2. 1,600 Russian troops to participate in first Russian-Indian exercise
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MOSCOW - About 1,600 Russian troops will participate in the Indra-2005 first Russian-Indian anti-terrorist exercise in India, the Russian airborne troops commander said. "The purpose of the exercise is to get ready for interaction if we have to rebuff a terrorist attack on one of the states," Colonel-General Alexander Kolmakov said, adding that the sides would practice release of hostages.
Russian Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov said three Russian Il-76 planes and six Indian An-32 planes would be also involved in the exercise. The Russian planes are set to fly to India October 9.
The Russian Pacific Fleet said Friday that five warships, including a missile cruiser and two amphibious assault ships, would participate in the exercise from October 17 to 19.
A paratrooper company and warships will represent India.
1. U.K. defense official to visit Russian military, scientific facilities
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MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - A high-ranking U.K. defense official will visit a number of facilities implementing joint projects in Russia, the British embassy said Monday.
Adam Ingram, the British Minister of State for the Armed Forces, will visit during his October 11-14 tour of a center in Yekaterinburg in the Urals where the U.K. Ministry of Defense participates in retraining commissioned officers.
The embassy said the visit would boost relations in the sphere of security and defense, including the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
The minister will also visit Snezhinsk, a closed nuclear town where the U.K. contributes to nuclear scientists' civil employment, and Shchuchye, where the U.K., Russia, the United States and Canada destroy Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons.
1. Russia interested in cooperation with European Defense Agency - Ivanov
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PARIS - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday the country was interested in signing a cooperation agreement with the European Defense Agency.
The agency was formed in July 2004 to sustain European defense and security policy, improve defense capabilities, promote armaments cooperation, and strengthen the technological and industrial base of the defense sector.
"The European Defense Agency recently signed an agreement with Canada, a non-EU member," Ivanov said. "Russia is also interested in cooperation with the agency."
He also said that representatives from the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries had gone to Palestine to help local authorities.
2. Kazakhstan to Turn Uranium Into Low-Threat Reactor Fuel
New York Times
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UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan, Oct. 8 - More than a decade after pledging to give up its nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan announced Saturday that it was moving closer to a second goal: ridding itself of highly enriched nuclear reactor fuel, which terrorists could use to construct a crude nuclear bomb.
The announcement, made here in this distant industrial outpost on the Kazak steppe, came as Kazakhstan's national atomic company, Kazatomprom, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an American nonprofit organization, neared the completion of blending down roughly 6,600 pounds of highly enriched uranium to a different form that is suitable for civilian use but is not weapons-grade.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev hailed the news at a gathering of non-proliferation officials here, adding in an interview that his nation would blend down its remaining nuclear reactor fuel, and perhaps try to blend down fuel from other nations as well.
"Now we are capable of converting the highly enriched uranium, or any remains of that uranium, into low-enriched uranium," Mr. Nazarbayev said. "Maybe one day our factory here in Kazakhstan can be a place where highly enriched uranium from other countries can be processed into a low-enriched form."
The announcement underscored the quiet sense of urgency among non-proliferation officials since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. It also demonstrated a continued area of collaboration between the West and a centralized post-Soviet government in a region where relations have been strained by the slow pace of political and economic reforms.
Kazakhstan, the only Central Asian nation left with nuclear weapons after the break up of the Soviet Union, inherited 1,410 atomic warheads in 1991, giving it the fourth-largest nuclear inventory in the world.
Mr. Nazarbayev, the former Communist official who has led the nation throughout its independence, committed to destroy or return to Russia all of its arsenal, and the country swiftly rid itself of nuclear weapons - a decision that Western officials said influenced similar choices by Ukraine and Belarus. "I know what a powerful influence that was," said former Senator Sam Nunn, of Georgia, who worked extensively on non-proliferation issues in the Senate and is a co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
But in addition to its vast nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan also inherited five aging nuclear reactors, all of which used highly enriched uranium, posing a threat of a different sort.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world's central nuclear regulatory body, as little as 60 pounds of highly enriched uranium is sufficient to make a nuclear weapon.
