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Nuclear News - 6/9/2006
RANSAC Nuclear News, June 9, 2006
Compiled By: Roman Sehling

A.  Russia - Iran
    1. Iranian nuclear fuel program: time to make a choice, Pyotr Goncharov, RIA Novosti (6/8/2006)
    2. Iran's Reply Expected for G8 Summit, Andrey Terekhov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/8/2006)
    3. Russia should bargain with United States over cooperation with Iran - experts, RIA Novosti (6/8/2006)
    4. The United States Divides the Kremlin Into pro- and anti-Iranians, Kommersant (6/8/2006)
    5. Sometimes Putin's Point Is Found in the Analysis, Maxim Glikin, Moscow Times (6/8/2006)
B.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. The fewer the better, Nuclear disarmament, Economist (6/10/2006)
    2. The long, long half-life, Economist (6/8/2006)
    3. Getting the Tridents ready for ... what? , Andrei Kislyakov, RIA Novosti (6/8/2006)
    4. Don't forget those other 27,000 nukes , Hans Blix, International Herald Tribune (6/8/2006)
    5. Russian FM Lavrov Says US Weapon Programs Destructive to Nonproliferation Regime, Interfax-AVN (6/7/2006)
C.  Global Threat Reduction Initiative
    1. Romania: SCN Pitesti finishes conversion of TRIGA reactor , (6/8/2006)
D.  Proliferation Initiative
    1. RI to join U.S.-led security arrangement , Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta Post (6/9/2006)
E.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Vessels, possibly with chemical weapons, found on Baltic seabed, ITAR-TASS (6/8/2006)
    2. CONSTRUCTION AT SHCHUCH'YE CHEM DEMIL PLANT BEHIND SCHEDULE, Sebastian Sprenger, Inside the Pentagon (6/8/2006)
F.  Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Decomissioned Russian Sub To Be Scrapped With Canadian Funds, ITAR-TASS (6/8/2006)
G.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Nuclear Regulatory Systems Debated at Moscow IAEA Conference - New Momentum, A. Kuznetsov, Atompressa (6/8/2006)
    2. St. Pete city official shocked by radioactive transit through city port, Interfax (6/7/2006)
H.  Nuclear Security
    1. Putin calls for nuclear-energy expansion, tighter security , RIA Novosti (6/9/2006)
I.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Russia, U.S. to hold talks on uranium supply restrictions soon , RIA Novosti (6/9/2006)
    2. RUSSIA HAS ENOUGH URANIUM TO LAST IT AT LEAST 5O YEARS, Igor Yuriev, What the Papers Say (6/6/2006)
J.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia's nuclear shield reliable - head of nuclear research centre, ITAR-TASS (6/8/2006)
    2. Russia's Lavrov details foreign policy priorities, Interfax-AVN (6/8/2006)
    3. To Fight or Not To Fight? Deputies To Continue Reforming Army Today, Tamara Shekel, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (6/7/2006)
    4. Russia: DM Ivanov Urges Exchange of Technology Between Military, Civilian Shipbuilders, ITAR-TASS (6/7/2006)
    5. Satan's Successor: New Arms Development Program Has Been Approved, Nikolay Poroskov, Vremya Novostei (6/7/2006)
K.  Official Statements
    1. REMARKS BY FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV AT A STATE DUMA SESSION, Official Kremlin International News Broadcast (6/7/2006)
    2. "Is the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons still attainable?" ANDREW K. SEMMEL DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION, Federal News Service (6/1/2006)
L.  Of Interest
    1. Secrets Are Coming to Light: Russian Academicians to Elect New Members Today, Yuriy Medvedev, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (6/7/2006)

A.  Russia - Iran

Iran's Reply Expected for G8 Summit
Andrey Terekhov
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

It looks as though there has been an easing of tension in the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program. Tehran is studying the package of proposals from six leading countries, which it received 6 June. Meanwhile new details are emerging of what precisely Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France, and Germany are promising the Iranians in exchange for halting their nuclear activity.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that in the long term the six countries are prepared to allow the Iranians to enrich uranium on their own territory. Until recently the United States had refused to recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran's right to use gas centrifuges for enrichment, in the belief that Tehran is seeking to acquire an atom bomb, not fuel for future nuclear power stations. This concession, together with the Americans' promise to sit at the negotiating table with the Iranians for the first time in 26 years, is an important part of the six's proposals package.

To remind you, the proposals to Tehran were agreed by the foreign ministers of the six countries in Vienna last Thursday. According to diplomats, the Islamic Republic of Iran is also being offered assistance in developing a peaceful nuclear program (guaranteed deliveries of light-water reactors and fuel for nuclear power stations), and the opportunity to buy spare parts for foreign-manufactured passenger airliners and to acquire earthquake early warning technology and apparatus for meteorological research. Finally, Tehran can hope for support for its application to join the WTO.

In an interview with, Professor Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences United States and Canada Institute, said: "The Americans' concession is evidence that Washington has reached the limit in its pressure on Iran. Now it must either take radical steps for which it is not yet prepared or else admit that the campaign to intimidate Iran has failed." The expert noted that the Americans would not like the Iranians to enrich uranium in Russia: "After all, the production in the Russian Federation of fuel for Iranian nuclear power stations will strengthen the ties between Moscow and Tehran and create a system in which they are interdependent. Washington, conversely, needs if possible to isolate Iran and to make it even more susceptible to outside pressure."

In the opinion of Ali Larijani, the chief Iranian negotiator for the nuclear program, the proposals of the six contain "positive elements" and the existing "unclear points" can be clarified with the aid of further consultations. Commenting on the Iranians' first reaction, US President George Bush said: "I want to resolve the Iran problem by diplomatic means.... Let's see whether the Iranians take the proposals seriously. They must make a choice." Bush says he takes the first statements from Tehran as a positive response.

The United States has also remarked that the Iranians have refrained from tough rhetoric. In part this was clearly the result of the six's subtle approach: Informed sources assert that on Tuesday Tehran was handed only a list of incentives while the paper with the potential consequences of a refusal was held back.

The six determined that Iran should back up its positive response to the proposals, opening the way to the start of formal negotiations on all the listed initiatives, by suspending uranium enrichment. This is essential for the IAEA inspectors to be able to do away with all doubts. During this moratorium, which will last for a specific time, the six undertake to provide fuel for the Iranian nuclear power stations (the first of these, in Bushehr, should be completed soon and a consignment of fuel for the station has been produced in Novosibirsk).

The Islamic Republic of Iran has several week to consider. US diplomats note that the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, scheduled for 15-17 July, could be a "natural deadline" for a response to the proposals. In the event of a negative response, the package approved in Vienna proposes examining the possibility of introducing sanctions against Iran via UN Security Council resolutions.

However, Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted yesterday, "at present there is no question in the Security Council of any sanctions against Iran." He said that "any steps which could be supported by Russia and the Security Council could apply solely to a situation in which Iran starts to act counter to its commitments under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty." The creation of a complete fuel cycle is not a violation of the treaty.

To remind you, so far Russia, which has the right of veto in the UN Security Council, has opposed the issue of a tough resolution regarding Iran. The statement made Tuesday in an interview with Fox News by US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is curious in this connection. He said that there is no unanimity among the Russian leadership over Iran's nuclear program. And the United States must try to support those people in Moscow who are as afraid of the nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran as Washington is.

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Iranian nuclear fuel program: time to make a choice
Pyotr Goncharov
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Tehran has been given several weeks to scrutinize a "far-reaching" package of incentives for Iran to stop its nuclear fuel program. This is how the White House sees the situation.

Iran was facing a "moment of truth," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "They need to make a choice. The international community needs to know if negotiation is a real option. ...Russia and China have signed on to the two paths."

She said that both paths agreed in Vienna, one leading Iran to international integration with incentives and another path toward isolation via various disincentives, were "quite robust."

Rice said that if Iran rejected the package, the international community would have to take the latter path.

"We need time to analyze the proposals, after which we will resume talks to attain a reasonable result," Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's National Security Council, said after Tehran talks with Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

Solana brought the proposals of the international community and was expected to make it clear to the Iranian authorities that if these last initiatives are rejected, Iran would choose the path toward total isolation.

The paradoxical situation around Iran's nuclear fuel program developed several years ago. Russian expert Alexei Arbatov said all sides in the Iranian crisis were right, in their own way, yet the situation was irrevocably moving toward a conflict.

Iran as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has the right to create its own nuclear technologies, and has declared as much. But the West has a number of questions to Iran on the expediency of some elements of its nuclear fuel program, which suggest that Iran wants to create nuclear weapons. The "Iranian knot" can be either untied by substantial mutual concessions, or cut.

However, the White House offered a mixed option combining incentives and sanctions.

Washington had adopted a harsh stand on the Iranian question but eventually agreed to certain concessions. In particular, it has accepted the Russian and Chinese proposal to omit from the draft resolution of the UN Security Council any reference to a provision in the UN Charter that permits the use of military force.

If Iran rejects the compromise offer, Washington will have a wide range of sanctions to choose from to push Iran into an economic, technological, financial and diplomatic isolation, allegedly with the wholehearted support of the international community.

On the other hand, sanctions were imposed on Iran back in 1979, when the shah was toppled. The probability of a partial or total isolation is a separate issue. What matters now is what Washington has offered to Tehran this time. The incentives should be stronger than the threatened sanctions, but maybe they are at least comparable?

When the international community discussed the package of sticks and carrots for Tehran, Flynt L. Leverett, a former high-ranking government official and currently a senior fellow of the Washington Brookings Institution (Foreign Policy Studies), who was in Moscow at the time, recalled the "Grand Bargain" negotiated by the Iranian government in 2003.

"The bargain, as spelled out by the Iranians, offered to accept a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, to rein in Iranian support for what the United States considered terrorist groups, cooperation with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and against al-Qaida, and to join a comprehensive security agreement with the countries of the Persian Gulf. This would include an agreement to exclude nuclear weapons, which in effect suggested that Iran was prepared to suspend its nuclear program," UPI's Martin Walker wrote on May 8.

