complicated situation in the wake of the US's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty by increasing mutual trust and transparency.
MOSCOW, January 23 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian and U.S. positions on Iran have become closer, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told Itar-Tass on Friday. ï¿½The dialog has become quieter because of the Iranian signing of the additional protocol,ï¿½ he said.
ï¿½Transparency of the Teheran program will allow Russia and Iran to develop atomic energy cooperation and build the nuclear power plant in Bushehr,ï¿½ the source said. As for the Korean Peninsula, ï¿½the sides are working on the second round of the six-party negotiations,ï¿½ he noted. ï¿½A final document may be signed for settling the North Korean problem.ï¿½
ï¿½Moscow is concerned about the leakage of dangerous technologies from Pakistan. There is a Pakistani trace in many dangerous programs of foreign nations,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½The proposal of Washington to stop illegal shipments across Pakistan has been discussed in the narrow circle of U.S. allies. Moscow thinks that the Pakistani government must stop shipments of dangerous armaments on its own. Possible use of force must be discussed on the basis of the UN Charter.ï¿½
The aforesaid problems and international cooperation between Moscow and Washington will be in the center of attention at the Moscow negotiations of Colin Powell on Monday, January 26.
5. Powell To Discuss In Russia Terrorism, Strategic Stability
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MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell is to come to Russia to discuss joint action in an effort to fight international terrorism as well as to enhance strategic stability, that is to cut strategic armaments and to develop the anti-air defence system. Reporters learnt about this from Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Duma international affairs committee, at a press-conference Tuesday.
Colin Powell is likely to deal with Russia's attitude toward Iran's IAEA position, said Konstantin Kosachev. Besides, the United States is expected to raise the issue of the so-called Khodorkovsky case (former oil-company YUKOS boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now in custody, is charged by the Prosecutor-General's Office with tax-evasion and fraud) and the situation in Chechnya. According to the MP, the situation has markedly improved in the republic after presidential elections." For its part, Russia intends to review the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Kosachev.
"It is clear now that due to American policies the situation in Iraq is in the impasse and not accepted by an Iraqi majority. Apart from this theme being top on the UN agenda, Russian-American dialogue is certainly a timely and rewarding event, said Kosachev.
This year is certain to bear the imprint of presidential elections to be held in Russia and the United States, said the MP.
"It is the duty of politicians and diplomats to do so that bilateral relations continue to develop in 2004, which ought not to become a year of lost opportunities."
1. Vote-On-Account Likely To Include Rs 16,000 Crore Defence Demand
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The first instalment of the Rs 16,000 crore Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal that India signed with Russia earlier this week, and the British-made Advanced Jet Trainer (the Hawk) is likely to feature in the vote-on-account to be tabled on February 3 in the Lok Sabha.
Top sources in the government told */Business Standard/* that the vote-on-account will be taken for expenditure for four monthsï¿½from February to Mayï¿½and will be for specific allotments made for defence deals.
A detailed defence budget will follow in June/July when the full Budget is presented. The government will seek sanction to spend around Rs 700 crore on the Gorshkov and around Rs 300 crore as the first instalment for the AJT.
A feature of the vote-on-account is likely to be the announcement of a non-lapseable fund for defence capital expenditure, a suggestion made by Jaswant Singh when he was defence minister. This will address the problem of long gestation periods of defence procurements.
Although the cost of retrofitting the Gorshkov is around $800 million, the cost is expected to go up to $1.5 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) after the aircraft carrier is complete.
Costs will go up because negotiations are on with the Russians to also lease an Akula class nuclear-powered submarine (Rs 6,000 crore) by the end of the year, a project neither Russia nor India wants to confirm, and four M-122 bombers that will form a complement of weapons that Russia is pushing as a package deal along with the sale of the Gorshkov.
These items might more than double the cost of the acquisition of the Gorshkov. A crew of naval officers is ready to go to Russia for training in anticipation of the finalisation of the deal.
The first instalment is usually 10 per cent of the amount and the government is catering for around Rs 700 crore on account of the first instalment of the Gorshkov.
Although some analysts including the former Air Force chief, Air Marshal HC Sareen, have argued against the Navy buying an aircraft carrier on the grounds that it is not needed and that it is a used hull, Gorshkov's acquisition by 2008 will buy both time and capability for India.
Indiaï¿½s indigenous nuclear-powered submarine project, the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project is expected to be complete in another 10 years.
The leasing of the nuclear submarine will represent sea-based deterrence till the Navy gets its own nuclear-powered submarine.
Also, India can use the nuclear-powered submarine as a platform for the nuclear-capable version of the Brahmos, the 300 km range missile that is under Indian and Russian joint development.