Given the potential dangers, the United States, along with other nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been helping to underwrite the more secure storage and blend-down of highly enriched reactor fuel.
The work has been quietly conducted in several nations, including Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia, and has gone forward as well in nations that have had strained relations with the United States. For example, the United States National Nuclear Security Administration, the semi-autonomous agency in the Department of Energy that works on non-proliferation projects, removed highly enriched fuel from reactors in Libya and Uzbekistan in 2004.
The project here is a cooperative undertaking of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an organization financed principally by Ted Turner that complements the government's work, and Kazatomprom. It began in spring 2001, when the Nuclear Threat Initiative approached Kazakhstan and offered to help move the fuel from a reactor near the border with Iran and to the site here, and down-blend it the low enriched uranium, Mr. Nunn said.
Another official with the group, Laura Holgate, said it proposed the project because the fresh fuel from Aktau was "falling through the cracks" of programs run by the United States government.Kazatamprom and the Nuclear Threat Initiative ultimately split the $2 million cost, which included upgrading the facility where fuel is down-blended. Once the fuel blending is completed, it will be sold for use in civilian electricity production.
3. Kremlin supports decision to award Nobel Peace Prize to IAEA and its head
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ST. PETERSBURG - The Kremlin said Friday that it supports the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
"This is absolutely the right decision. Russia has always worked with Mohamed ElBaradei, and we always supported his reports, conclusions and approaches and will continue to do so... this person stands outside politics and deals with practical issues, the resolution of which is in the interests of all countries," said Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko said.
Holding talks with ElBaradei can be difficult for some, but he is always a reliable partner, Prikhodko said.
"This is an irreproachable decision. I am sure that many of those who have worked with him in Russia will join us in congratulating him."
The prize will be shared equally between the IAEA, based in Vienna, and its Egyptian director general.
The prize was awarded "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
1. Adamov case won't affect U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation - official
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SEVERSK - The arrest of former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov and the charges brought against him won't affect American-Russian cooperation programs that seek to enhance security in the area of nuclear materials and technologies, senior official from the U.S. Department of Energy, David Huizenga, told reporters in Seversk, Siberia.
The official said that the program the U.S. side is carrying out with Russia, namely with the Siberian Chemical Combine, are vital for both Russia and the United States, and that both countries will benefit from the partnership.
2. Official confirms meeting with U.S. delegation on Adamov case
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MOSCOW - A Russian Foreign Ministry official confirmed Friday on Russian radio that U.S. prosecutors had visited the ministry to discuss the extradition of Russia's former nuclear power minister, in custody in Switzerland since his arrest there in May at the request of U.S. authorities. Ministry spokesman Mikhail Troyansky said Russian officials "laid out to the American delegation led by Mary Beth Buchanan, the Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Russia's position based on international law that Adamov should be extradited to Russia as soon as possible."
U.S. authorities are accusing Yevgeny Adamov, 63, of embezzling $9 million in Energy Department allocations for programs to raise the safety of Russian nuclear facilities during his 1998-2001 ministerial term. If convicted in the U.S., he faces up to 60 years in prison and a $1.75 million fine.
Adamov is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud and abuse of office.
Troyansky's interview was meant to refute media reports that questioned the likelihood of the U.S. attorney's visit to Moscow and her meeting with Foreign Ministry officials.
1. Russia urges international community to heed Iran's nuclear energy interests
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PARIS, October 11 - Russia's foreign minister urged the international community Tuesday to consider Iran's legal right to peaceful nuclear programs.
"We agreed today that there is unity on the ultimate goal - nuclear nonproliferation," Sergei Lavrov said in Paris following a session of the Russian-French security council, attended by the Russian and French foreign and defense ministers.
"We should take into consideration and respond to Iran's legal interests in peaceful nuclear energy within the sphere of economic development," Lavrov said, adding that Iran should be treated as a full member of the international community in regional and global developments.
Lavrov said that although the two sides' positions were not identical, they were not completely opposite either, sharing the same direction.
The Russian minister said the sides should be guided by real facts, not suspicions. As long as no contrary facts have been discovered, the sides should "calmly and patiently support the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is conducting serious work, including inspections" in Iran.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy reaffirmed France's opposition to referring Iran to the UN Security Council and called for consideration of Russia's proposals.