"In return, Iran wanted full diplomatic recognition from the United States, along with a suspension of U.S. sanctions and an agreement to drop plans for regime change and support for groups opposed to the Iranian regime."

Walker writes: "This was a formal offer, transmitted through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran ... and then followed up by a senior Iranian general in further talks with U.S. officials on the sidelines of a conference in Athens. The U.S. officials involved were Mr. and Mrs. Flynt Leverett."

The current president of Iran will demand that the 2003 package be augmented with the right to nuclear R&D, including in the area of uranium enrichment. This is of vital significance for Iran, and not only because it wants the bomb.

Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister of Germany, writes in an article parts of which were reprinted in the popular Russian daily Izvestia the other day: "The [Iranian] problem is rooted in the Iranian regime's aspiration to be the main Islamic and regional power on a par with the most powerful states of the world."

We can assume that this time the "bargain" will most probably be made. It may become the moment of truth for Tehran, and will belatedly show to Washington how that country should be dealt with.

President Bush apparently liked Tehran's initial reaction to the package formulated by the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany. He said Tuesday: "It sounds like a positive step to me. ... I have said the United States will come and sit down at the table with them so long as they're willing to suspend their (uranium) enrichment in a verifiable way."

But this is not the end of the story. Tehran has proved more than once that the saying, "Politics is the art of the possible" is not the unassailable truth to it.

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Russia should bargain with United States over cooperation with Iran - experts
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

What the Papers say - Kommersant

The White House has sent one more warning signal to the Kremlin on the eve of the July G8 summit.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Wednesday that Russia's adamant stand against sanctions on Iran was the position of the "pro-Iranian" group in the Kremlin. Washington prefers to pretend that this is not the position of President Vladimir Putin, but of a part of the Russian establishment, and is therefore negotiable.

Alexander Sharavin, the director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis: It is true that we are divided on this problem. For example, the economic block openly says it is against close cooperation with Iran. This should become an issue for tough bargaining. We can expect an offer of big arms deliveries to Afghanistan, or military supplies to the European market, which is closed to Russia now.
Irina Khakamada, the leader of the Our Choice party: In my opinion, Russia will support the U.S. promise to build a safe light-water reactor in return for the termination of [Iran's] uranium enrichment program. But the U.S. should be prepared to reciprocate by facilitating Russian contracts for the construction of nuclear power plants in other countries.

Nikolai Petrov of the Carnegie Moscow Center: I hope - for differences are unavoidable - that there is a battle on between the "tough" and the "soft" security-related groups (siloviki) in the Kremlin. The hard-liners are against making compromises with the Untied States, and the moderates are in favor of it, because they think this would facilitate Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization and solve problems in the post-Soviet [Central] Asian states. This is a normal stand, because we are upholding our own, not American, interests.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia: Fifteen years of friendship with the Americans have given us military bases in Central Asia and "orange" revolutions. The U.S. wants to control Caspian oil and to squeeze Russia out of the region. No other country has done as much for the United States as Russia, but we get only criticism in return.

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Sometimes Putin's Point Is Found in the Analysis
Maxim Glikin
Moscow Times
(for personal use only)

During a meeting with journalists last week, President Vladimir Putin was asked whether Russia would support sanctions if Iran refused to halt its uranium enrichment program. "If my grandmother had certain sexual attributes, she would be my grandfather," Putin replied, demonstrating the unsuitability of conditional clauses in political discourse. The journalist never got a clear answer, but he was present at the coining of Putin's latest aphorism.

Putin's state-of-the-nation address contained a similar pearl, about the "wolf that eats and listens to no one." One polling agency asked people whom they thought Putin had in mind. A majority said the United States. Many thought the wolf referred to NATO. And a few shrewd respondents said that big business was the target.

No one today is interested in direct statements by Russia's leaders. Analysts focus instead on Aesopian language, Freudian slips and risque turns of phrase. During the Soviet era, Kremlin-watchers assessed the political situation using the arrangement of officials atop the Lenin Mausoleum during parades. In a similar way, the decoding of Putin's latest nugget can yield more food for thought than an hour-long speech.

At a meeting with his advisory council on sports and physical fitness last week, for example, Putin remarked that "no matter what we undertake" in this area, "we end up with the NKVD," an earlier name for the KGB. This comment could have been interpreted as an expression of Putin's displeasure with the ambitions of the siloviki, and an early indication of his intention to dismiss Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov. This only underscores the importance of reading between the lines.

Psychoanalysts note Putin's frequent use of vulgar or earthy images in response to sharp questions. Who could forget his offer to have a French journalist circumcised "so that nothing grows back." And now he's talking about his grandmother's "sexual attributes." Psychoanalyst Alexander Kantor notes the pronounced "phallic emphasis," which suggests an unconscious desire to demonstrate power, masculinity, aggression and superiority.

In the case of Iran, the battle is complicated by the fact that the ruling elite cannot decide who the adversary is -- the "wolves" in the United States or the "lambs" in Iran. After all, armed with nuclear weapons, the lambs would be worse than the predators. As with Yugoslavia and Iraq, Russia finds itself between grandmother and grandfather, as Putin might have put it. We don't want to be the grandma, but we just can't seem to be the grandpa.

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The United States Divides the Kremlin Into pro- and anti-Iranians
(for personal use only)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told the Fox News network yesterday that there is a schism in the Kremlin over Iran. Explaining why Russia is so ardently opposed to sanctions against Iran, Bolton said that that was the position of the “pro-Iranian” faction within the Kremlin. Obviously, Washington is preparing for the St. Petersburg G8 summit and pressing Russian President Vladimir Putin to listen to the “sensible” part of the Russian leadership.
The Schism that John Sees

“If we are so concerned that Iran may be making nuclear weapons, why are the Russians completely unconcerned? They are even helping the Iranians.” Fox anchor John Gibson asked. The broadcast was dedicated to Iran – the world community's offers of technology for the development of the peaceful atom, financial aid and even admittance to the WTO, in exchange for abandoning uranium enrichment. Fox News is the main mouthpiece of the U.S. administration and U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton was a guest in the studio.

The ambassador's answer was unexpected. He told of how passionate arguments over Iran were going in within the Kremlin right now. According to Bolton, several high Russian officials are concerned that, not far at all from the Russian border, there is a state that could soon have nuclear arms. That group is inclined to apply pressure on Iran, Bolton says. The American administration has to do everything it can to see that that point of view prevails in the Kremlin. But there is a second, pro-Iranian group of Kremlin officials as well, who point out that Iran is causing a lot of problems for the United States, many more than for Russia. “That is a dangerous game,” Bolton noted.

The Schism that Everyone Sees

Russian-American negotiations on Iran in recent months resemble a game. Last September while in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the American president in decisive terms that it was impermissible for Iran to create an atomic bomb and that negotiations with Iran were very difficult because they were stalling for time.

Furthermore, Putin said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looked determined to defend Iran's atomic program to the bitter end. U.S. President George W. Bush was even left at a loss for words, since Putin had told him everything that he was ready to insist on.

In November, the two leaders net again in Busan, South Korea. After the negotiations, advisor to the Russian president Sergey Prikhodko stated that the Russian and American positions on Iran were practically identical. In just a few weeks, however, rumors emerged in the international press that Russia was planning to sell Iran Top-M1 ballistic missiles. Washington was shocked. Moscow denied the rumors for several weeks – until secretary of the Iranian Security Council Ali Larijani confirmed that the deal had already taken place. After that, there was no sense in making more denials, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assumed the role of apologist for military-technical cooperation with Iran. The last spoke about that subject a week ago while on a visit to Germany. “Russia will fulfill the contract to supply Top-M1 ballistic missiles to Iran,” he said and forcefully insisted on “a political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis,” since “all international experience shows that sanctions, as a rule, are ineffective.”

Another example of Russian-American understanding is the talks on the “red line” that Iran may not cross. On a visit to Moscow last year, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that that line for the United States was the enrichment of uranium, which would make it possible for Iran to create an atomic bomb. No one disagreed with her in Moscow but agreed that that was unacceptable. But Iran unsealed its research center at Natanz and began enriching uranium. The U.S. said that the red line had been crossed, and Russia pretended that nothing had happened and continued calling for a “diplomatic and political” settlement.

The U.S. long ago noticed the difference between Russia's words and actions, of course. Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation expressed his surprise last year after a meeting with Putin, Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov that “on the Iran subject they were telling mutually exclusive things: from one side the Russian position is close to the Europeans', but from the other side the Kremlin is against passing the dossier to the UN Security Council.” American media long ago assumed the presence of two groups within the Kremlin with opposing views. Last autumn, before the key IAEA vote on introducing the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council, American media seriously suggested that the Russian position would depend on the outcome of a standoff between the security agencies and “liberals” in Moscow. The security forces (which are mainly represented by Ivanov), the main priority of foreign policy is the arms trade with Iran, which means that Russia has to oppose the involvement of the UN in the Iranian crisis to preserve its profitable weapons contracts. The “liberals” value good relations with the U.S. and prefer not to risk the benefits that are derived from that friendship – admittance to the WTO, for example. Thus, the “liberals” were in favor of reporting Iran to the UN Security Council. Whether such arguments took place or not, Russia abstained from that vote.

The Schism that Isn't

Although Bolton is far from the first to suggest that the Kremlin is far from monolith within, he is the first American official to say so. His statement caused surprise and annoyance in Moscow.

A high Kremlin source told Kommersant that “If he said that, Mr. Bolton has a great lack of communication with the White House. If he didn't sit in New York and didn't turn the tribunal of the UN into a circus, but went to Washington more often, maybe they would tell him what Bush and Putin are really talking about lately. As a matter of fact, we have agreed with him on practical steps on Iran to the slightest details. And Bolton looks as though he still lives in the categories of the Vietnam War with his discussion of hawks and doves.”

When asked if there had been disagreement in the Kremlin over its position on Iran before that position was officially formulated, the source stated that “We have a mechanism for the collective development of decisions. Within the framework of the development of decisions, there may be any kind of discussions. But in this case, there were no particular discussions.”