Its range will ensure it is kept below the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) threshold. And with the aircraft carrier Viraat being decommissioned in 2008, the Gorshkov will be India's mainstay to ensure defence of the seas.
The Gorshkov deal is merely the sweetener for a larger, more complex, semi-covert arrangement to give teeth to India 's nuclear deterrent.
Aware of India 's needs on the nuclear front, the Russians demanded a steep price, which included the purchase of the MiG-29K, an aircraft no other country, including the Russians, has purchased so far. Wrangling over this issue and the price delayed negotiations for the past three years.
Through separate agreements, Russia is expected to lease at least two nuclear submarines and several nuclear capable bombers to India .
As of now, India possesses nuclear weapons, but lacks a reliable delivery capability. The Agni missiles are still under development and in the meantime existing Indian Air Force fighters are
designated for nuclear delivery even though they were not designed for the purpose. The Russians will lease the bombers with the claim that these are subategic aircraft of limited range.
While Russians deny that the submarine lease violates their commitments to the Nuclear Suppliers Group or the Non Proliferation Treaty, most observers take this with a pinch of salt. In the 1980s, Russia had leased a Charlie II class submarine to India . The lease was not renewed when the Soviet Union collapsed.
The Type 971 Akula class submarines that India is seeking is a multi-purpose submarine considered the fastest and quietest of all Russian submarines. With their ability to stay under water almost indefinitely, nuclear submarines are considered the ultimate deterrent. India is constructing its own nuclear submarine.
The Indian sub, as well as the ones leased from Russia , are not capable of launching ballistic missiles like the Agni, but they can launch cruise missiles like the Indo-Russian BrahMos that can have nuclear warheads.
In addition, India will lease TU-22M3 nuclear bombers from Russia , capable of long-range low-level strikes. Due to the high cost of the planes, Russia will first lease out four such bombers to India and subsequently sell them at a residual cost.
The TU22 would be the first dedicated bomber in Indian service, not counting the short-range Canberra . It has a massive 24-tonne payload and is likely to be equipped with supersonic BrahMos missiles as well.
With the Mig-29K, the Navy will get a formidable capacity for protecting its carrier-based groups. But whether or not it gets what is called a true land-attack capability, as claimed by Navy officials, is questionable. One of its major problems will be the lack of an Airborne Early Warning system.
The American Navy that operates carriers several times ï¿½ double or triple ï¿½ the size of the Gorshkov has the twin turbo prop E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft.
India and Russia have delinked the proposal to lease two Akula-class nuclear submarines from the sale of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, for which a mega deal worth Rs 7,000 crore was signed today by defence minister George Fernandes and his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov.
The delinking comes somewhat as a surprise as it had been widely believed that the talks were over a comprehensive package that included the offer to acquire two nuclear subs on medium-term lease of 10 years. However, while announcing the acquisition of the Soviet-era 45,000 tonnage aircraft carrier, to be refurbished and sent to India by ï¿½08 along with its complement of 28 MiG 29-K fighters, Mr Fernandes and Mr Ivanov today denied that negotiations covered the leasing of nuclear submarines. Mr Ivanov though indicated that negotiations for lease of four TU-22 bombers, which also double as long range reconnaissance aircraft, were on.
Reports said the two subs were the Nerpa, a Shchuka B-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, and the Kuguar, still under construction at the Sevmash facility in the far North. In deference to the Missile Technology Control Regime, though, the proposal had envisaged replacing the submarinesï¿½ 3,000-km-range cruise missiles with 300-km-range missiles.
The acquisition of the submarines will change strategic balance in the sub-continent and help India counter Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. It would also cater to Indiaï¿½s search for a ï¿½second strikeï¿½ nuclear capability.
India had first leased a Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine in 1988, when it acquired the Charlie class INS Chakra for three years. India, though, has been working since 1985 to develop an indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, based on Soviet design.
Giving details of the Gorshkov deal at todayï¿½s press conference, Mr Ivanov said it incorporated life-time upgrades, technical assistance as well as setting up of infrastructure for the carrier in India. While asserting that there were as many as 350 commercial proposals to India, Mr Ivanov refused to elaborate, contending ï¿½these are highly sensitive matters and in a highly competitive world market would prejudice commercial aspectsï¿½.
Though the two leaders were tight-lipped, Russian officials indicated that India might be planning to buy a total of 60 MiG-29 K aircraft in phases, for $1.5bn, to operate from Gorshkov and also for its 32,000 tonnage indigenous new air defence carrier being built at Kochi.