The minister said the IAEA should improve communication with its partners so that everyone had the same information. He also said Russia's proposals were worth considering since it had extensive experience working with Iran.
2. Iran will sign contracts with Russia on construction of more nuclear plants: envoy
Mehr News Agency
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TEHRAN -- Iran plans to sign contracts with Russia on the construction of additional nuclear power plants after the Bushehr power plant project is completed, Iranian ambassador to Moscow Gholamreza Ansari told the RIA Novosti news agency on Monday. "After the completion of the Bushehr plant, we will start work on other plants with Russia. We assure Moscow that our nuclear activities are peaceful and expect Russia to inform other countries of this policy," he explained.
Ansari went on to say that the Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation has been brief but promising and, of course, this cooperation can be expanded.
Bilateral talks have always been based on mutual understanding of the countriesï¿½ needs and priorities, and Iran and Russia hold the same views on major regional and international issues, Ansari pointed out, adding that Iranian and Russian officials are determined to develop and deepen their ties.
Fortunately, with the support of Russia and the other Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states, Iran was given observer status in the organization, he said.
MOSCOW -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday dismissed speculation that Moscow might join talks between Iran and European negotiators on Tehranï¿½s disputed nuclear program.
"As for relations between the European trio and Russia, we are not expecting any change in these relations. There is no need for that," Sergei Lavrov told reporters. "From the very beginning of the trioï¿½s work in its talks with Iran, Russia has closely interacted in this process and this cooperation is continuing now."
"We are ready to make our contribution to this process, working in parallel, to achieve a result that is in everyoneï¿½s interest," Lavrov said.
His comments followed a meeting earlier in the day with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei. Their talks apparently addressed ways of resuming the talks between Britain, Germany and France, negotiating on behalf of the European Union, and Iran, which collapsed in August after Iran resumed uranium reprocessing work.
Lavrov had strongly praised ElBaradei, Russian news agencies reported.
"You have recommended yourself as a thoughtful worker who is guided by the IAEA charter documents, in that way guaranteeing maximum efforts so that the agencyï¿½s activities would not be politicized," Lavrov said, RIA-Novosti reported.
ElBaradei said he wanted to discuss creation of a system to ensure the peaceful uses of atomic energy and lower the risks of its improper use, RIA-Novosti reported.
ElBaradei said Wednesday that he was optimistic the talks between Iran and the EU negotiators would resume within a month, but voiced his belief that a third party was needed to provide a "face-saving" way out of the impasse. That comment, and the fact he made it in Moscow, had increased speculation that Russia might be used as an intermediary.
Washington says Iranï¿½s nuclear program is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its program is intended to produce electrical power.
1. Russian presidential envoy meets with N. Korea PM in Pyongyang
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VLADIVOSTOK - Russian presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District Konstantin Pulikovsky met in Pyongyang with North Korean Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju at the National Palace of Congresses, the envoy's press secretary said Tuesday.
According to Yevgeny Anoshin, Ju said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had directed his government to provide support for the initiatives of Pulikovsky, the Russian government and Russian businesses involved in various projects in the country.
"Our political relations are on the highest level," Pulikovsky said. "Now we have to consolidate economic, technical and cultural ties."
The Pulikovsky-led delegation will return from Pyongyang Wednesday.
2. UPDATE: Russian envoy meets with North Korean leader
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VLADIVOSTOK - Russian presidential envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District Konstantin Pulikovsky discussed Monday the situation on the Korean Peninsula and bilateral economic cooperation with North Korea's Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, an official said.
"We are satisfied with the results of the fourth round of six-party talks...and consider it a step toward making the Korean Peninsula a nuclear-free zone," spokesman Yevgeny Anoshin quoted Pulikovsky as saying.
"Russia has always insisted on granting North Korea the right to develop peaceful nuclear programs," Pulikovsky said. "And we are ready to cooperate with all participants of the talks to ensure future implementation of such programs in North Korea."
Kim Jong Il said Russia had been involved in various business projects in North Korea, including the construction of a glass-manufacturing plant and rebuilding of an oil refinery and a metallurgy plant.
