1. Reduce red tape; Our position: For homeland security, it's critical to secure Russia's nuclear weapons.
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Congress can make major progress to protect homeland security by streamlining a critical program aimed at preventing terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The problem is buried within the details of a multibillion-dollar U.S.-financed program to help secure or destroy Russia's massive arsenal of nuclear weapons. The U.S. is paying because Russia doesn't have money to do the work.
That program's agreement contains several cumbersome stipulations for the Russians. One, for example, requires the Russians to report exactly how many tons of chemical weapons they possess.
When U.S. officials have to stop to certify that information, it halts the program's mission: denying terrorists access to nuclear weapons.
That's why U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, the highly respected Republican who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, is leading the bipartisan charge to get rid of those stipulations. Senators note that few of their colleagues ever even read the reports the Russians are required to produce.
The Senate already has agreed to get rid of those requirements. Now it's essential for members of the U.S. House, where it's pending, to get aboard.
Some in Congress never liked having the United States pay for this program because they don't trust the Russians.
Yet there's no denying the program's success. Since this initiative was launched in 1992, it has been successful in destroying or deactivating 6,624 nuclear warheads, 580 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 147 bombers, 789 air-to-surface nuclear missiles and 28 nuclear submarines.
Problems getting the required paperwork completed and certified have caused delays in spending the money necessary to secure or dismantle the vulnerable Russian nuclear weapons.
The United States has the most to gain by removing any roadblocks from this program.
At the current rate, it will take another 14 years to finish the job in Russia. Every delay creates another opportunity for terrorists to get one of these weapons.
It's noteworthy that authorities here and in Russia have broken up several attempts to buy or steal Russian nuclear weapons. Associates of Osama bin Laden have been trying to get nuclear weapons for at least 10 years.
The United States is at great risk. There are hundreds of airports, seaports and border crossings that terrorists could use to sneak a stolen nuclear bomb into this country. A small nuclear weapon concealed in a sports-utility vehicle could kill tens of thousands and destroy the downtown of any U.S. city.
Mr. Lugar's effort is the right approach. It would ensure this country stays focused on securing nuclear weapons to keep them from the hands of terrorists.
PUSAN, South Korea - U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday backed an initiative by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end a stalemate over Iran's nuclear project as the two leaders held talks that appeared to avoid areas of open disagreement.
Hounded at home over Iraq, Bush pressed ahead with his foreign policy agenda, but his Iraq policy may have sustained a new setback with reports -- disputed by the White House -- that South Korea planned to withdraw some troops.
Bush and Putin talked about Iran, North Korea's nuclear program, Syria, the Middle East, Chechnya, Iraq, bird flu and other issues during a hour-long meeting before attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The Russian plan would allow Iran to continue nuclear fuel production if it shifted its most critical stage, uranium enrichment, to Russia as part of a joint venture.
Three European Union powers -- Germany, Britain and France -- which led now-stalled nuclear talks with Iran, and the United States have tentatively approved the proposal to overcome a stalemate over Iran's nuclear project.
"The president thanked President Putin for their position and thought that the initiative that they put forward as far as recovery of fuel ... was one that is helpful to the process," said Bush presidential counselor Dan Bartlett.
Western countries suspect Iran of seeking nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic program, which Tehran denies, saying it wants only to generate electricity.
Bartlett said the two leaders did not discuss taking Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if diplomacy fails.
Russia has been leery of such an outcome.
Ties between the two leaders have not been as close as they were in Bush's first term because of U.S. worries that Russia is backsliding on democratic reforms, a subject Bartlett said did not come up at their fifth meeting this year.
"Our position is well known on that," he said.
Bush and Putin chatted amiably before a pool of reporters in advance of their talks and Bartlett said the good will continued behind closed doors.
"Hey Vladimir, how are you? It's good to see you," Bush told Putin at a Pusan hotel. "I always enjoy a chance to have a good discussion with you."