In the Russian Foreign Ministry, Kommersant was also told that there was no evidence of a difference over relations with Iran in the Russian leadership. “And there is no difference of opinion over Iran in the Foreign Ministry either,” the source added.

Press secretary of the U.S. mission to the UN Ben Chang told Kommersant yesterday that Bolton's words should not be taken literally. The ambassador did not name any names in his statement, but simply expressed the hope that the Iranian crisis was being discussed in Moscow. Thus, his statement may be the latest signal sent to Moscow by Washington before the St. Petersburg G8 summit.

Washington, which is dissatisfied with Moscow's position on Iran, is pretending that that is not Putin's position, but the position of part of the Russian establishment and therefore not finalized. The White House is hinting that it will give Moscow another chance before negotiations and is suggesting that Putin join with a more constructive group within the Russian administration.

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B.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

The fewer the better, Nuclear disarmament
(for personal use only)

THOUGH not yet a breakthrough, the news from the proliferation front this week was brighter. Javier Solana, the European Union's quasi-foreign minister, flew to Iran with an extraordinary offer. If the mullahs agreed to suspend their nerve-jangling nuclear enrichment and reprocessing, they would be granted not only various economic rewards but their first chance for more than two decades to hold direct talks with America. If they refuse, they may face sanctions in the UN Security Council. For once, the mood music from Washington and Tehran was almost harmonious (see page 61).

But making the world safer from nukes is not a job just for the suspected proliferators. The official nuclear powers—America, Russia, Britain, France and China—need to acknowledge something they like to forget: that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was to some extent erected on a fiction.

In return for nobody else joining their club, the five promised to work to get rid of their nuclear weapons, as part of a process of general disarmament. That seems as far off now as it ever was (see pages 23-25). And the belief among many governments that the five are not holding up their end of the bargain exposes them to charges of hypocrisy, adds to the NPT's woes and makes it harder to encourage the three treaty outsiders—India, Pakistan and Israel—to curb their nuclear arsenals.

With the best will in the real world, everyone knew that getting rid of nuclear arms was never going to be easy. What counts for governments who understand this is that the nuclear haves find ways of moving purposefully in the right general direction. As the cold-war negotiations showed, curbing arms races and cutting nuclear tallies (even to numbers far from zero) is in the interests of all, the haves included. It still is, for the same reason that these weapons have been around for so long: the world is an unpredictable place. America and Russia are these days not the post-cold-war chums they once hoped to be. America and China, though conscious of the need to rub along peaceably, suspect each other's intentions, especially over Taiwan. All could be drawn into regional rivalries in the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia if these turn overtly nuclear. The dangers should not be exaggerated. But tighter controls make for a safer world, come what may.

That means pushing nuclear numbers as low as possible. By 2012 America and Russia have agreed they will deploy no more than 1,700-2,200 strategic warheads each, down two-thirds from the number in 2002, when their agreement was sealed. Yet of the realistic threats facing both countries, including from a still growing Chinese arsenal, there are none that could not readily be deterred by a lot fewer. And if Russia would cut its thousands of tactical nuclear weapons, America could get rid of the few hundred it still keeps. Meanwhile, both have plans to modernise their remaining weapons. It would help avoid any danger of a new arms race if newer warheads meant fewer too.

If overall nuclear numbers can be driven down further, Britain and France also need to put their weapons on the negotiating table. As for China, it is the most secretive of the official five. In cold-war times it used to say breezily that it would join arms-control talks with the other nuclear powers when America and Russia cut their arsenals by half. When they did, China fell silent. Yet more transparency over its nuclear plans could help draw India and Pakistan into a more stabilising web of constraint in a dangerous neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, America's refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (China has not ratified it either) makes it hard to press India, Pakistan and Israel to do so. A treaty banning the production of fissile material for bombs has been stuck in the UN's Conference on Disarmament for a decade. Though India claims to support such a treaty, its weapons plans clearly count on the impasse continuing. America unwisely missed a chance to make a fiss-ban a condition of its recent proposed controversial deal with India on civilian co-operation.

Tighter stewardship of fewer nuclear weapons and the technologies and materials that go into them will not, on its own, usher in a nuclear-free world. But to most these would be welcome steps that could help turn the recent chain reaction of suspicion and rivalry that is damaging the NPT into one that could improve the security of all. That is surely the least that the official nuclear powers owe the rest.

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Don't forget those other 27,000 nukes
Hans Blix
International Herald Tribune
(for personal use only)

STOCKHOLM During the Cold War, it proved possible to reach many significant agreements on disarmament. Why does it seem so impossible now, when the great powers no longer feel threatened by one another?

Almost all the talk these days is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers meet again and again, concerned that Iran has enriched a few milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level.

Some want to start waving the stick immediately. They are convinced that Iran will eventually violate its commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to forego nuclear weapons.

While it's desirable that the foreign ministers talk about Iran, they don't seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other states, and that many of these are on hair-trigger alert.

Nor do the ministers seem to realize that the determination they express to reduce the nuclear threat is diminished by their failure to take seriously their commitment, made within the framework of the NPT, to move toward the reduction and elimination of their own nuclear arsenals.

The stagnation in global disarmament is only part of the picture. In the United States, military authorities want new types of nuclear weapons; in Britain, the government is considering the replacement, at tremendous cost, of one generation of nuclear weapons by another - as defense against whom?

Last year a UN summit of heads of states and governments failed to adopt a single recommendation on how to attain further disarmament or prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For nearly a decade, work at the disarmament conference in Geneva has stood still. It is time for a revival.

One can well understand that policymakers in the United States, as elsewhere, feel disappointment and concern that the global instruments against nuclear proliferation - the NPT and international inspection - have proved to be insufficient to stop Iraq, North Korea, Libya and possibly Iran on their way to nuclear weapons.

This may help explain their inclination to use the enormous military potential of the U.S. as either a threat or a direct means of preventing proliferation.

However, after three years of a costly and criticized war in Iraq to destroy weapons that did not exist, doubts are beginning to arise about the military method, and a greater readiness may emerge to try global cooperation once again to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

A report with 60 concrete recommendations to the states of the world on what they could do to free themselves from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, worked out by an independent international commission of which I was the chairman, is now available at

Apart from proposals for measures to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to more states and terrorists, the report points to two measures that could turn current concerns about renewed arms races into new hopes for common security. In both cases, success would depend on the United States.

A U.S. ratification of the comprehensive test-ban treaty would, in all likelihood, lead other states to ratify and bring all such tests to an end, making the development of nuclear weapons more difficult. Leaving the treaty in limbo, as has been done since 1996, is to risk new weapons testing.

The second measure would be to conclude an internationally verified agreement to cut off the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes.

This would close the tap everywhere for more weapons material and would be of special importance if an agreement on nuclear cooperation with the United States were to give India access to more uranium than it has at the moment.

It is positive that the U.S. has recently presented a draft cutoff agreement, but hard to understand why this agreement does not include international inspection. Do the drafters think that the recent record of national intelligence indicates that international verification is superfluous?

Hans Blix is a former chief UN weapons inspector. This article, first published in the Swedish magazine Fokus, was distributed by Tribune Media Services.
STOCKHOLM During the Cold War, it proved possible to reach many significant agreements on disarmament. Why does it seem so impossible now, when the great powers no longer feel threatened by one another?

Almost all the talk these days is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers meet again and again, concerned that Iran has enriched a few milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level.

Some want to start waving the stick immediately. They are convinced that Iran will eventually violate its commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to forego nuclear

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Getting the Tridents ready for ... what?
Andrei Kislyakov
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

If you see a gun hanging on the wall at the beginning of a play, famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov used to say, you can be sure someone is going to get shot in the end. The United States seems to be doing just that, even with a risk of shooting itself in the foot.

In a surprising and otherwise inexplicable move, the U.S. Air Force Space Command and DARPA, the defense research center, have sought congressional approval for the deployment of conventional warheads on part of America's Trident 2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The basic reason for the existence of nuclear forces in the modern world is, paradoxically, the extremely low probability of their use. As nuclear weapons became ever better protected and ever more efficient and lethal, political leaders on both sides of the global divide that used to dominate the world stage gradually came to the idea of having their nuclear triads as a deterrent that should never be used.

True, that by no means meant wars became impossible. Nuclear as well as non-nuclear states have often engaged in conventional warfare, increasingly focusing on missile technology as a key factor of battlefield success. Here is a short list of most prominent recent wars.

1980 - with the Soviets already stuck in Afghanistan, Iraq invades Iran on September 9 in a conflict that will last for nearly eight years.

1982 - on April 2, the U.K. and Argentina start unprecedented technologically innovative military action, including satellite surveillance, on the Falklands. On August 6, Israel launches its Operation Peace for the Galilee in Lebanon.

1991 - Kuwait action against Saddam (Operation Desert Storm).

1999 - the NATO bombing and subsequent invasion of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force).

2001 - the Allied invasion of Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).

Since 2003 - the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom).

For the U.S., more conflicts seem to be in the pipeline. While it is rejecting a military option against Iran and has to keep an eye on anti-American leaders like Hugo Chaves of Venezuela, organized terrorist networks are closing in on nuclear stockpiles and infrastructure. In such an environment, making good use of what will otherwise rust without action - fitted with a non-nuclear warhead of course - might seem a good idea. Until such a change of purpose has to confront military and political reality on the ground, at least.

Strategic weapons are designed and deployed to kill strategic targets. Strategic targets - key military installations, capitals of states, energy infrastructure sites etc. - are well known and as a rule stationary. This, on the one hand, allows the military to assign each missile its own target, but on the other makes re-targeting a lengthy and complicated procedure, exactly as it would be each time a missile had to be redirected against a newly built terrorist camp or something. This nullifies their short approach time, the key advantage of deploying missiles onboard submarines.

Former U.S. defense secretaries Harold Brown and James Schlesinger have campaigned in The Washington Post (May 22, Page A17, "A Missile Strike Option We Need") last month for the deployment of four individually targetable conventional warheads on one or two of the Trident D5s carried onboard each of the submarines carrying them. If this is true, then one might wonder which targets the U.S. military will be assigning to the other three re-entry vehicles if, as the former officials said, the terrorist target to be killed was a hijacked transport vessel carrying a nuclear bomb. Going for four IRVs, rather than a single warhead, implies that you have identified targets for all the munitions. A city hosting an enemy command post? A stationary missile deployment site? A nuclear power plant? Just anything.