Admiral Gorshkov, which is to be completely refurbished by the Russians, is armed with Bazalt and Kinzhal missile systems, four anti-submarine torpedo tube units, two long-range guns and provison for a crew of 1,950 men. The deal also includes the sale of six Kamov-31 anti-submarine helicopters.
4. Russia-India Co-Operation Is Not Limited To Defence (excerpted)
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Before departing for a three-day visit to India beginning January 19, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov granted an interview to Viktor Litovkin, RIA Novosti military analyst
Q: What is your view of the current state and the prospects of Russia-India military-technical co-operation? Will Russia deliver nuclear submarines and Tu-22 fighters to India?
A: The military-technical co-operation of the Soviet Union and India (Russia and India) dates back to 1960. Since them, the overall volume of contracts in the sphere of military-technical co-operation reached $33 billion. If our co-operation only developed in any one area, such as aviation or navy, we would not have reached the current volumes by any means.
The joint creation of the Brahmos missile became a new form of Russian-Indian co-operation. We are fully satisfied with this form of co-operation. As far as I know, it also suits India. We have created a naval missile that has no analogues in the world in many respects. But our co-operation is not limited to this. We are working jointly on the T-72 and T-90 tanks for the land forces and the Su-30MKI plane for the air force. Last year Russia dispatched modern frigates to India. In a word, our co-operation is truly multifaceted and broad.
I foresee that the co-operation of our defence enterprises, from the initial stages of the joint creation of weapons and embracing R&D, creation, production and tests, will gain considerable weight. A great deal of weaponry is produced in India by Soviet and Russian licenses, in co-operation and under proper quality control. This testifies to a high level of partnership and trust between our states and defence departments.
As for the sale of nuclear submarines [to India], I can tell you that Russia has always complied and will always comply with international obligations in its military-technical co-operation with any state. Russia and India continue working on a Tu-22 naval bomber, which does not and will not carry nuclear weapons. We would not have worked on it otherwise.
Q.: What threats to international security do you see in South and Central Asia?
A.: That region is plagued by a host of problems, related to demography, religion and extremism. And worst of all, poverty. Those aspects make the situation in the region hardly predictable. There is a threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction there - if they fall into the hands of irresponsible governments or terrorist groups. Russia and India share common approaches to this problem and to removal of such threats, which, of course, involve the UN's dominating role and the use of diplomatic and economic measures, first of all.
5. Indo-US Strategic Agreement -- A Qualitative Transition
Indo-Asian News Service
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In identical statements issued by President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee on January 13,. "After four decades of cool ties, Washington and New Delhi are now actively and constructively engaged. The task is to consolidate, transform relationship into a genuine partnership. To this end, the task force recommends that the United States and India: "-- work to expand political, security, military and intelligence cooperation; "-- intensify both official and non-official dialogue on economic and trade issues; and "-- negotiate a trade agreement in services."
The task force recommends that the United States:
-- ease restrictions on cooperation with India in the civilian satellite sector;
-- treat India as a friendly country in granting export licences for transfers of defence equipment; and
-- encourage US foundations, business, scientific and educational institutions, to expand efforts, develop cooperative programmes with their Indian counter-parts.
The suggestions from the task force for India are:
-- implement domestic economic reforms with greater vigour to promote rapid growth;
-- open its economy further to global market by reducing administrative restrictions and other barriers to foreign trade and investment; and
-- modify policies and reduce administrative restrictions that impede cooperative academic and foundation activities."
The agreement between Vajpayee and Bush will result in US assistance in nuclear safety for India's nuclear facilities. It will lead to cooperation between the two Nuclear Regulatory Agencies, the joint production of civilian satellites.
The agreement will also result in easing the unilateral licensing requirements for transfer of high technology and dual-use technology items for India.
The negotiations on missile defence for India indicates an inclination on the part of the US to provide some kind of missile defence umbrella to India in tandem with the Indian missile defence programme.
The political and strategic implications of the Vajpayee-Bush statements are worth noting. The US decision to engage India in the spheres of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and space and to cooperate in missile defence indicates that the US and India have to put their disagreements and apprehensions about India's nuclear and missile weaponisation behind them, and that there is sufficient climate of trust between the two countries to move forward for cooperation in these sensitive fields.
Bush's statement that India is a partner and that this partnership will increase trends of stability in Asia and beyond is an acknowledgement of India assuming a significant position in the US' strategic and security plans in Asia.
This assessment finds confirmation in the national security paper issued by the National Security Council of the US in September 2002, where there are specific references to India's potential as a partner of the US.