Bush and Putin were united on the need for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and for Syria to cooperate with an investigation to find the killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
In what appeared to be a new setback for his Iraq policy, a South Korea's Defense Ministry said it plans to reduce the number of its troops in Iraq by about a third and to start withdrawing those soldiers from the first half of next year.
Bush, meeting South Korean President Roh Myun-hoo on Thursday, had hailed South Korea's contributions in Iraq and senior aides pointed out the South Koreans, at more than 3,000, were the third largest foreign contingent in Iraq, behind the United States and Britain.
The White House insisted there had been on official confirmation of the report, and Bartlett said U.S. officials had checked with South Korean officials and been told there had been no change in the country's policy. (ï¿½) (Additional reporting by Caren Bohan)
U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin today reaffirmed the unity of the nations negotiating with North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, Kyodo News reported.
Bush and Putin met during the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum conference in Busan, South Korea. They "talked about ... how having all the (five) parties speaking in one voice was important," said White House Counselor Dan Bartlett. The five nations are China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
Bartlett did not say whether the two leaders explicitly discussed sequencing of disarmament steps by Pyongyang in relation to rewards from the other parties, including a light-water nuclear reactor the North has demanded for energy generation (Kyodo, Nov. 18).
3. Moscow City Court upholds Adamov's arrest ruling
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MOSCOW - The Moscow City Court has upheld a ruling of a lower court to extend in absentia the arrest term of former Russian Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov until January 12, 2006, his lawyer said Thursday.
The city court rejected an appeal filed by Adamov's lawyer, Timofei Gridnev, to rule against the May 14 decision of the Basmanny District Court to arrest the former minister, who is currently being held in custody in Switzerland awaiting extradition to the United States.
"On May 14, when the court announced a judicial restraint against Adamov, the Prosecutor General's Office said there were no official data on him, and issued an international search warrant allowing the court to pass an arrest warrant in absentia," the lawyer said.
Adamov, who served as Russia's nuclear power minister in 1998-2001, was arrested in Bern May 2 at the request of U.S. authorities, who accuse him of misappropriating $9 million granted to Russia for improving the safety of its nuclear facilities.
If convicted by an American court, Adamov may face a prison sentence of up to 60 years and a $1.75 million fine.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office also launched proceedings against Adamov, charging him with embezzlement and abuse of office.
Both countries petitioned Switzerland for Adamov's extradition. Although the U.S. requested his arrest May 2, the Swiss authorities did not receive its extradition request until June 24. Swiss authorities received Moscow's request on May 17.
The Swiss Justice Department ruled on October 3 to extradite Adamov to the United States. Adamov's defense team appealed the ruling on November 1. The ex-minister will remain in a Berne prison until the Federal Court in Lausanne passes the final ruling on the appeal.
4. Russia, U.S. to cooperate on Iranian nuclear issue - official
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MOSCOW, November 16 - Russia and the United States have agreed to cooperate on the Iranian nuclear issue in a five-party format with the European troika of the UK, Germany and France, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.
"We have agreed to cooperate with the [EU] troika in the format of the troika plus Russia and the United States," Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Busan, South Korea, where they discussed the Iranian nuclear issue.
"We have a common understanding that the talks must be resumed. We will do everything to ensure the talks are held," he said.
VIENNA, Austria -- The United States and its European allies will not push to have Iran referred to the U.N. Security Council later this week to give Russia extra time to try to persuade Tehran to compromise on its nuclear activities, diplomats and officials told The Associated Press on Monday.
Their comments came three days before the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board meets to consider options on Iran and its suspect nuclear program that include possible Security Council referral.
But that option now appeared to be off the table, according to the diplomats and U.S. and European government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strategy for dealing with Iran is confidential.
2. URGENT: Iran may be referred to UN Security Council if it endangers non-proliferation regime - Lavrov
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BRUSSELS- Iran may be referred to the UN Security Council if its nuclear program endangers the non-proliferation regime, Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
Lavrov said referring Iran's nuclear file to the UN Security Council has not been ruled out, but, as long as the country carries out no uranium enrichment activities, the controversy surrounding its nuclear program should be dealt with through the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He said Iran gives IAEA inspectors access to all nuclear sites it is supposed to keep open in line with international accords.