Pulikovsky is visiting North Korea to attend celebrations dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the ruling Korean Workers' Party.
1. Belarus could not use strategic nuclear weapons in 1990s - expert
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MINSK - In the 1990s, Belarus was incapable of using its strategic nuclear arsenal inherited from the former Soviet Union, a Belarussian military expert told Interfax on condition of anonymity.
"The top military-political leadership was split in the 1990s over whether or not strategic nuclear weapons should be removed from Belarus. The final decision was to remove them to Russia," the expert said.
But if strategic nuclear weapons had remained in Belarus, the Russian military-political leadership would have had the sole right to issue the order to use them, he said.
Moscow alone exercised control over all Belarsusian forces equipped with nuclear weapons. The use of nuclear weapons was not only under administrative limitations, but also under technical restriction with a high level of protection and reliability," the expert said.
Former Belarussian Defense Minister Pyotr Chaus said the Belarussian leadership's decision to remove strategic nuclear weapons to Russia had been made in haste.
"I and other military officials wanted to keep the Topol land-based strategic missile systems in Belarus. The Topol's were modern mobile complexes with a long service life. Ideal conditions had been created in Belarus for storing them," Chaus told Interfax.
MOSCOW - A Volna ballistic missile, launched in the Barents Sea from the Borisoglebsk strategic submarine (Russia's Northern Fleet), hit a target in the Kura training area on Kamchatka (Russia's Far East), the Russian Defense ministry said Saturday.
The Volna two-stage ballistic missile is the oldest in the Navy's arsenal. The R-29R missile system (SS-N-18 Stingray in NATO classification) was developed by the Makeev State Rocket Design Bureau in the mid-1970s.
In the early 1980s, the RSM-50 missile, built on its platform, was adopted by the Navy. The missile was repeatedly modernized and upgraded in the subsequent period. In the latest modernization, a civilian version of the Volna was produced. It differs from the basic model in an additional solid-fuel engine that can put small spacecraft into a low-earth orbit.
Russian environmentalists are crying foul at the controversial decision of the Nobel Committee to award this yearï¿½s Peace Prize to the United Nationsï¿½ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its head Mohamed ElBaradei.
The Nobel Committee announced that IAEA and ElBaradei have won the prize in recognition of their efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons on a global scale. The winner was selected from 199 candidates, which included, among others, Ukranian president Viktor Yushchenko, the Salvation Army, rock musician Bono and ex-president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari.
"At a time when disarmament efforts appear deadlocked, when there is a danger that nuclear arms will spread both to states and to terrorist groups, and when nuclear power again appears to be playing an increasingly significant role, IAEAï¿½s work is of incalculable importance," the Nobel Committee said in its official statement.
To the consternation of many Russian environmentalists, however, ElBaradei has openly supported a move by the Nuclear Power Ministry to build a giant international site for spent nuclear fuel from other countries for storage and reprocessing in Siberia.
Russian environmentalists expressed their bewilderment at the commiteeï¿½s move. Lev Fyodorov, head of Russian environmental organization Ecodefence, said he was shocked by the Nobel Committeeï¿½s verdict.
"The Peace Prize has never before been awarded to such a deeply compromised organization," Fyodorov told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday. "IAEA has been involved with distribution of dual-use nuclear technologies but, most disturbingly, it tainted its reputation by trying to turn Russia into an international nuclear waste dump ."
Ecologists have repeatedly pointed to Russiaï¿½s inability to deal with waste from its own nuclear industry, let alone from abroad.
Dmitry Artamonov, head of the St. Petersburg branch of Greenpeace, told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday that the situation at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Station, or LAES, is indicative of the plight of the industry on nationwide level. He said that the storage facilities at LAES are overloaded by over 40 percent.
"The stationï¿½s overloaded storage site is located only 90 meters from the Gulf of Finland," Artamonov said. "The plantï¿½s authorities said they are compressing the waste to make it safe to store larger amounts of material, but the problem is that radioactive material isnï¿½t safe in principal."