Having referred to these positive implications of the Bush-Vajpayee statement and the follow up action, which the Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha will take in Washington, it is necessary to assess the implications of these developing Indo-US equations.
India would have to be sensitive and alert about reactions from Russia, China and Pakistan, to this development. The equations with the United States should not negatively affect India's relations with China and Russia.
One has to examine whether the nuclear, space, and missile cooperation will result in the US desiring a quid pro quo in capping or restricting India's freedom of options to sustain its nuclear and missile defence capacities.
Will these agreements increase US pressures on India to compromise with Pakistan on Kashmir beyond the threshold, which India can reasonably go?
India will have to tailor its export control regimes conforming to US standards, which is not difficult.
The question is how fast India can do this without eroding its political autonomy, in dealing with the issue.
US policies on non-export of civilian nuclear plants to India or non-cooperation with India on joint space launches are not going to change.
Will there be indirect pressure on India to fashion its policies towards Iran in conformity with US apprehensions and attitudes towards that country?
India will have to carefully calibrate its policies on these issues while moving ahead to translate the policy decisions of the January 13 statement into operational realities. There are also indications that this process will be gradual.
Mark Grossman, the US under secretary of state, said in a press briefing on the Bush-Vajpayee statement in Washington that while the joint statement indicated a significant stage in Indo-US relations, the implementation of the proposals would take time.
One suspects that the same reaction would be there from the Indian establishment also, given the issues to be sorted out as detailed above.
India's approach should be to assiduously build relations with the US on the basis of this strategic agreement without losing the freedom of options to take decisions.
1. Is Pyongyang Pushing Washington Towards The Negotiating Table?
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On January 20, the US Congress Committee on International Affairs heard a group of experts who, earlier this month, had visited Pyongyang, where their hospitable hosts demonstrated the achievements of the North Korean nuclear programme to them. The delegation included prominent specialists, such as former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Heckler and Stanford University expert John Lewis.
The North Koreans have long been trying to show the Americans that since October 2002, when an international scandal erupted over North Korea, they have acquired "a nuclear deterrence potential", i.e. that they have processed 8,000 spent fuel rods from the Yonben research reactor into weapons-grade plutonium. The Americans have refused to believe in the North Korean nuclear bomb and it is these doubts that Pyongyang is trying to dispel.
It should be recalled that the Korean crisis began in October 2002, when US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly paid a visit to Pyongyang following a two-year period of stagnation in US-North Korean relations. After a long silence, he declared that the North Koreans had admitted conducting nuclear research in violation of the 1994 agreement on North Korea halting its nuclear research in exchange for energy. Accordingly, Washington refused to implement the agreement further.
At this point, something extraordinary happened: Pyongyang did not openly deny that they had made any sort of confession and decided to take advantage of the scandal, "selling" the programme mentioned by Kelly to the Americans. For this, they really started implementing it in January 2003, or at least announced that they had. The other participants in Korean settlement - Russia, South Korea, Japan and China - chose not to accuse the Bush administration of spreading lies and provocations. Everyone needed an end to the crisis, not a scandal with the USA, even though international experts unanimously stated that North Korea did not have a nuclear bomb. Apart from that, no one was happy about the fact that, although North Korea did not possess the bomb before October 2002, the danger remained that it may very well appear if the two obstinate countries - the USA and North Korea - refused to sign an agreement as soon as possible.
There have been two underlying causes of the conflict all this time: the real one and the one reported to the public, i.e. that the Korean conflict is escalating along the lines of the Iraqi scenario; in other words, North Korea has a nuclear bomb and the crux of the matter is to disarm it. The Heckler-Lewis mission may put an end to this situation.
Strictly speaking, this is what bellicose North Korean diplomacy was after when the country invited the Americans to pay their visit: to force George Bush, at least at the end of his first term in office, to open talks with Pyongyang.
The question is what will happen now. The point is that the second round of talks between the six participants in Korean settlement, which was not held in December in Beijing, could, according to sources close to their organisers, be held even tomorrow. The subject of the talks, on which the sides could come to terms, has long been clear. It is the Losyukov plan, proposed by Russia's deputy foreign minister in January 2003. Its wording has been changed slightly. It provides for an end to North Korean military nuclear programmes in exchange for US and international economic assistance to North Korea. No one has proposed any fundamentally different schemes. Although there are differences between the sides - for example, the USA is demanding that North Korea's nuclear research be stopped first and only after that the talks be continued - none of the other parties in the talks takes this seriously. North Korea and the remaining four countries standing behind it propose a "one move for another" scheme, i.e. a procedure of actions for both the conflicting sides, guaranteed by all the rest. The sources claim that everyone understands that these differences, which once seemed to be insurmountable, can be solved without many problems.