The more so, the authors themselves say, "the new weapon would probably not be effective against most hardened targets, say, missile silos, or deeply buried targets such as command posts." This means you can kill a hundred unsuspecting people in a city, or reduce an NPP to rubble, causing a local environmental disaster, but cannot destroy a military or just a well-protected target. Calculations corroborate that.

The Trident 2's throw weight is 2,270 kg, where explosive charges account for no more than a ton, the rest going to the re-entry engines, sensors, avionics, guidance system etc. This leaves a conventional Trident warhead with 250 kg of effective payload, 200 kg below the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile, which at a CPU of at least 120 m effectively denies Tridents any firepower to speak of. Accuracy upgrade is possible of course - though at a cost that will probably take a separate congressional approval - but even then a conventional strike will not eliminate a nuclear-protected warhead of an operational ballistic and/or cruise missile, should it end up in the hands of a terrorist network.

Already unwise militarily, deployment of conventional warheads on the Tridents is also inadvisable politically, because as Russian Chief of Staff Yury Baluevsky put it, "This might result in irretraceable responses from other nuclear weapons states who will not be able to identify where the destination of the just launched ballistic missile is and whether this is a nuclear [or a conventional] warhead they are dealing with."

"Our American partners have said these [missiles] might be used against bin Laden, while what they suggest is in fact an overly expensive and ineffective solution," the Russian general said.

Langley has already made a good story of showing off a Trident rifle - though an ineffective and very dangerous one. Wonder who is going to get shot in the end then.

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The long, long half-life
(for personal use only)

The five countries officially recognised as having nuclear weapons are all committed to giving them up. Why don't they?

“I FELT as if there had been an earthquake beneath my feet,” was Margaret Thatcher's recollection of the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. What shocked Britain's “iron lady”, astonished the watching world and startled the summiteers themselves was how close the leaders of the hitherto battling superpowers had seemed to come to agreeing to give up all their nuclear weapons.

The heady moment passed. Yet why should the vision of nuclear disarmament have seemed so shocking? Why does achieving it still seem so far away? And what, if anything, might make its prospects brighter in future?

Although they seem to be objects of desire for such countries as Iran and North Korea, nuclear weapons are supposed to be on their way out. The five officially recognised nuclear powers—America, Russia, Britain, France and China—are all legally committed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to good-faith negotiations “on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear-arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”. All who sign the NPT are also treaty-bound to pursue “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.

Some believe it is quixotic to expect much nuclear disarmament until all non-nuclear countries have started to turn their swords, tanks, missiles and chemical and biological weapons into ploughshares. Nuclear weapons, they note, helped keep a peace of sorts during the cold war (a nuclear war fought between such powerfully armed adversaries would have been tantamount to mutual suicide). So there is no reason to believe today's world would be safer without the bomb, say the sceptics.

Others would ban the bomb and damn the consequences. Anti-nuclear campaigners have long argued that nuclear weapons are not just legally destined for the scrapheap (a judgment upheld by the International Court of Justice in 1996), but morally abhorrent, too, and uniquely so. Moreover, if it would be immoral to use them (the court split on that), say the disarmers, it would be immoral to threaten to use them—so hanging on to them, even as a deterrent of last resort, is unacceptable.

Nuclear disarmament has never been adopted as a practical policy by any of the nuclear five. But they did agree in principle in 1995 that steps towards that end should not have to await disarmament of the more universal sort. That is because their promises are part of a bargain that lies at the heart of the non-proliferation treaty. The treaty recognises that five countries have nuclear weapons (all had them before 1970, when the NPT came into force, though France and China signed it only in 1992), but obliges them to give them up eventually. For their part, the have-nots have agreed not to seek nuclear weapons, but can in return expect help in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

But the bargain is now looking shaky. Though the NPT is all but universal, the three countries that have refused to join it—India, Pakistan and Israel—are now nuclear-armed. India's bomb tests in 1998, and then Pakistan's, dashed hopes that nuclear weapons would simply fade into post-cold-war irrelevance.

Of cheats and profiteers

Confidence in the NPT itself has also been undermined. North Korea claims to have pulled out in 2003, having been caught cheating twice, and says it has built several bombs. Iran claims not to want any, but lied for 20 years to inspectors about its uranium and plutonium activities (which can be used for generating electricity, or abused for bomb-making), leading many to suspect that its intentions are far from peaceful. Both tapped a well-stocked nuclear blackmarket, centred on Pakistan's former chief nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, that also supplied Libya and possibly others.

A report this month from an international commission led by Hans Blix, who directed weapons inspections in Iraq before the 2003 war, blames the strains on the continuing sharp division between the haves and the have-nots: unless the nuclear powers show themselves more ready to give up their weapons, it argues, others will try to crash the club. The commission calls for a world summit at the UN to give a new push to disarmament, non-proliferation and efforts to prevent terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction.

Certainly, the NPT's five-yearly reviews have become bad-tempered affairs. The disarmers blame the nuclear powers, particularly America. The Bush administration, they claim, is reneging on promises made by all the nuclear five. It refuses to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which all five have signed, though China too has yet to ratify it. America supports a treaty to end the production of fissile materials, such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium, for bomb-making, but without an international inspection effort, preferring to rely instead on members policing each other. America has also been making plans for new bombs.

Might disarmament by any or even all of the nuclear five affect the calculations of an Iran or North Korea—let alone India, Pakistan or Israel? Most nuclear politics is about regional rivalries. And in a “nuclear-free” world, or even one with very few bombs, successful cheating would be at even more of a premium.

That said, the haves do provide a fig-leaf for those who want a bomb of their own. India has in the past been candid about its hopes of using its nuclear status to win it a permanent seat on the UN Security Council alongside the official nuclear five. Yet at the same time the actions of those who would bend, break or reject the treaty make it easier for existing weapons states to hang on to their nuclear toys.

If these do not seem auspicious times for nuclear disarmament, what of the NPT promises? The old nuclear-arms race between America and Russia had virtually ended even before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and since then nuclear stockpiles have shrunk dramatically. So long as such weapons exist at all, countries that have them will want to maintain their safety, reliability and effectiveness—all the more so as their numbers shrink. Accordingly, all of the nuclear five have modernised the weapons they have kept, or are thinking of doing so. That offends disarmers.

The cuts have nonetheless been deep. During the cold war America and Russia had thousands of nuclear warheads: America built 70,000 between 1945 and 2000, the Soviet Union 55,000. Under the Moscow treaty signed in 2002, George Bush and Vladimir Putin agreed to reduce their countries' arsenals to 1,700-2,200 deployed strategic warheads apiece by 2012 (see table 1). Neither side has an interest in restoring cold-war numbers, and Russia would have found it economically crippling to try. Disarmers and arms-control purists, however, dislike the Moscow treaty because it has no verification provisions. Neither side, they point out, is obliged to destroy the warheads taken out of service. And in theory the deep cuts required could be reversed after 2012.

Yet they could also go deeper still. Russia now claims to rely more on nuclear weapons (including tactical ones that America has all but abandoned) for its defence, to make up for deficiencies in its cashapped armed forces. That is troubling, but does not preclude further reductions, since potential targets are fewer. Critics did not like the Bush administration's plans for research into nuclear bunker-busters when they were announced a few years ago. But Congress has cut the funds. America is also working on a “reliable replacement warhead”, more robust and easier to maintain than its predecessors, for use in its remaining arsenal. If it works, though, the number of non-deployed warheads kept as spares could be sharply cut.

Britain and France, like America and Russia, have been cutting, too. Of the official five, China is the only one still adding to its nuclear force, albeit from a low base.

Nor have the official nuclear powers simply sat smugly on their bombs. Extended deterrence, the readiness to shelter non-nuclear allies under a friendly nuclear umbrella, has helped keep proliferation in check—hence Mrs Thatcher's alarm when it looked as though Reagan was about to strip NATO of American nuclear protection. Of the countries that could have built a bomb (see table 2), many simply chose not to try. Others over the years had their arms twisted, mostly by America.

The disarmament ayatollahs

For all that, officials in the firing line complain that no matter how low America and the others go, the “disarmament ayatollahs” will never be satisfied. Well, they would be if the number were zero, comes the riposte, and that is the number that the nuclear five have committed themselves to, one day, under the NPT. Let's get going.

Here the difficulties arise. Most governments recognise that the nuclear powers are not simply going to give up their weapons. The basic know-how needed to build a bomb is by now 60 years old, and cannot be disinvented. Nor does the experience of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, which outlaw these weapons, offer great reassurance. Of those that have signed these conventions (and not all countries have), several are suspected of cheating.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council, supposedly the place of final resort to deal with threats from all types of weapons of mass destruction, has proved feeble in dealing with those who break treaties. Iraq ran rings round it for much of the 1990s. North Korea has cheated and flounced out of the NPT, so far without penalty. Now Iran is proving another difficult test.

Given this experience, few governments, whether reluctant or enthusiastic disarmers, have ever bent their minds to working out whether it might be feasible to get rid of the bomb safely. All seem to prefer to trade well-worn slogans.

Signs of seriousness might start with renewed attempts to tackle the threats to peace and security that drive regional arms races. They would also have to include efforts to work towards the creation of zones that would be free of weapons of mass destruction. The Middle East and South Asia would be two early candidates.

Work has been going on since the early 1990s to secure nuclear materials in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries, but the effort would need to be stepped up and extended worldwide. The attempts to block illicit transfers of nuclear materials and technology would have to be intensified. Surplus weapons would need to be dismantled more speedily. And some way would have to be found to reassure the have-nots that the haves were reducing the role, as well as the numbers, of nuclear weapons in their defence policies.

Difficulties, and more difficulties

Even many a nuclear enthusiast would agree that such steps would make today's world safer. But much more would be needed to make tomorrow's world safe for the much deeper cuts in nuclear weapons that might precede their total abolition.