The decision to give the award to IAEA and El Baradei was welcomed by many international high-ranking politicans from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. But Greenpeace International has scathingly branded ElBaradei as serving "nuclear policeman and nuclear salesman" at the same time.
Spent fuel and other radioactive waste from power plants is currently kept in temporary facilities warehouses and reprocessed in various countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Japan. A number of countries are unable to treat their nuclear waste and send it abroad.
The material only becomes harmless after 10,000 years of storage. All current facilities store the waste on a temporary basis, and no permanent agreements have yet been made, though Russia appears to be on the verge of making one.
Since 2004, the IAEA and ElBaradei have been backing a plan to construct a global nuclear waste storage warehouse in Siberia. Russia is the only country in the world where legislation would allow for such a plan . In 2001, the State Russian Duma amended the countryï¿½s environmental legislation and allowed the import of spent nuclear fuel from abroad for reprocessing and storage.
Advocates of the idea have included head of the Russian Nuclear Ministry Alexander Rumyantsev and the former head of the ministry, Yevgeny Adamov. They have argued that a commercial fuel dump would bring Russia billions of dollars that could be spent on nuclear security. The Siberian storage site alone would fill the state coffers with $20 billion over a period of ten years.
But security concerns remain high.
Greenpeaceï¿½s Artamonov has also expressed alarm at the fact that the Leningrad Nuclear Power Station is repairing its outdated Chernobyl-type reactors to prolong their use, without having carried out environmental tests. "The first block, currently being repaired, was designed to serve for 25 years. This term expired last year, but the plant is repairing it as thereï¿½s no money to replace it with a new one."
Over the past decade, Russian environmental organizations have also reported a number of minor leaks at different plants, including LAES.
Russian ecologists are not alone in having criticized the Nobel Committeeï¿½s decision. The Japanese humanitarian organization Hidankyo, which was established to support and represent the surviving victims of the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has expressed its disappointment at the choice.
2. Nobel Committee Sends Warning To The Russian Military
Pavel K. Baev
Eurasia Daily Monitor
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The Kremlin approved wholeheartedly the "exceptionally right decision" to award the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency and Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, noting particularly that "he does not react on various shouts and is a very reliable partner" (Newsru.com, October 7). Apparently, Moscow wants to interpret this award as a sign of approval of its complicated intrigue in the IAEA centered on the Iranian nuclear program, an issue that has been referred to the UN Security Council against Russian and Chinese objections. There is, however, a particular warning for Russia in this decision, since the Norwegian Nobel Committee certainly had no intention of interfering in the Iranian problem but wanted to remind that, 50 years after Hiroshima, nuclear disarmament "is at a standstill" (Aftenposten, October 8).
In Russian security strategy, disarmament is indeed not a goal but rather a threat, so much effort is devoted to slowing down the process of ageing in the vast Soviet nuclear arsenal inherited by Russia. Strategic missiles are the main focus of these efforts, and recent weeks saw a series of test launches, including the first successful launch of the new submarine-based missile R-30 "Bulava" on September 27 (Voenno-promyshlennyi kurier, October 5-11; EDM, October 5). Five other tests, however, including the September 30 launch from the Georgii Pobedonosets from the Pacific Fleet and the October 7 and 8 launches from Borisoglebsk of the Northern Fleet, involved missiles of old types that have to be tested repeatedly, since technically they are past their expiration date. This inevitably leads to all kinds of technical failures, and the new space "parachute" Demonstrator that constituted the payload in the October 7 missile launch was lost in the Okhotsk Sea (Kommersant, October 8). That was the fourth failed test of this device, and the launches of international space vehicles Kryosat and Kosmos-1 on October 8 and June 21 were also unsuccessful due to missile failures (Lenta.ru, October 8, July 15). Perhaps the most embarrassing case was the two successive failures to launch missiles from nuclear submarines Novomoskovsk and Kareliya in the February 2004 exercises observed by Russian President Vladimir Putin (Kommersant, September 30).