None of the six countries is trying to prevent the others from reaching a compromise. Admittedly, Japan is trying to put on the agenda of the future talks an absolutely different problem: the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North Korean secret services. However, it is clear to everyone that this is not serious, either, and hence, it does not worry anyone. Even the man who irritates Pyongyang so much, James Kelly, who represented the USA at the last round of talks in Beijing, will not be taking any further part in them. In short, the scene is set for success.
The sources believe that the only problem is that various factions of the Bush administration have been unable to agree among themselves, while his term in office has practically run out. In the wake of Iraq, it has long been clear that the Korean situation will not be solved by military means. The question is how to reach the only possible solution, that is, return to the situation that existed in 1994 and admit that the whole scandal was a political fiasco for Bush.
If this decision is taken now, before the November presidential elections in the USA, the sides could sign an agreement very quickly, even serving it to voters in whatever convenient dressing (the other parties in the talks will not create problems for Bush because all of them are interested in his re-election).
China, which has assumed the difficult mission of hosting the Beijing talks and is the main driving force behind them, could play an important role in achieving this success. Recently, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the USA again, and not in vain. Wang Yi had already demonstrated his talents by stating at the end of the first round of the Beijing talks that the sides intended to meet again. The US and North Korean representatives, who had fallen out with each other and had not promised each other to meet again, made no objection.
Should Beijing succeed in making the sides sign agreement that Bush could claim as a victory, relations between the two leading powers of the present-day world, close as they already are, will become even closer.
If the US administration decides to delay the settlement of the problem again, the North Koreans will keep pushing it, just as they have done with the current "inspection".
1. Russia, Brazil To Promote Scientific & Technological Cooperation
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, January 22 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian-Brazilian commission for trade and economic cooperation will hold a meeting on Friday to discuss scientific and technological cooperation between Russia and Brazil.
Russian Vice-Premier Boris Alyoshin is the commissionï¿½s Russian co-chairman.
Alyoshinï¿½s press secretary Alina Radchenko told Itar-Tass on Thursday that the meeting would discuss the use of space for peaceful purposes. The sides will also consider the possibility for expanding interaction in energy and nuclear energy as well as in the sphere of military technologies, the press secretary added.
Financial, inter-bank and agricultural cooperation will be other vital topics for discussion.
A Finnish monitoring organization tasked with ensuring that the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant is safe has been turning a blind eye on corrupt and unsafe practices, international environmental organization Bellona says.
Bellona member Sergei Kharitonov presented the results of a Bellona study of plant safety at a news conference on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Regional Press Institute, he said leaks of spent fuel are common and equipment crucial to the safety of the reactor is being stolen. Moreover, some staff are drunk on the job.
"Alcoholism thrives [at the plant]," he said. "Staff do not undergo drug tests. There is a case detailed in my report of a person who had recently been treated for alcoholism being allowed to work with nuclear fuel," Kharitonov said.
For seven years, Kharitonov was in charge of storage of spent fuel at the plant. He was fired in November 1997, just three days after he published an article in a Sosnovy Bor newspaper that criticized the plant's safety procedures and called for the suspension of its operating license.
The Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, or LAES according to its Russian acronym, is located in the town of Sosnovy Bor, 80 kilometers west of St. Petersburg.
"[Jukka] Laaksonen, general director of STUK, wrote that the state of the plant is no cause for concern, although its own specialists had been coming over to Sosnovy Bor since 1997 to fix leaking cracks," Kharitonov said.
"The role of the Finnish organization is very negative," he said. "The plant's managers and STUK share common interests."
He did not reveal what these interests are.
STUK has invested up to 7 million euros in work and safety equipment for the station since it started cooperating closely with the plant in 1992, STUK's Laaksonen said Thursday in a telephone interview.
It has never given cash to the station management, he said, but had spent about 500,000 euros annually to buy and install various types of safety equipment at the station.
"I don't understand why he [Kharitonov] is criticizing us," Laaksonen said. "We have never been involved in any matters relating to LAES' operating license and we have never taken a position on the safety of the plant itself.
"Our interest is to influence the improvement of safety, to cooperate with the plant on certain technical topics the plant's managers think we can support them with and that's all," he said. "And we are very satisfied that safety in general is improving, mostly thanks to measures taken by the plant itself - I don't know why he's blaming us.
"We have always refused to take any position on whether to operate the plant or not to operate the plant and for how long. It is completely the matter of the Russian safety authorities," Laaksonen added.