One idea for binding nuclear and non-nuclear states into a web of controls and reassurance is a Nuclear Weapons Convention, along the lines of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, setting out progressive steps towards an eventual ban. These would need to include obligations not to develop, test or produce new weapons; a transitional moratorium on use; a timetable for dismantling weapons; an obligation on all states to prevent the transfer of nuclear skills and materials; and a programme for converting or shutting down completely all weapons-related facilities. As with UN Resolution 1540, which obliges governments to pass laws to prevent weapons of mass destruction and related materials reaching terrorists, the rules would have to apply not just to states, but to companies and individuals as well.

The practical difficulties in negotiating such a convention would be enormous. Just look at the complexities involved in bringing the CTBT into force. In all, 44 countries with nuclear-power or research reactors, including India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, must ratify the treaty before it can take effect. It is not just America's reluctance that is causing the delay—though, as the Blix commission rightly says, that ratification would trigger others.

The next logical bit of legal scaffolding for a nuclear-freer world would be a fissile-material ban. In theory almost every country supports such a ban (though some, like India, might not mind if the talks dragged on for years). The nuclear five are all thought to have stopped producing uranium and plutonium for weapons; only China refuses to say so publicly. But talks in the UN Conference on Disarmament have stalled over efforts to press America into space and disarmament discussions. Verification concerns are another blow. America argues that a credible verification regime for the treaty would be too costly and intrusive for anyone to accept.

Others disagree. But if governments are ever to generate the will to consider steps towards a nuclear zero, the devil at each stage will be in such verification technicalities. The lower the numbers go, the greater the need for confidence that all are indeed cutting their weapons as promised.

All weapons states have experience of dismantling warheads and disposing of their innards. But doing that to the satisfaction of all without unintentionally giving away weapons secrets would need careful preparation (so far only the British government has published thoughts on how this might be done). The difficulties affect not only the nuclear states. All other states that have produced potentially weapons-usable uranium and plutonium would have to account for what they had done with the stuff too. Only relatively small quantities—not more than 25 kilos of highly enriched uranium, or eight kilos of plutonium—are required for a bomb.

Such accounting is not easy. South Africa had secretly built several bombs and then dismantled them before joining the NPT in 1991. It had every reason to co-operate fully with the inspectors, but still found it hard to account for every last scrap of material. The inspectors faced other problems in Iraq in the 1990s, when Saddam Hussein deliberately sought to deceive them. And not just America, Russia, Britain, France and China, but also India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—and others that have fallen under suspicion of weapons dabbling—would have to be cajoled to allow fine-tooth-comb inspections.

Countries that have signed the NPT also have the right (so long as they keep its anti-proliferation rules) to enjoy the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy, a right Iran claims justifies its uranium and plutonium “fuel-making”. But beyond a certain point—one that Iran is rapidly approaching—the only difference between a civilian and a military nuclear programme is one of intent. Given that difficulty, a report last year on “Universal Compliance” by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think-tank in Washington, DC, wondered whether even fuel-making for nuclear reactors would be feasible in a world without nuclear weapons.

Putting it another way, can disarmament ever work in a world where potentially weapons-usable technologies are scattered around with civilian labels on them? Ways are being explored—through market mechanisms, international fuel banks and the like—to ensure that countries with civilian nuclear reactors can receive reliable supplies of fuel without the need to make it themselves. Proliferation-safer (none is entirely secure) reactor designs are also being developed. Yet solutions to many of these problems will be many years in coming.

Chemicals, bugs and missiles, too

Human ingenuity may yet find answers to these technical questions. But could a transition to a nuclear-freer world be safely managed, politically and militarily?

Since verification will never be flawless, a consensus would have to be forged and then relied on to enforce better compliance with the NPT, a test ban, a fissile-materials control regime, and the conventions banning both chemical and biological weapons. For if these supporting treaties cannot be upheld, there is little chance that a nuclear ban will ever be considered. NPT outliers will also have to be prevailed upon not just to halt but to roll back their weapons production. And a moratorium on the use of nuclear weapons is unlikely to inspire confidence without one on missile testing—and the eventual elimination of missiles from arsenals too.

Then there is the problem of what would constitute zero. Some argue that a residual nuclear capability would always be needed to defend against a breakdown in controls and a break-out by one or more countries. In an imperfect world, deterrence of some sort would be necessary, if only to avoid making it safe for the sort of mass conventional warfare that blighted the first half of the 20th century. But how might this be done, and by whom?

Without convincing answers to such questions, nuclear disarmament, a dream for some, looks more like a nightmare to others. There are incremental steps that can be taken towards that goal. But simply demanding it, without a readiness to tackle the practical problems raised by it, ensures that it will never happen.

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Russian FM Lavrov Says US Weapon Programs Destructive to Nonproliferation Regime
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U.S. weapons development projects could upset the nonproliferation regime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"U.S. plans to construct low yield nuclear warheads and to arm ballistic missiles on Trident submarines and the intercontinental ballistic missile force on the whole with conventional warheads is a cause for concern," Lavrov said at a State Duma session on Wednesday.

"These projects could be destabilizing in their nature. They could lower the threshold of weapon use and have a destructive effect on the nuclear nonproliferation regime," Lavrov said.

"The United States and its allies are considering the deployment of missile defense elements in Eastern Europe, supposedly in Poland and the Czech Republic, and it is motivating this by (the need to counter) Iranian nuclear missiles," Lavrov said.

"In the future, this means that Russian ballistic missiles could be intercepted early. There is the danger that the planned missile defense silos might be used for the secret deployment of ballistic missile weapons," he said.

"We are maintaining substantive dialogue with the United States on all these problems and all these so-called disunities to clarify its motives, and we are simultaneously expressing our concerns and will seek to have our interests duly taken into account," he said.

"In general, our relationship with Washington is an issue of special attention in the areas of security and disarmament, and it has strategic significance for preserving the strategic balance of forces and preventing the arms race from reaching a new technological level," he said.

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C.  Global Threat Reduction Initiative

Romania: SCN Pitesti finishes conversion of TRIGA reactor
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The conversion of the TRIGA research reactor has been completed in Pitesti (north-west of Bucharest), an event the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) marked by organising a scientific meeting whose works started in Bucharest and went on at the Nuclear Research Branch (SCN), in Pitesti Colibasi, ACT Media news agency reports.

SCN Technical Manager Marin Ciocanescu presented the conversion stages through which the TRIGA research nuclear reactor went and the testing facilities for the coming 20 years, which use enriched nuclear fuel, without an impact on the environment The reactor's conversion design is part of the non-proliferation programme the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been carrying out on funds from the US Department of Energy and having a special importance for Romania, considerably contributing to the improvement of the nuclear fuel and testing the research reactors within the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).

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D.  Proliferation Initiative

RI to join U.S.-led security arrangement
Tiarma Siboro
Jakarta Post
(for personal use only)

Indonesia will likely join the United States-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on weapons of mass destruction, the defense minister says.

The voluntary agreement, which is non-binding and can be ratified in stages, unites member countries in fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

At least 85 countries have ratified the agreement, including the Netherlands, Australia, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Singapore.

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Thursday the country's possible involvement in the multinational security agreement would not be permanent.

Indonesia's readiness to join the initiative was discussed by Juwono and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during the latter's visit to Jakarta on Tuesday.

Juwono said Indonesia was considering joining the pact because the U.S. as a world superpower played an important part in global economics and international security.

"There is no option for us but to join the agreement. However, we will participate only in an ad hoc manner and Indonesia will only be involved in several aspects -- not all of the initiatives.

"We hope our involvement will benefit us, by improving our military capacity to maintain security in the Strait of Malacca," Juwono said.

Under the agreement, he said, the U.S. would provide equipment and technical assistance to Indonesia, while the country would deal with security measures in the field.

The U.S. began campaigning for security agreement after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States. It was formally announced by President George W. Bush in May 2003.

However, hard-line Muslim groups in the country oppose any government moves to get closer to the U.S.

During the one-day visit, Rumsfeld discussed other security issues, including cooperation to combat piracy in the Strait of Malacca.

The U.S. is worried that terrorists could use the strait to launch attacks on oil tankers by employing local pirates.

It worries such a scenario would create havoc in the world economy, given the importance of the trade lane.

Three littoral states -- Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore -- regularly conduct patrols across the water territory.

The U.S. had offered to send forces into the area to help secure the strait. While Singapore welcomed the idea, Indonesia and Malaysia rejected it.

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E.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

Sebastian Sprenger
Inside the Pentagon
(for personal use only)

Construction at a U.S.-funded facility to destroy Soviet-era chemical weapons at Shchuch'ye, Russia, is behind schedule, and the delay could endanger Defense Department plans to have the plant operational by 2009, according to a May 31 Government Accountability Office report.

The Shchuch'ye facility, located in south-central Russia, is part of Washington's Cooperative Threat Reduction program. The effort aims to help Russia and other formerly Soviet countries secure and destroy weapons of mass destruction produced during the Cold War.

The Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency manages the implementation of CTR programs, and the agency is using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the contract manager for the Shchuch'ye project. The corps, in turn, has selected Parsons Global Services to administer subcontracts for the design and construction to Russian companies.

"Although DOD has made visible progress over the past [two] years in constructing the [Shchuch'ye plant], it continues to face numerous challenges that threaten the project's schedule and cost," congressional auditors conclude in their report.

In particular, construction of the main weapons destruction building is delayed because bids by Russian contractors to do the work were either incomplete or "excessively high," according to the report.

The site's administration building, crucial for the eventual destruction process, is also behind schedule because one of the Russian subcontractors went bankrupt last year after it was discovered that a senior executive there had embezzled millions of dollars, the report states.

As a result, DOD's estimate to turn over the Shchuch'ye complex to the Russian government in 2009 may be "optimistic," the auditors write.

Parsons, too, is at fault for the slow progress, GAO says after reviewing the company's performance reports.

"Our analysis revealed serious discrepancies in the data, such as improper calculations and accounting errors," GAO writes. "For example, we found that from September 2005 through January 2006 Parsons' [Earned Value Management] reports did not capture almost $29 million in actual cost for the . . . project."