3. Russia's Duma backs peaceful cooperation with Iran
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MOSCOW--The Russian Duma on Saturday expressed support for cooperation with Iran in all fields, particularly in peaceful nuclear activities.
Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Sergei Baburin, the head of the Duma's International Committee Constantin Kasachev and representative Nikolai Kondratenko, in exclusive interviews with IRNA, stressed Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Baburin expressed support for Iran's absolute right to obtain nuclear technology for economic development.
"Experts should be truthful and independent when expressing their views on Iran's nuclear program to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he said.
He believes that experts who speak under political pressure diminish the IAEA role in achieving cooperation among member countries.
In his interview with IRNA, Kasachev opposed the politization of the Iran nuclear issue and said Iran was cooperating with the IAEA.
He said Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation was entirely transparent and truthful.
Kondratenko also said cooperation between Iran and Russia in various fields, including in the ongoing construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, was fully sanctioned by international law and regulations.
He added that politization of Iran's nuclear case was the work of the United States and Israel, who are both enemies of free and fair dealings in international relations.
4. EU rejects Russian offer of talks with Iran in Moscow
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VIENNA -- EU negotiators Britain, Germany and France have turned down a Russian offer to host an EU-Iran meeting in Moscow next week over Iran's disputed nuclear program, diplomats said.
Russia had proposed the meeting for the European Union and Iran to 'talk about getting back to talks,' a diplomat said, referring to negotiations on winning guarantees Tehran will not make nuclear weapons.
The talks collapsed last August when Iran resumed nuclear fuel work that it had earlier suspended in order to make the negotiations possible.
Iran on Wednesday began to convert a new batch of uranium ore into the gas that is the feedstock for enriching uranium into what can be reactor fuel or atom bomb material, defying international requests not to do so.
The UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had urged Iran in September not to resume uranium conversion, and is to meet on the matter next Thursday in Vienna.
'Moscow is off, so we go to the board without that kind of prelude,' a European diplomat said, referring to the IAEA's board of governors' meeting.
1. Russia, S. Korea endorse action plan to promote cooperation
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PUSAN-- Russia and South Korea have endorsed a joint action plan to promote trade and economic cooperation, following top-level Russian-Korean negotiations in Pusan on Saturday.
The document says that the two countries' governments are satisfied to note that relations between the two countries "have reached the level of multifaceted and trusting partnership."
Russia and South Korea are determined to add fresh impetus to the development of trade and economic ties by maintaining regular contact at the highest levels, increasing the role of interagency consultations, intensifying the activity of the Russian-South Korean joint economic and scientific-technological cooperation commission and by promoting cooperation between the private sectors of their economies, the document reads.
It also says that the two countries will develop interregional cooperation and encourage mutual trips by individuals and more active contacts and exchanges in various areas.
Russia and South Korea will support joint power industry projects, including the construction of a power transmission line between Russia, North Korea and South Korea.
The two countries will also develop cooperation in the nuclear sector, in particular, by supplying South Korea with low-enriched uranium and providing Seoul with services to enrich it. They will also design and construct low and medium capacity reactors for floating seawater desalinization plants. (...)
The Japanese prototype FPS-XX ballistic missile defense radar tracked an unannounced Russian missile test last weekend, MosNews.com reported yesterday.
The radar monitored a missile launch from a nuclear submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk and followed its flight to the Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean, the Japanese Defense Agency said.
The last announced Russian missile launch from the Okhotsk area occurred on Sept. 30, according to MosNews.com (MosNews.com, Nov. 17).
Russian Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Viktor Fedorov yesterday condemned media reports about the alleged test.
"Foreign media reports that the latest Japanese antimissile defense radar has allegedly detected and tracked the launch and flight of a Russian ballistic missile from the Sea of Okhotsk are, to put it mildly, a provocation," Fedorov told Interfax.