One of the recent incidents Kharitonov mentioned in his report occurred in August 2002, when employees installed 241 old circulators to regulate the water supply to Reactor No. 3. The reactor had just been repaired and was about to be reactivated. To conceal the age of the circulators, employees cleaned up the radiation in the circulators in a chemical section of the plant, a process which made them unusable. On Aug. 5, when the reactor was switched on, the circulators started failing one after the other.
"Conditions were created that could have led to a nuclear disaster because water supply is an important measure of control [in the system]," Kharitonov said in his report.
"This incident could be treated as an act of terrorism because it was done intentionally. ... [It showed] it is not necessary to use terrorist methods to commit sabotage. It is enough to install old defective equipment in important areas of the plant," he said.
Quoting reports in the local media, Kharitonov drew attention to frequent thefts of non-ferrous metals, including sections of governmental communication systems and different sorts of pipes, sometimes with a total weight of several tons.
The Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry called Kharitonov a liar.
"I don't know what has been stolen from there," Nikolai Shingarev, spokesman for the Nuclear Power Ministry, said Thursday in a telephone interview. "People steal from any plant, but I can assure you, people steal much less from a nuclear power station than from any other site. Maybe they stole something there from storage, but it wouldn't be in such a way that it affected security.
"From our point of view there are no violations [of security] at LAES," Shingarev said. "The majority of information [in the report] is unfounded. It is difficult, of course, to judge. This is specialists' business," he said.
"I don't agree with allegations that there has been a cover up," he added. "This is an outright lie because we are open. The Leningrad Nuclear Plant has a web site [www.laes.ru] where anyone can check the radiation level there, what accidents have happened there, learn about the plant, how it works and its effect on the environment," he said.
LAES managers have accused Bellona of hindering a government program to develop nuclear energy systems based on extending the operating life of the plant. The environmentalists act in favor of Western companies developing the same policy, the power plant's management said.
"All that Kharitonov writes, in Bellona's report especially, should be viewed through the spectrum of different parties," LAES spokesman Sergei Averyanov said Thursday in a telephone interview.
"Kharitonov is deluding neighboring states, in particular Finland and its parliament, in relation to our policy. Bellona is deliberately creating opposition to plans to extend the operation of block No. 1," Averyanov said.
The Parliament of Finland plans to discuss the issues mentioned in Kharitonov's report on Tuesday.
Kharitonov sued LAES for illegally firing him and won in December 1997.
A 27-year veteran of the plant, and one of those who helped contain the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Kharitonov argued that he should not have been fired without at least two months' warning. The court agreed, citing the Labor Code, which stipulates that because of their exposure to dangerous levels of radiation, those who volunteered for the Chernobyl cleanup should be the last in line to be sacked.
After the court hearing, Kharitonov was reinstated, but restricted to the plant's locker room for almost two years.
Kharitonov has been documenting environmental hazards at LAES for years. In 1995, Kharitonov and members of another environmental organization, Green World Council, protested the plant's attempt to cram twice as much waste into its radioactive storage building as it was designed to hold. And in 1996, Kharitonov distributed photographs of the facility's cracked concrete walls that showed ground water seeping through the floor of the storage area. Environmentalists say the amount of radioactive material held in the storage facility is about 50 times that released in the Chernobyl disaster.
LAES has four RBMK-1,000 Chernobyl-type reactors, including one that has been in service for more then 30 years, the operating life of which may be extended.
QUESTION: Do you have anything -- can you say -- or you may be the wrong person to ask about this. The Secretary's trip this weekend, has there been any more refinement on his schedule in terms of who he might be meeting with in Tbilisi, other than the new President? And just -- do you have anything you can say just generally about anything more than what was announced in the statement?
MR. ERELI: The Secretary, as you all know, is traveling to Georgia for the inauguration of President-elect Mikhail Saakashvili, which takes place on this Sunday, the 26th, I believe. He is -- or is it Saturday the 25th?
MR. ERELI: Saturday the 25th. Let's get it right. He is departing -- we are departing on the Friday for the inauguration on the --
QUESTION: The 23rd. Today is the 22nd, Friday is the 23rd, Saturday is the 24th, Sunday is the 25th. The inauguration is on Sunday.
MR. ERELI: Thank you. He is traveling to -- the inauguration is on Sunday. He will attend that inauguration. He will meet with Saakashvili and other Georgian officials, as well as members of the Georgian public. He will also meet with other foreign leaders attending the inauguration. However, I don't have any meetings to confirm for you at this time.
I think that generally what I would say is that we are optimistic about the future of Georgia, as witnessed by the recent elections. The Secretary will want to discuss ways in which we can be helpful to Georgia's continued democratic and economic development.