Playing down the recurrent failures, the Russian authorities insist that the strategic forces are fully combat capable and undergo modernization in order to deter new kinds of threats. Showing personal commitment, Putin took a ride in a strategic bomber during the August exercises and saw the launch of a new long-range cruise missile (Lenta.ru, August 17). In his September nationwide Q&A session, Putin emphasized that such first-hand involvement was not "tourism" but a part of his duties as commander-in-chief (Polit.ru, September 27). In staging that confidence-boosting plane ride, Putin certainly took personal risks, not only since he is not qualified to take controls of any plane but also because every technical glitch would have been "negative PR," which must be avoided at any cost, according to Kremlin "political technologists." Everything worked smoothly at those exercises, but the disasters followed shortly, including the bad landing of a Su-33 fighter on the deck of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the crash of a Su-27 fighter in Lithuania leading to an awkward political scandal (Vremya novostei, October 7; EDM, September 27).
The most spectacular catastrophe was certainly the colossal explosion in the naval ammunition depot in Kamchatka on September 30, when some 8,000 people had to be evacuated from adjacent villages (Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie, October 7). It is unfortunately nothing unusual to have explosions from old Soviet stocks of artillery shells, bombs, and missiles: In both 2002 and 2003, Vladivostok was shaken by such blasts, while in May 2004, Melitopol in Ukraine heard a cannonade that lasted a full two weeks.
The real question here is about the safety of nuclear storage facilities where any accident could trigger a disaster comparable with Chernobyl, which will mark its twentieth anniversary next April. Russian authorities assert in the most affirmative terms that there is no risk whatsoever of any detonation, or for that matter, theft of nuclear material and, fortunately, there is no need to rely entirely on these words. Since 1991, the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs authorized by the U.S. Congress under the Nunn-Lugar legislation have been taking care of this problem. This is a remarkable success story that probably deserves the Nobel Peace Prize no less than the IAEA. What makes it even more remarkable is the very reluctant cooperation on the Russian side in providing access to its nuclear facilities despite the new agreements reached at the February 2005 Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava. This reluctance is not accompanied by any readiness to invest sufficient funds in upgrading the safety of nuclear stocks that could have freed those hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars that the G-8 annually spends in Russia for its program aimed at checking the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction.
Investing instead in new weapons, the Russian authorities refuse to see that the poor compatibility of modern technologies and rusty Soviet hardware increases the risks of malfunctioning in every complicated weapon system, while the poor training of conscripts who are performing all sorts of manual maintenance work makes human failure a near certainty. Putin is always keen to praise new missiles that could penetrate any strategic defense "being developed by certain of our partner countries." An honest assessment of risks posed by his own unreformed and neglected armed forces could have shown the irrelevance and even indecency of such bragging.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Bob Joseph, your point man on proliferation, went to these countries last week. Did you have a chance to discuss things with him? Was his trip about a particular issue?
And also on the base issue, not to belabor it, but did these countries not join with Russia and China in July to urge the U.S. to give a timetable for getting out of the region?
SECRETARY RICE: I believe that everyone in the region understands that the United States is fighting a war on terrorism and I don't believe there's anyone in the region who wants the United States to leave the region before the war on terrorism is won, because these are countries that also face terrorist threats from the same sources that are causing difficulties in Afghanistan, indeed in -- you pick a place -- Bali, London, New York or Washington. And in our discussions with these countries, their focus has been on the need to fight effectively in the war on terrorism and to be good partners in the war on terrorism.
As to -- I'm sorry, you --
SECRETARY RICE: Proliferation. Yeah, Bob Joseph. I talked to him this morning. He's just back. Bob's goal in going out was to talk to these countries about the Proliferation Security Initiative -- a couple of them are members of the Proliferation Security Initiative -- to talk about defensive measures that we can take to safeguard against proliferation and movement of dangerous materials and weapons of mass destruction materials.
He also was able to follow up on some of the work that has been done out of the Nunn-Lugar program. We are continuing, as you read about in Kazakhstan, to destroy the legacy of the old Soviet nuclear weapons systems that were in this region and the material that came from that. So he talked about those issues as well.
But this is an extremely important region given its geographic location and its sort of transit status for proliferation security, for efforts to stem the flow of dangerous materials, for efforts in the war on terrorism and, as the President has noted, for the potential nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. So these are extremely important partners in that whole set of efforts and that's what Bob was out here to discuss.
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