Fedorov denied that Pacific-based Russian submarines had recently fired any missiles.
"While giving Japanese technology its due, I can only note that either the Japanese radar was not up to the job, or this is a newspaper ï¿½red herring,ï¿½" he said (Interfax/BBC Monitoring, Nov. 17).
2. New atomic agency chief discloses his philosophy
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Moscow--Sergei Kiriyenko, who has been introduced today to the board of the federal atomic energy agency (Rosatom) as the agency's new chief, asked the board for assistance. He stated that he realized the scope of responsibility that he had assumed, and said that the point was not to do harm. He thanked the Russian President and the Prime Minister for their confidence in him.
In turn, Rosatom's ex-chief Alexander Rumyantsev reported that during the five-year period that he had been in office, the agency had done a great deal of work: for instance, two power generating units had been put into operation, and a power plant was launched in China. He also thanked the agency's staff for their cooperation.
HONG KONG/SEOUL: Kazakhstanï¿½s state-owned uranium miner is targeting nuclear fuel markets in Japan, China and South Korea, competing with General Electric Co, the worldï¿½s biggest company by market value, and Westinghouse Electric Co.
Kazatomprom plans joint ventures with Sumitomo Corp, Japanï¿½s No 3 trading company, and Kansai Electric Power Co, Japanï¿½s second-biggest power producer, to mine and process uranium deposits in Kazakhstan, said Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom. Linking up with the Japanese companies may give access to their market and technology, he said.
"Japan doesnï¿½t take fuel from anyone, even from Americans, as it has its own production," Dzhakishev said in a November 15 London interview. "But theyï¿½ll let Kazakhstan in." Kazakhstan wants to boost uranium output fourfold by 2010 and jump to first from third in global rankings, overtaking Canada and Australia. The world faces a uranium deficit after 2012 as demand for the fuel used in nuclear reactors expands, Dzhakishev said. Asia, where India and China plan to build about 50 reactors, will be tapped for sales, he said.
The Almaty, Kazakhstan-based miner plans to extract 15,000 metric tonnes of uranium in 2010, according to an announcement in September 2004. The company expects to produce 4,356 tonnes of uranium this year.
Canada last year produced 11,597 metric tonnes and Australia 8,982 tonnes, according to the World Nuclear Associationï¿½s website.
China, India, South Korea and Japan are leading the global nuclear construction programme. China, the worldï¿½s second-largest electricity consumer after the US, plans to add about 30 gigawatts of nuclear generation by 2030, while Russia could add another 22 gigawatts, according to the International Energy Agency. Korea may add 17 gigawatts and Japan about 14 gigawatts.
Kazatomprom is in talks with China National Nuclear Corp, the nationï¿½s largest nuclear power plant builder, on projects. In South Korea, the Kazakh company plans to set up joint ventures with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co, a unit of state-run Korea Electric Power Corp, and Korea Resources Corp, a state-run resource developer, in plans similar to those with the Japanese companies.
The Chinese and South Korean developments are less advanced than the plans with Japan, Dzhakishev said.
China National Nuclear last year started talks with Kazatomprom about a joint exploration venture, Xia Ming, deputy director at the Beijing-based companyï¿½s Department of Science, Technology and International Co-operation, said.
2. Russia allocates $35m for construction of fast neutron nuclear reactor
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On November 14th , the Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin announced that funding of 1 billion rubles ($35 million) has been included in next yearï¿½s federal budget for construction of the BN-800 fast neutron reactor at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant.
Despite the promises to support the new reactor in the Russian State Duma in March, the nuclear plant will receive only $35m instead of $210m needed for the next year. This year, the Beloyarsk NPP received no money at all for the new reactor construction, and the plant had to use its own money to continue the construction. The lifetime of Russiaï¿½s only fast-breeder reactor, the BN-600 at the Beloyarsk NPP, ends in 2010. The new reactor unitï¿½s price is $1.8 billion and can be finished only in 2012-2015 with the current scarcity financing. So, the lifetime of the BN-600 is likely to be extended, UralPolit.ru reported.