Following his visit to Georgia, the Secretary will travel to Russia, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Ivanov, President Putin, and possibly Defense Minister Ivanov, and other civic groups.
He will discuss a wide variety of issues, among them global challenges such as nonproliferation, regional issues such as the need to cooperate in the former Soviet republics, as well as a number of bilateral issues, including economic and trade, and Russia's progress towards WTO accession.
QUESTION: Do you know in terms of the proliferation area if he's going to be carrying on Under Secretary Bolton's campaign to bring the Russians on board with PSI? And related, just the -- the cooperation in the former Soviet republics, that would include Georgia, yes?
MR. ERELI: Yes, that certainly would.
QUESTION: Yes. And then just one -- the other thing on that, is the Iraq and the arms -- pre-war arms sales still an issue -- is that something that's likely to come up, or is that not?
MR. ERELI: You know, I wouldn't want to speculate about that last issue. It may. It may not. It's sort of hard to tell. I don't think it's really at the top of the agenda.
On the question of proliferation, there are a number of proliferation issues to be discussed: obviously, Iran, what's going on in Libya, North Korea. The proliferation security issue is an agenda item, but I'm not really in a position to go into what, sort of, the details of what those discussions would include.
Does that answer your question?
MR. ERELI: Okay.
QUESTION: The Russians still have troops in Georgia, right?
MR. ERELI: Yes.
QUESTION: Is this a matter of concern?
MR. ERELI: We are looking for Russia to fulfill its Istanbul commitments in that regard.
One more, Matt? Same subject?
QUESTION: I have one, but it's not on Georgia -- I mean, not on Russia.
MR. ERELI: In the back.
QUESTION: Is the Secretary concerned at all with some people are calling an emerging democratic authoritarianism in Russia -- Putin's control over the media, lack of real political opposition, any of those?
MR. ERELI: I think both the United States and Russia have a common interest in the development of democracy, democratic development in Russia, the development of institutions and processes and the rule of law. This is something that we discuss regularly and I wouldn't characterize it the way you did.
2. Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Safonov Interview with RIA Novosti on the Question of the Fight Against International Terrorism (excerpted)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Daily News Bulletin
(for personal use only)
QUESTION: What were the 2003 priorities of Russia in the fight against terrorism?
ANSWER: In 2003 for Russia counteraction against international terrorism remained among the priority lines of foreign policy activity closely linked with the efforts to build an effective new system of international security and with the tackling of tasks in ensuring the domestic security of the country.
The Iraq crisis was the most serious test for strength of the readiness of the international community to really grapple with the global threat of terrorism. Thanks to the consistent and flexible position of Russia the most important task was solved, that of preventing a split of the international antiterrorist coalition and of keeping the prerequisites for its return to the original, fundamental principles of adherence to collective efforts, incontestable legitimacy, the strengthening of the central role of the United Nations in the elaboration and coordination of antiterrorist actions, and abandonment of "double standards" and artificial linkages of antiterror to the tackling of ad hoc political tasks, more specifically, in the forcible "reformation" of independent states.
The developments in the situation in Iraq have expressly demonstrated that an erroneous, force-based revision of these principles brings about a deepening of the global terrorist threat, stimulates the processes of the internal transformation of terrorism and the mobilization of its additional human and technological resources, and most important, leads to an erosion of the common strategic guidelines of the international community in the face of new threats.
Russia's foreign policy line in 2003 was aimed at minimizing the adverse costs of the failures that had occurred and of the slowdown in building up the international antiterrorist collaborative effort.
Along with the obvious reorientation of the activities of Al-Qaida towards new territories, primarily those of Southeast Asia, Northeast Africa and Latin America, tension has been continuing unabated in three regional conflict centers - the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq - each of which carries with it the danger of a further escalation of terrorism and extremism, and the growth of Islamic radicalism. The technological methods which terrorism adopts are likewise becoming ever more sophisticated. Of particular danger are the attempts that continued in the past year by terrorism to move towards the "threshold line" that separates it from possession of WMD. Comparable is the threat of terrorists gaining access to other dangerous materials - radiological, toxic and bacteriological - and to certain kinds of conventional arms (MANPADS).
3. Consultations Held Between Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Fedotov and PRC Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Guofang
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Daily News Bulletin
(for personal use only)
Consultations were held at the Russian Foreign Ministry on January 16 between Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Fedotov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC Shen Guofang. There took place a thorough discussion of questions pertaining to further partner cooperation of the two countries in the United Nations and its Security Council, including with due consideration for the positive outcome of the substantive part of the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The reciprocal disposition of Russia and China was reaffirmed to continue all possible assistance to the strengthening of the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. There was stressed the important role of the Security Council and the UN as a whole in the fields of reinforcing the nonproliferation regime for WMD and its delivery vehicles and preventing them from getting into terrorist hands. It was pointed out that work in this area should be built on a solid international legal and collective basis.