DOD adopted the EVM policy to provide its program managers with accurate reports about a contractor's ability to perform work on time and on budget.

By April 2006, the contractor had not set up an EVM system that provided "useful and accurate data" to DOD program managers, although the company was supposed to do so by March of 2005, the auditors write.

To ensure better management of the project's cost and schedule, auditors urge that DOD withhold a portion of Parson's award fee until the company improves its EVM reporting system, according to the GAO report.

DOD estimated in 1999 that construction at Shchuch'ye would cost $750 million, with chemical weapons destruction there beginning in 2006. In 2003, Pentagon officials altered their initial assessment, putting the cost at $1 billion, and estimating completion of the project in 2009.

In its end state, the Shchuch'ye complex will consist of approximately 100 buildings. The United States is funding the construction of almost all of the buildings, including the main destruction facility. Russia has agreed to fund a second destruction building on the site, similar in design to the U.S.-funded version. Russia will also fund the construction and operation of a utilities infrastructure -- gas, water and electricity -- to operate the complex.

Russia has the world's largest declared stockpile of chemical weapons, consisting of approximately 32,500 metric tons of nerve agents and 7,500 metric tons of blister agents, according to the report. The latter class of agents include mustard gas and lewisite, which cause burns when they come in contact with human skin.

Under the extended deadline of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia must destroy its entire arsenal of chemical agents by 2012. It is unclear, however, whether Russia can meet that deadline, GAO auditors write.

"The Russian government's destruction plan to eliminate all chemical weapons by 2012 may be unrealistic as it depends on seven destruction facilities -- two have been built, two are under construction, and three have not been started," they write.

DOD concurred with the report's findings and recommendations, according to a May 19 letter to GAO from Dale Klein, the assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs.

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Vessels, possibly with chemical weapons, found on Baltic seabed
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Four ships sunk after the Second World War were discovered on the Baltic seabed. The ships that have not yet been surveyed may contain chemical weapons, Vadim Paka, the deputy director of the Shirshov Oceanology Institute for Atlantics in Kaliningrad, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

He said the ships had been discovered during an expedition of the Professor Shtokman research vessel in the framework of the programme of Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Situations. Two submerged vessels are on the seabed east of the Danish Bornholm Island, and two other in Russian territorial waters.

“The ships should be promptly surveyed for potentially hazardous objects, including chemical weapons,” Paka said. According to the Helsinki Intergovernmental Commission for Protection of the Baltic, over 32,000 tonnes of chemical weapons are concentrated in a relatively small area. “There are yet no signs of sizable issuing of toxic substances into water,” Paka said.

Meanwhile, Paka holds, “There is a need to step up the survey in the Baltic, first of all, in the areas of massive dumping of chemical weapons, and an international expedition should be arranged for the purpose.” So far the work conducted by Russian scientists and specialists is deterred by lack of financing.

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F.  Submarine Dismantlement

Decomissioned Russian Sub To Be Scrapped With Canadian Funds
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A decommissioned nuclear-powered submarine of Victor-3 class is to be
scrapped at the Zvyozdochka (little star) defence shipyard here on funds
provided by Canada, Nadezhda Shcherbinina, press secretary of the
shipyard, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

Shcherbinina said Canada would finance the dismantling of 12 Russian versatile
nuclear-powered submarines that do not carry intercontinental ballistic
missiles at the shipyard all in all under the Global Partnseship Programme that
had been adopted at the G-8 summit in 2002. Ottawa will allocate an aggregate
of about 100 million Canadian dollars for these purposes, she added.

The Zvyozdochka shipyard has already scrapped four nuclear powered submarines
of the Northern Fleet and currently dismantles a fifth one. Another three subs
are to be brought to the shipyard for scrapping from Polar Region bases during
the current navigation.

According to data from open-access sources, Project 671RTM Shchuka (pike)
(Victor-3 according to NATO classification) submarines were under constrcution
at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg and in the Far East until 1987. A
total of 26 such submarines, which were up to 102 meters long and had a
deadweight of up to 6,990 tonnes each, were launched.

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G.  Nuclear Safety

Nuclear Regulatory Systems Debated at Moscow IAEA Conference - New Momentum
A. Kuznetsov
(for personal use only)

The conference was held within the framework of Russia's G8 presidency. The principal goal of the conference was the assessment of the state of nuclear and radiation safety regulation in the world and the exchange of views on future cooperation by countries in this sphere. Conference participants discussed the special role of state agencies involved in various aspects of nuclear and radiation safety regulation and the measures that might be taken to enhance the effectiveness of regulation, strengthen the independence of regulatory agencies, and develop international cooperation by the IAEA countries in the sphere of nuclear and radiation safety.

The international forum was attended by more than 200 specialists from 65 IAEA countries and representatives of international organizations: the European Union, the Nuclear Energy Agency, the OECD, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, and the International Civil Aviation Organization. Russia was represented by more than 70 people from Rostekhnadzor, Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency), the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

At a press conference, K.B. Pulikovskiy, the head of Rostekhnadzor, noted that this was the first IAEA conference in Russia, where the most pressing issues connected with nuclear and radiation safety regulators would be discussed (the regulators are governing bodies with functions including the oversight of the safe use of nuclear technology -- Editor). "As you know," the head of Rostekhnadzor said, "world tendencies attest to the current intentions of the governments of several states to use more nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In other words, nuclear power engineering not only has retained its extraordinary significance and its firm position in the economic affairs of many countries, but also is constantly moving up to a higher level."

The safety of nuclear power engineering has always been connected with the guarantee of nuclear and radiation safety. "This is an essential condition for the development of nuclear power engineering," K.B. Pulikovskiy stressed. Nuclear and radiation safety presupposes the physical security of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities and the non-proliferation of critical nuclear technologies. Because of this, the discussion at the conference focused on the rights of organizations and other entities overseeing nuclear and radiation safety, the reinforcement of their independence, and the improvement of safety procedures.

The international forum addressed the following questions: What role should state agencies play in the regulation of nuclear and radiation safety? How can international cooperation be made more effective in dealing with today's challenging world? "We in Russia believe that this conference will provide new momentum for the fight against international terrorism and the efforts to guarantee the safekeeping of nuclear materials and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," K.B. Pulikovskiy declared.

IAEA representative T. Taniguchi pointed out that "certain spheres of IAEA activity, such as the safeguarding of nuclear security, the protection of fissionable materials, and their non-proliferation, combining national achievements and international standards, have undergone major changes in the last few years. Nevertheless, despite the progress that has been made, the purpose of this conference is to encourage new ideas and suggestions in the sphere named in the title of the conference."

Conference President L. Williams, the agency's director of nuclear safety, stressed that "the role of the regulator in the guarantee of nuclear safety and non-proliferation is gaining exceptional importance. The conference in Moscow is one of a series of conferences to guarantee the safety of the nuclear framework, which will be held throughout the world, and its essential purpose is an investigation of the effectiveness of regulation. I hope we will leave here in two or three days with a clearer understanding of how effective this regulation can be."

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St. Pete city official shocked by radioactive transit through city port
(for personal use only)

Speaker of the legislative assembly of St. Petersburg Vadim Tyulpanov has expressed indignation with the arrival of the ship Doggersbank carrying 1,000 tonnes of depleted uranium at the seaport of the city.

"It is shocking that St. Petersburg is being used as a transit point for radioactive waste from all over Europe. The traffic of such waste across Russian territory must be stopped," he told Interfax on Wednesday.

In his opinion, punishment for environmental crimes should be increased.

"This is under the authority of the federal government but I think that the case involving Doggersbank will stimulate a review of the local laws protecting the environment of St. Petersburg," he said.

The international organization Ecodefense claims that Doggersbank, carrying 1,000 tonnes of UF6, left Rotterdam on June 2 and arrived in Petersburg Wednesday morning. It says that the radioactive cargo will be then shipped to Novouralsk in the Sverdlovsk region.

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H.  Nuclear Security

Putin calls for nuclear-energy expansion, tighter security
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Russia's president has called on the nuclear industry to assume a greater role in meeting the nation's energy needs and for security to be tightened at nuclear facilities and around the country's nuclear arsenal.

Addressing a gathering of top nuclear-industry officials Friday, Vladimir Putin said action had to be taken to ensure nuclear plants continued to play any significant role in providing energy for the country.

"The percentage of nuclear fuel in the country's energy balance is 16%," the president said. "And if we do nothing in this area, but just keep on moving at today's pace, it will drop to 1-2% by 2030."

With much of the industrialized world considering the future of nuclear energy - Britain's Tony Blair for one approved a new generation of plants in May - Putin tasked his government earlier in the year to draft a program to bring the share of nuclear power in overall electricity production up to 25%.

And today, Sergei Kiriyenko, a former prime minister and now head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, told the meeting at the president's country residence that two more power units would be built from 2007 and another four or five would follow in both 2009 and 2010.

In May, Kiriyenko called for 40 new reactor units - the country currently has 35 units at 10 nuclear power plants - to be built during a trip to the United States.

"We need to build about 40 units just to keep the share of nuclear power [in the energy market]," he said then.

Kiriyenko's U.S. trip largely focused on trying to secure an end to restrictions on imports from Russia of low-enriched uranium that have been in force since the Soviet era. Russia is allowed to operate on the U.S. market without a 116% import duty only through a special intermediary agent, under the HEU-LEU Conversion program, but is facing anti-dumping procedures.

And in a thinly disguised hint to Washington, Putin criticized Friday discrimination against Russian nuclear technologies on the global market saying Russia was prepared for an honest competition with other countries.

"We categorically oppose the lack of an equal competition for all market players, which hampers our companies' activities," he said.

The president also highlighted the role of nuclear power in the global social and economic situation.

"Civilian nuclear technologies can seriously reduce the energy-poverty levels of developing states, and create conditions for socio-economic progress and increased quality of life for millions of people," he said.

Given the international community's concerns over Iran's controversial nuclear programs, Putin reiterated Russia's position that all countries had the right to nuclear technologies for non-military purposes.