MOSCOW--Russia provides 10% of the fuel used in Japanese nuclear power plants, a specialist at the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences said Thursday.
"The key objectives of Japan's energy strategy for the medium term are to permanently reduce the share of oil in the country's power system and increase the share of natural gas and nuclear fuel. We are already working in this field," Viktor Pavlyatenko said at a round table on Russian-Japanese cooperation.
Russia and Japan have a long-term agreement on natural gas exports, Pavlyatenko said.
"Russia and Japan will cooperate to ensure energy security in North-East Asia as a whole," he said.
1. Ekozashchita! presents report on SNF imports and uranium tails
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ST. PETERSBURG--The environmental group Ekozashchita! presented its new report "Nuclear waste imports: minimum profits, maximum radioactive waste" in the Siberian city of Tomsk last week and plans to send a copy of its study to new Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko.
The reportï¿½s authors are experts from the Paris-based World Information Service on Energy (WISE) and Ekozashchita! The report presents data on imports into Russia of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) as well as uranium "tails," or waste from the European uranium-processing industry.
"The crisis in the nuclear industry is pushing Rosatom towards turning the country into a nuclear dump for both Eastern and Western countries," said Ekozashchita! Co-chairman Vladimir Slivyak, one of the report's authors. "It is essential to stop these economically unprofitably and deeply amoral imports of radioactive waste as soon as possible, otherwise future generations of Russians will be under threat."
The environmentalists say that reprocessing foreign SNF is not only environmentally unsound, but also fatal from an economic point of view, as the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) near Krasnoyarsk receives a paltry $120 per kilogram of SNF. Former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov had said in 2001 that nuclear fuel imports are economically viable at prices of at least $1,000 per kilogram--which is how much recycling facilities in the United Kingdom and France charge.
In the four years since the law on SNF imports was passed, Rosatom has earned approximately $120 million dollars instead of the predicted $8 billion.
Thus, "Russia does not offer 'a high-tech SNF recycling service' (the facility near Krasnoyarsk cannot be upgraded as there is no business in Russia that could do so), but, to all intents and purposes, an SNF-storage service on its territory," says Ekozashchita!
According to Ekozashchita!, since June 2001 some 12 to15 loads of SNF have arrived in Russia from Ukraine and Bulgaria. The latest load of Bulgarian spent fuel--some 48 tonnes--was received by the MCC in Zheleznogorsk (formerly Krasnoyarsk 26) just a week ago. Environmentalists stage regular protests, and have managed to block several contracts for imports of SNF, including from Hungary, which had planned to send some 1,500 tonnes of nuclear waste.
Uranium tails Environmentalists say that since 1996 the Western European companies Urenco and Eurodif have been sending radioactive waste ("nuclear tails") to Russia for enrichment. The result of this enrichment process is the equivalent of natural uranium. This product is sent back to Western Europe, while the radioactive waste created as a result of this final enrichment remains in Russia. From 1996 to 2001, some 9,740 tonnes of nuclear waste arrived in Russia from Germany alone.
According to Ekozashchita!, one of the main arguments in favour of sending waste to Russia for enrichment is that Rosatom and its enterprises are agreeable to keeping the uranium tails in Russia. If Urenco and Eurodif had to recycle the nuclear waste themselves, their production costs would go up by approximately 5 times.
Uranium tails are taken to Seversk in the Tomsk Region, Angarsk in the Irkutsk Region, Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk Region, and Novouralsk in the Sverdlovsk Region. "We have been doing uranium enrichment for a long time, and this is no secret," Nikolai Shingarev, director of Rosatom's information centre, told Bellona Web. "There is nothing illegal about this"
According to Shingarev, the imported uranium tails are not waste, since they undergo further processing and to not require repository storage. The result of this process is uranium protoxide-oxide, which is safe for storage and can be used in fast-neutron, or breeder, reactors. At present, the only industrial fast-neutron reactor in Russia is the BN-600 of the OK-505 design at the Beloyarsk NPP.