From a common perspective, the questions were examined of advancing the political settlement and reconstruction processes in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the ensuring and consolidating the leading coordination role of the United Nations in these sectors.
Yuri Fedotov and Shen Guofang agreed on continuing the coordination of efforts by Russia and China in the UN Commission on Human Rights, in particular at its upcoming 60th session.
The consultations have thus confirmed the existence of broad opportunities for the continuation of close and productive cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China within the United Nations, and generally on the international scene, on the basis of the strategic partnership of the two countries.
4. Opening Statement By Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-In) Shchuchye Roundtable January 22, 2004 Capitol S-116
Richard G. Lugar, Senator
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
(for personal use only)
Welcome to the United State Capitol and the Committee on Foreign Relations. Thank you for attending this discussion on the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility at Shchuchye, Russia.
Our nations are working closely together to eliminate more than 2 million artillery rounds and warheads filled with sarin, soman and VX currently in storage at Shchuchye, in the Kurgan Oblast of Russia. Several years ago, our governments joined together to construct a Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility to eliminate these weapons in accordance with Russia's responsibilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention. To date, Canada, the Czech Republic, European Union, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have joined the United States and the Russian Federation in making financial contributions to this important project. The International community has pledged at least $64 million to fund and build the infrastructure needed to support and operate the facility.
* Canada: In May 2003, Canada, under the Global Partnership, announced its commitment of up to $240 million for Russian chemical weapons destruction including Shchuch'ye. Most recently, Canada's announced its commitment of C$33 million for an 18 kilometer railway to transport chemical munitions from storage bunkers to the dismantlement facility in a safe and secure manner.
* Czech Republic: committed $69,000 for Shchuch'ye infrastructure.
* European Union: committed $2.3 million for Shchuch'ye infrastructure.
* Italy: From 2001 to 2003, Italy provided $7.15 million for Shchuch'ye infrastructure. In 2003, Italy committed an additional $5.75 to the project.
* Norway: committed $2.3 million for Shchuch'ye infrastructure.
* Switzerland: committed $17 million in assistance to Russian chemical weapons destruction program over six years, beginning in late 2003. Switzerland has indicated they will contribute portion of to Shchuch'ye.
* United Kingdom: Since 2001, the United Kingdom has committed $18 million for Shchuch'ye over three years. In May 2003, the UK, under the Global Partnership, announced its intention to provide up to $100 million over ten years for Russian CWD including Shchuch'ye.
In addition, countries including France have indicated interest in providing assistance to Shchuch'ye. In March 2002, the Nuclear Threat Initiative announced a $1 million commitment to Shchuch'ye to match $2 million in funds from an international donor.
As part of the Global Partnership Initiative, Russia has pledged to spend $2 billion on chemical weapons elimination and nuclear submarine dismantlement. In addition, Russia has continued to annually increase its budget allocations for destruction activities at Shchuchye.
I have asked Jim Reid, Director of Policy for the Nunn-Lugar Program at the Department of Defense, to begin our discussion today with an update on the current status of construction of the elimination facility. I have also asked Jim to spend a few minutes discussing the recent Inspector General's report that raised several issues related to the Shchuchye project. I was pleased to learn that the Nunn-Lugar program and our Russian partners have been working for some months to resolve the issues raised by the Inspector General.
I was greatly encouraged by the signing of bilateral agreements committing Russia to the destruction of their stockpile of weaponized nerve agent at Shchuchye and the conclusion of a practical plan on how this nerve agent will be transported, stored and eliminated. These agreements mark important steps to ensuring the full utilization of the facility in accomplishing the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia. Further, I am pleased that the Nunn-Lugar program has contracted with Global Green, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's organization, to educate the local population on the safety and security measures included in the project and to dispel the myths of chemical weapons elimination.
I have visited Shchuchye on two occasions and am convinced that the weapons stored there must be dismantled quickly and safely. Construction is well underway. I look forward to the day when the last of these horrific weapons are eliminated and a dire threat to the nations represented here today is removed.
It is clear that our efforts to protect the United States from weapons of mass destruction entail risks, but the greater risk is to do nothing to address this clear and present danger associated with the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons arsenals of the former Soviet Union. Your government's outlook on progress made to date and prospects for the future are of great interest to me and I look forward to a good exchange of views.
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