But with the world having marked the 20th anniversary in April of the world's worst nuclear disaster at the Soviet Union's Chernobyl plant, the president called on security to be tightened at all the country's nuclear facilities, in particular to combat the threat of terrorism.

"We must increase the safety level of the nuclear complex, not only to prevent accidents and emergencies but also to prevent terrorist provocations," Putin said.

He said also improvements should be made to the country's nuclear arsenal, regarded by many within the country as guaranteeing it a major international role, in compliance with strict safety requirements.

"The strength of the nuclear shield, the state of the nuclear complex are the most important components of Russia's status as a world power," Putin said.

Russia inherited the Soviet Union's massive nuclear arsenal after the communist superpower collapsed in 1991.

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I.  Nuclear Industry

Russia, U.S. to hold talks on uranium supply restrictions soon
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Russia's nuclear agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce will hold talks in Moscow later this month on discriminatory restrictions on Russian uranium supplies to the United States, a spokesman said Friday.

Restrictions on imports from Russia of low-enriched uranium have been in force since the Soviet era. Russia is currently allowed to operate on the U.S. market without a 116% import duty only through the USEC, a special intermediary agent, under the HEU-LEU Conversion program, but is facing anti-dumping procedures.

"There are two aspects here," said Sergei Novikov, press secretary of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power. "The first concerns the talks per se and possible U.S. Commerce Department decisions and the second concerns the work of our legal experts, who are studying all possible ways to overcome the dumping procedure envisioned by the U.S. laws."

Agency head Sergei Kiriyenko downplayed the political undertones of the issue during a visit to the U.S. in May.

"We believe that this is a commercial issue, which we intend to resolve in the framework of existing U.S. legislation," Kiriyenko said then. "We are not demanding any preferential treatment, any benefits or special conditions, but we are demanding equal rights and equal opportunities for competition on the U.S. market."

But the U.S. Department of Commerce appeared to dent his hopes Friday when it said it intended to keep in place the existing restrictions, which President Vladimir Putin obliquely criticized also Friday by calling for open market competition.

At a meeting with top officials in the nuclear sphere, Putin said Russian companies should be allowed to compete.

"Our companies still often encounter unjustified discriminatory barriers in this sphere," he said.

"We categorically oppose the lack of an equal competition for all market players, which hampers our companies' activities."

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Igor Yuriev
What the Papers Say
(for personal use only)

Our contacts in the atomic energy sphere are commerce, pure and simple; An interview with Sergei Kirienko of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy on his return from Washington.

Question: The problem of cooperation in the sphere of nuclear technologies is extremely political in the United States nowadays. To what extent, if any, did you manage to split "big-time politics" and "big-time commerce" at the talks in Washington?

Sergei Kirienko: I do not think that we need overly political relations with the United States in any sphere. Our contacts in the atomic energy sphere are commerce, pure and simple, and we are going to handle the matter in accordance with the acting American legislation. We do not demand any benefits or privileges. All we want are equal terms and fair competition in the American market. It will benefit Russian companies to be able to offer their goods and services in the American market without go-betweens. It will benefit the Americans to be able to buy them directly, without go-betweens.

Question: Atomic energy production talks with the Americans inevitably dwell on the Iranian nuclear problem...

Sergei Kirienko: I'm not a negotiator in the Iranian nuclear problem but we could not help discussing the matter in the United States. The problem is being discussed at the level of foreign ministries, with help from the UN and IAEA. I know for example that the UN Security Council is working on a new resolution. It was Russia's stand on the matter that I discussed with officials of the US Department of State. As I see it, Moscow and Washington's principal approaches to the problem at hand are similar.

This is what our position boils down to. Every country including Iran is entitled to development on its peaceful program of atomic energy production. Considering the situation with Iran, we should bear in mind that the decision that will be eventually made is not going to be a signal to Iran alone. It will be a signal to very many other countries that contemplate development of the national atomic energy production sphere.

Also importantly - or perhaps even more important, the international community is entitled to demand guarantees of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons. Every country therefore has the right to develop its peaceful nuclear programs as long as it provides guarantees and transparent control mechanisms.

It is acting in good faith on this basis that Russia formulates its approach to the Iranian nuclear problem. As we see it, it is on this basis precisely that the international community should be formulating its approach to any country that aspires for a national program of its own. Now that atomic energy becomes beneficial and economically worthwhile, now that new countries are out to harness this cheap and effective form of energy, the problem of drawing a line between normal development of atomic energy production and guarantees of nonproliferation become of paramount importance indeed. We are convinced therefore that the UN Security Council resolution should contain two aspects: a requirement to honor the arms control and nonproliferation regime and readiness of the country to develop peaceful atomic energy sphere provided that the country in question guarantees that atomic energy will not be used for military purposes.

Question: What guarantees is Russia prepared to shoulder in the matter of the Iranian nuclear program?

Sergei Kirienko: That's what we discussed in the United States - our joint efforts aimed to abate the threat of nuclear terrorism and measures on the part of the United States and Russia to fortify the nonproliferation regime.

Question: The United States regularly brings up the matter of guarantees from nuclear powers to non-nuclear states. Have Moscow and Washington agreed to offer such guarantees to Iran?

Sergei Kirienko: The way I see it, the common approach of nuclear powers to what countries are intent on developing peaceful atomic energy spheres should be as follows. Nuclear powers should set up a mechanism that will guarantee to the countries only developing their national atomic energy spheres deliveries of nuclear fuel, the right to benefits from these deliveries, and the ability to have spent nuclear fuel processed afterwards. The countries that only develop their atomic energy spheres at this point do not need to pour effort and finances into establishment of these elements of nuclear technologies - complicated, expensive, and (more importantly) dangerous to the nonproliferation regime.

An international mechanism should be established that will guarantee all countries free and full access to nuclear fuel. No discrimination should be permitted. Moreover, availability of services in this sensitive sphere should not depend on sympathies or antipathies with regard to any country or personal relations between national leaders. It should be an open and transparent mechanism. I believe as well that the customer countries should be entitled to some benefits in the matter. This is essentially what Vladimir Putin's latest initiative boils down to. I mean the idea of a network of international centers that will be joint ventures with recipients being their shareholders guaranteed some dividends but not access to technologies as such.

Question: Russia is losing some profitable markets nowadays, particularly in East Europe. What is the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy doing to solidify its positions in the world market?

Sergei Kirienko: As a matter of fact, Russian atomic industry views absolutely all markets with interest. Our stand on the matter is simple: we do not want any privileges or preferences. Russia wants equal opportunities for all and fair competition. That's all. If you ask me, there must be no closed market in this sphere. East European countries join the European Union? That's fine. We are ready to follow the rules established for the European Union. Russian atomic industry has everything it needs to withstand any competition no matter how stiff.

Question: Specialists predict that Russia may encounter a shortage of uranium several years from now. They say it will be compelled to buy it abroad...

Sergei Kirienko: Forget it. We have enough uranium to last us at least 50 years. Uranium hunger is not what we should be afraid of in the foreseeable future.

As for acquisition of uranium from third countries, I do not see anything problematic with it as long as it is done within the framework of plain commerce.

Question: Is there a chance for Moscow and Washington to sign a treaty on peaceful use of atomic energy in the near future?

Sergei Kirienko: This is one of the priorities of our cooperation. It takes appropriate legislation of course, and that will take time. Work alone on the document will require about a year, and then it will have to be ratified by the US Congress and the Russian parliament. I believe that we should undertake it without delay. We are already discussing the matter with the Americans.

Original source: Profil, No 21, June, 2006, pp. 38 - 39.

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J.  Nuclear Forces

Russia's Lavrov details foreign policy priorities
(for personal use only)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has outlined the country's foreign policy priorities in a report to the State Duma's regular "Government Hour", Russian news agencies reported.

Among other issues, the minister touched upon difficulties in relations with Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic states, referring, in particular, to border delimitation talks.

At the same time, Lavrov highlighted friendly relations with the Central Asian states and said that their separate military agreements with the USA do not affect their strategic partnership with Russia. For instance, he said that although US-Kazakh talks on deployment of missile defence systems or the Kyrgyz-US agreement on the US Manas base in Kyrgyzstan are internal matters for these republics, they regularly update their partners in the Collective Security Treaty on the latest developments.

Still on the topic of Central Asia, Lavrov spoke about regional drug problems and suggested that a drug security belt should be created around Afghanistan to prevent illegal trafficking across the CIS borders and further into Russia and Europe.

Lavrov also reiterated Russia's unhappiness with the outcome of the recent revision of how the conventional arms in Europe treaty has been implemented, the agencies said. He called for a continuing moratorium on nuclear tests until the treaty on banning all nuclear tests comes into force. He has warned that development of new armaments will lead to destabilising the strategic situation in the world and undermine efforts aimed at nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Lavrov also stressed Russia's concern at the Middle East situation and urged Israel and Palestine to return to the negotiating table.

Relations with former Soviet republics

Speaking about the difficulties in talks with Georgia and Ukraine on the delimitation of their national borders with Russia, Lavrov said these countries were trying to obstruct the progress of the talks.

"The talks with Georgia are not easy," Lavrov told the State Duma on Wednesday 7 June. He said that the Georgian side was creating artificial obstacles by denying Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's participation in the talks.

"We are trying to explain to our Georgian colleagues that the talks have little prospects when areas adjacent to borders are excluded," said Lavrov.

According to ITAR-TASS, Putin is to meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in St Petersburg on 13 June within the framework of an international economic forum. "The heads of state will decide themselves what they are going to discuss. I think they will raise any questions related to Russian-Georgian relations," Lavrov said, adding that the Russian-Georgian meeting is a "working consultation".

When asked about talks with Ukraine on the delimitation of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait, he said they are also difficult.

"Literally yesterday Ukraine raised doubts about the bilateral agreement according to which the Kerch Strait is a body of water belonging to our two states," the agency quoted the foreign minister as saying. The Ukrainian side declared that this question should be tackled on the basis of general principles of international law, which runs counter to the bilateral agreement, he said.