A change of leadership--a change of course? The current development of the nuclear sector is pointing towards lower nuclear-safety levels and Russia's final conversion into a dumping ground for nuclear waste, Ekozashchita! says in its report.
The recent change of leadership at Rosatom has given environmentalists hope: For the first time in many years, Rosatom is headed by a person who is not tied to the interests of the nuclear industry and who is able to assess Russia's nuclear policy objectively.
"We ask Sergei Kiriyenko to scrutinise the development policy formulated by previous heads of this agency, and are prepared to offer our full support in this difficult process," Slivyak wrote in the latest of the weekly press statement that his organisation releases. "Tomorrow we will send the new head of Rosatom our newly published report, which brings together the most complete data on imports of nuclear waste to Russia. Even Rosatom itself does not have some of this data."
1. Press Briefing with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on APEC Summit Meetings, Commodore Hotel, Busan, Republic of Korea
The White House
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MR. HADLEY: Good evening. I thought I might go through a little bit of the day the President had today, give you a little bit of the highlights, and then answer some -- give you a preview of tomorrow and answer whatever questions you've got.
The President had a meeting with President Putin. They talked a little bit about the state of the relationship between the two countries, noted that there's been an intensification of exchanges between the two sides. The two Presidents have met probably three times in the last six months. Secretary Rice was in Moscow; I've recently been in Moscow. So there is an intensive dialogue between representatives of the two governments and between the two Presidents, and both expressed satisfaction with that.
They talked about the need for progress on the WTO round in December at Hong Kong, and the need for a successful conclusion to the Doha process. And they talked about the challenge of Iran's pursuit of and intentions to achieve a nuclear weapon capability, and compared notes on the latest efforts to try and get Iran back into a negotiated framework in which it will reassure the world that it's not pursuing a nuclear weapons program and give up on a permanent basis enrichment and reprocessing, and how to try and achieve that.
There was some discussion about North Korea, a review of the status of the six-party talks, some sympathy expressed for the need to address human rights and the flight of the North Korean people as a part of that process. There was -- they talked about the war on terror and recent progress in the war on terror, the challenged posed by avian flu, and a little discussion about Iraq. So it was a discussion about the broad range of issues in which we are engaged with Russia.
There was an emphasis that it is important to proceed on trade as an effort -- as an element of a more prosperous world and as an element, also, of raising people out of poverty. But it was also recognized that there are other elements that are required in order to achieve progress. We need to deal with the issue of terrorism. There was discussion about cooperation on the war on terror, progress in the war on terror, and a mutual reaffirmation of the commitment to succeed; discussion about energy security and the need to, over time, move beyond a hydrocarbon economy; cooperation -- the need for cooperation on avian flu.
There was also recognition that prosperity was going to depend, as well, on cooperation in the fight against terror, dealing with things like avian flu and energy security. These are issues that will be addressed more tomorrow. I think it was an evidence of the success of making APEC a forum not only to talk about trade and economic issues, but also to talk about security issues -- a direction that APEC took about a year ago, and was reaffirmed today in their conversations. There was a complementarity between security and prosperity.
Tomorrow there will be a second meeting, or second retreat. The focus will be on human security. There will be an opportunity to discuss more broadly the issues of energy security, the challenge of avian flu, the challenge of dealing with disaster preparation more generally, and, of course, continuing to work on issues and initiatives associated with counterterrorism and the handling of the challenge of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. There is in process a series of statements that will address these issues and will contain some initiatives on several of these areas.
Q Did you sense any level of frustration with Russia in regards to Iran's enrichment program?
MR. HADLEY: No. Russia has provided, as you know, a -- has taken the lead in a couple respects that have been very constructive. One, as you know, they are talking, and have for a number of years been talking to the Iranians about completing the Bushehr reactor, and as you know, this is not new news. They have reached an agreement with the Iranians for a number of steps that would reduce the proliferation risk that that reactor would represent, the most important of which being the take-back of fuel -- that Russia would supply the nuclear fuel that would power the reactor, and once the fuel was spent, it would be then returned to Russia.
In order to try and get -- to move forward on the getting Iran back into the negotiations and a framework whereby Iran, while retaining its right to enrichment and reprocessing, would, nonetheless, find it in its interest to give up that right in terms of its own territory, the Russians have been pursuing an interesting idea which would be to construct an enrichment facility in Russia in which Iran would have management and financial interest, but not a technical interest. And it would be then the facility which could supply reactor fuel to the Bushehr reactor. It would give Iran a sense that it would have an assured fuel supply for its civil nuclear power program, because it would have management participation and financial participation in the venture, but it would have it off-shore in Russia, rather than in Iran.
This is an interesting idea. The Iranians, probably not surprisingly, initially, have said, no, this is something that they want as a sovereignty exercise to have on their territory. We think it's an area for further conversation. So that was the focus, the things, the steps that Russia has done that have been very constructive in trying to lead Iran to a different path.
Q Perhaps I wasn't clear. I meant, did you sense any frustration on the Russians' part in their dealings with Iran? Weren't they guaranteed by Iran that they wouldn't enrich, and then they turn around a week later, started? Are the Russians getting frustrated with Iran?
MR. HADLEY: Well, you know, this has been a difficult discussion and I think there's some frustration that the EU 3 -- the UK, Germany, and France -- have in dealing with Iran right now. We certainly have some frustrations. But they were very focused on a problem-solving mode. And the Russians -- President Putin talked about Igor Ivanov, who had just been in Iran, and gave a bit of a report. You know, they -- I think the notion is, yes, it's difficult, but we're going to keep at it and they're going to keep pushing this idea.
Q Steve, can I take you back to Iran for a minute? At the beginning of your briefing, you, I think, said that both men were convinced that Iran has a nuclear weapons program --
MR. HADLEY: No, I --
Q -- or at least I -- that you referred to their weapons program. Is President Putin, at this point, persuaded that Iran's ultimate goal is to build a weapons program?
MR. HADLEY: I think what I said is that the two men expressed the concern that we all have -- they have, the Russians have, the United States has, the EU 3 have -- that based on the fact that Iran had a nuclear program undisclosed for 15 years, held covertly, not disclosed to the IAEA, in violation of safeguards agreement, we all have concerns about the nuclear intentions of Iran. That's why we're in this negotiation; that's why we're talking about trying to get them out of the business of an enrichment and reprocessing capability. We all have that concern. And we also share the concern, and the two Presidents share the concern, that an Iran with a nuclear weapon is a destabilizing thing for the region.
Q On that point, Russia was among the countries that was recently briefed on the warhead information that the U.S. had. Did they indicate either in this meeting or in any other meetings you've had with them that they found this persuasive, or not?
MR. HADLEY: Well, as you know, David, as we've talked about in the past, there have been reports about that. There's obviously -- that's classified information. I don't talk about it here. One of the things I can say generally is, we've been trying to share with countries who are taking the lead on the issue of Iranian nuclear aspirations, if you will. We have shared intelligence with them because we think it's important that we all have the same data. And that's been useful to do. So I think I've got to leave it at that.
Q Did the subject didn't come up specifically enough that he indicated that whatever data you have shared with him has changed his view in any way?
MR. HADLEY: That particular subject was not discussed.
Q And one last thing, just on that point -- just finishing the loop on President Putin on this. You said that they've made this offer. And by virtue of the fact that President Putin was involved in the discussion, should we construe that if the Iranians took the offer on the table by the Russians that they would bring the enrichment out, that that would be acceptable to President Bush as a solution?
MR. HADLEY: We have talked to the Russians about this, and we have supported their proposal. It has been something that the Russians have been talking to the EU3 -- the U.K., France and Germany -- who are taking the lead in the negotiations with the Iranians. They also support it. We think it's a good avenue to explore, and we've said so.
Q Good avenue to explore --
MR. HADLEY: Good avenue to explore --
Q -- or acceptable to President Bush --
MR. HADLEY: If we didn't think it was acceptable, we probably wouldn't encourage it to be explored.
Q Two -- the first is, the Iranian compromise is a good avenue to explore -- the Iranians have rejected it. What's the next step on that?
MR. HADLEY: Well, they've had a spokesman come out and reject it and insist it is a matter of sovereignty, they want this on their own territory. We think that doesn't end it, and that this will be an issue that we will return to with the Iranians, certainly now, and maybe again, as this issue unfolds going forward. So we think it remains to be a -- it remains a good idea and is a potential avenue out that respects Iranian sovereignty, and says, yes, we know you insist that you have a right to these facilities, but countries can decide that it's in their interest to take other alternative arrangements. And we hope that over time Iran will see the virtue of this approach, and it may provide a way out.
Q What did the President and Mr. Putin discuss on Iraq?
MR. HADLEY: It wasn't a -- it was not a lengthy discussion. One of the things we've been anxious to do is to get Russia to find ways to be supportive of what the Iraqis are doing, and they talked about a couple of ways that might be done. I can't talk about either of them right now from the podium. But I think they both recognize the importance of progress in Iraq. And again, we're trying to find ways in which Russia can contribute to that progress.
2. U.S. Pursues Three-Pronged Approach on Nuclear Nonproliferation: State Department official lists nonproliferation tools both new and old
U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs
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Washington-- The United States seeks to counter nuclear proliferation globally through prevention, counterproliferation and consequence management, a State Department official says.
"[T]he proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), particularly but not exclusively nuclear weapons, is the preeminent threat to international peace and security," according to Andrew Semmel, deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation. He spoke to the National Strategy Forum in Chicago November 14.
Countering nuclear proliferation is a key priority of the Bush administration, Semmel said, as evidenced by the promulgation in December 2002 of the U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. That strategy calls for the combined and simultaneous use of the three above-mentioned methods.
The United States has employed "dramatically expanded efforts" to prevent terrorists and outlaw states from acquiring WMD and WMD-related materials, as well as WMD delivery systems, Semmel said. The second element in the strategy -- counterproliferation -- is necessary because prevention does not always succeed, he said. It is a government's duty, he continued, to minimize and mitigate the effects of a WMD attack through consequence management.
Semmel said "effective multilateralism" is essential to all three facets of U.S. nonproliferation strategy.
In the area for which Semmel has most responsibility -- the prevention of nuclear proliferation -- effective multilateralism has involved strengthening existing tools and developing new ones, he added.
For Semmel, the existing tools include:
--The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which he termed the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, along with the International Atomic Energy Agencyï¿½s (IAEA) system of international inspections and verification procedures - including the IAEA Additional Protocol.
--The Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zangger Committee, two voluntary multilateral export control regimes that were formed to prevent trade in nuclear materials and technology.
In the category of counterproliferation tools, Semmel highlighted the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which he said has "transformed how nations act together against proliferation." At two-and-a-half years old, PSI is supported by or has the participation of more than 70 countries that apply existing national laws and international regulations in a coordinated and multilateral fashion. Semmel called it a true and proactive partnership.
A tool even newer than PSI is in the broadened mandate of the Egmont Group, which had been formed to combat money laundering, and now includes tracking and freezing assets and blocking transactions of entities and persons engaged in proliferation activities and support.
Another tool Semmel mentioned is a collection of programs to eliminate or secure nuclear weapons-related facilities and materials, and to redirect those facilitiesï¿½ scientists and scientific communities into civilian pursuits.
Semmel also discussed means and proposals for strengthening nuclear nonproliferation, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Group of Eight nations (G8), the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA.
The G8 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.
The text of Semmelï¿½s remarks is available on the State Department Web site.
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