He has warned that any unfriendly actions against Russians in Crimea would be harmful for relations between Moscow and Kiev. "I hope there will be no unfriendly actions against Russian citizens in the Crimea. This would be harmful for Russian-Ukrainian relations and unfair and blasphemous with regard to the Crimean history and to our nations' friendship," he said, adding that he hopes for "common sense and prudence from those who are trying generally to fan anti-Russian hysteria regarding the image building up around the problems created in Feodosiya and Crimea".

Similar situations have developed in border talks with Estonia and Latvia, Lavrov said, when asked by the Duma international affairs committee chairman, Konstantin Kosachev.

"If these two countries state their readiness to return to signing and ratifying bilateral agreements without any political additions, we are ready to return to the negotiating table. However, so far there has been no talk about returning," Lavrov said.

At the same time he positively assessed the results of talks on delimitating shelf deposits in the Barents Sea. Lavrov noted that the Norwegian side has backed the Russian side's proposal to allow oil and gas companies to begin developing shelf deposits before the agreements on demarcation lines are finalized.

In addition, Lavrov highly assessed the importance of the signing some time ago of agreements with China and Kazakhstan on delimitation of the state borders. He noted that these issues had been settled taking into account the interests of Russia and people who live in the border areas.

Welcomes expats

Russians abroad who would like to obtain Russian citizenship will be given the most beneficial conditions, Lavrov said. "A working group has been set up under the auspices of the presidential administration. It has finalized the first stage of its work: it has prepared relevant draft documents to settle the issue of supporting expats and helping them to move to Russia, if they so wish, quickly and without any red tape," the minister said.

Kazakh, Kyrgyz relations with USA

When asked to comment on Russia's attitude towards alleged talks between Kazakhstan and the USA to deploy US AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM), which are air-to-surface tactical missiles designated to seek out and destroy the enemy's radar-equipped air defence systems, in Kazakhstan, Lavrov denied any knowledge of the talks.

"We do not know anything about such talks, be this anti-missile defence or any other aspects of air defence. If such talks begin, there are obligations to immediately inform and to begin consultations with partners within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization ," Lavrov said.

He said that "such consultations are in progress with Kyrgyzstan on deployment of the Manas US military base there". "The Kyrgyz side has initiated these talks, and we proceed from the fact that these consultations will be reported to the members of the Collective Security Treaty," he said, adding that "any such situation should be tackled on the basis of this clause of the CSTO".

Afghan drug security belt

Russia insists on setting up "drug security belts" around Afghanistan and has been trying to persuade the international community that this is a necessary measure of precaution, Lavrov said. "Our Western partners were so much against the idea because they thought this would be regarded as creating a certain cordon sanitaire around a young democratic state," Lavrov said. "Thank God, better later than never, but the Western partners seem to have realized that nothing will help and nothing much will happen unless such belts are created and unless border countries get involved in creating these barriers along the perimeter".

However, Lavrov said that, having agreed to the necessity of creating such belts, the antiterrorist coalition led by the USA has been turning down for three years Russia's proposal that "NATO, which leads the operation of the international forces in Afghanistan, on the one hand, and the CSTO on the other hand, should establish close collaboration to exchange information in a real-time mode".

"We will enhance the role of the CSTO in stopping drug flows from Afghanistan abroad," he said.

Arms race

Russia believes that it is necessary to maintain the moratorium on nuclear test explosions until the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty enters force, Lavrov said. "We believe it is necessary to continue to observe the moratorium on nuclear weapons test explosions as well as all other nuclear explosions until the treaty comes into force," Lavrov said.

He stressed that Russia regards the treaty as a key instrument in the field of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. "We are working on bringing it into force as quickly as possible," Lavrov said. He also said that Russia will push for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which aims to prevent weapons of mass destruction and means of delivering them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Lavrov also said that Russia is unhappy at the outcome of the recent Conference to Review the Operation of the Treaty on Conventional Arms and Armed Forces in Europe.

"We will determine our approach to the treaty, taking into account the results of the recent conference: regrettably these results do not suit us and do not instil any optimism in us," Lavrov said.

"We are not going to pretend that the treaty as it was in 1990 is operating normally and that we are happy about everything in it," he said.

He has warned that production of new arms which can affect the threshold of using nuclear weapons will lead to destabilization in the strategic sphere.

"An arms race will undermine efforts aimed at nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We can't help being concerned at the decreasing interest in disarmament on the international agenda," Lavrov said.

He said that these issues are seen as a priority in the president's recent address to the Federal Assembly. "Primarily these will concern stepping up disarmament. This will make it possible to achieve accords and stop negative tendencies, be this new types of armaments or plans to deploy them in outer space," he said.


When asked about Iran and its nuclear programme, Lavrov said that the mediators were hoping Iran will answer within two or three weeks with regard to the proposals on its nuclear problems.

"We did not set any deadlines but we assume that the Iranian side will be able to react to the proposals by the end of the month, if not earlier," Lavrov said.

"I think we can hope to get an answer within two or three weeks," he said.

Israel and Palestine

Lavrov called on Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy to return to the negotiating table. "We are seriously concerned at the situation in the Middle East, in particular, Israeli-Palestine relations. Both leaders should realize their responsibility before their peoples and normalize the situation," Lavrov said. He expressed the hope that the two leaders will soon meet up. "The two leaders' readiness for a private meeting gives us hope. This would have been an extremely important step in order to understand each other, and it would facilitate conditions to resume the dialogue," he said.

He said unilateral steps would not help find a long-term resolution of the problem. "We do not see an alternative to talks. We are convinced that unilateral steps will not give any stable long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestine problem," he said.

"As a member of the international 'quartet', Russia will do its utmost to ensure that UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles and the roadmap will continue to be used as the stable basis for a future settlement," he said.

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Russia's nuclear shield reliable - head of nuclear research centre
(for personal use only)

Director of the Federal Nuclear Centre Radiy Ilkayev has said he can guarantee the reliability of Russia's nuclear shield. He was speaking at today's meeting with scientists which was part of celebrations of the centre's 60th anniversary.

"Russia is capable of defending its interests," he said, adding that his centre and the experimental physics institute (vernacular: Institut eksperimentalnoy fiziki) "are still at the heart of work dealing with defence tasks". "The nuclear centre was established as a workshop for nuclear weapons capable of defending the country, and the task remains topical at present," Ilkayev said. The centre developed the nation's first atomic and hydrogen bombs. "We will not allow any country to achieve a breakthrough in the field of nuclear or any weapons which could be unsettling for our nation's security," he said.

Ilkayev noted the present "big turn of science towards boosting the development of civil nuclear technologies, including in the nuclear energy sector". "Russia also has very strong positions here," he added.

Ilkayev said he believed that technologically-advanced countries should share their technologies with others because "an explosion may follow otherwise". He cited Russia's floating nuclear power stations project as an example of the latest technology. "Such nuclear power stations can help many countries and Russia could help develop them within the framework of the international community," he said.

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Russia: DM Ivanov Urges Exchange of Technology Between Military, Civilian Shipbuilders
(for personal use only)

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov called for an
exchange of technology between military and civilian shipbuilding companies.

He met with the heads of leading shipbuilding companies in St. Petersburg on
Wednesday to discuss the rearmament of the Navy, including with multipurpose
nuclear submarines.

A good deal of attention was given to civilian shipbuilding. "We analysed how
the industry can develop by increasing the proportion of civilian products,"
Ivanov told journalists after the meeting.

Among the most important products made by the civilian shipbuilding industry,
the minister named equipment for hydrocarbons mining.

"These are high technologies, some of which may drift from military
shipbuilding to civilian shipbuilding. But civilian shipbuilding is also
developing technologies that can be used in military shipbuilding," Ivanov said.

Currently 70 percent of Russia's shipbuilding capabilities are used for
military purposes. "It is good and bad," the minister admitted. On the negative
side, he mentioned the fact that shipbuilding companies are not working at
their full capacity, and this drives prices up. On the positive side, he said
the industry capable of making ships of all types has been preserved.

According to Ivanov, more than 80 percent of Russia's shipbuilding capacities
are in the northwest of the country, including the leading Krylov Central
Research Institute in St. Petersburg where "all Russian ships are born."

"There is no and will be no other such institute in Russia. This is why all
ships are tested and will be tested there," he said.

Ivanov said Russia would increase military shipbuilding by 50 percent before

To this end, the Ministry of Industry and Energy and the Federal Agency for
Industry, jointly with the Krylov Central Research Institute, have drafted a
strategy for the development of Russian shipbuilding for up to 2030.

Russian shipyards built six submarines and nine ships and launches in 2005.
According to Ivanov, about 25 percent of the money allocated for the state
armaments programme will be spent on the construction of port facilities. "This
makes trillions of roubles," he stressed.

Ivanov said the shipbuilding industry had been gradually reviving in Russia
over the past few years. After a shipbuilding development strategy has been
studied and adopted, the possibility of creating shipbuilding holdings will be
discussed. "At present it is too early to speak about that," he added.

Ivanov said Russia would not build new aircraft carriers before 2009.
"Nevertheless, our fleet is ocean-oriented. We have ships, submarines and
missile-carrying cruisers, which make voyages to other parts of the world more
and more often, as long as we manage to allocate more financial resources for
that," Ivanov said.

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Satan's Successor: New Arms Development Program Has Been Approved
Nikolay Poroskov
Vremya Novostei
(for personal use only)

At its Friday session the Military-Industrial Commission under the Russian Government examined the latest arms development program (this time 2007-2015) and determined the main directions for defense-industrial complex development. According to Commission Deputy Chairman Minister Vladislav Putilin, the draft state program basically has been approved. In order to remove this annoying "basically," a month has been set aside to modify the document, after which it will be submitted to the president for approval. Commission members are scurrying, as they say, to form the 2007 state defense order already within the scope of the new arms program.

The new state program envisages a 63% increase in appropriations for arms and military equipment procurements, which is unprecedented for post-Soviet Russia. Not that long ago the lion's share of defense funds went for Armed Forces upkeep as well as for RDT&E. Putilin explained that a scientific-technical backlog of accomplishment now has been created and it's finally possible to begin planned reoutfitting of the Army and Navy "with new and modernized models of arms and military equipment." And procurements will be in series, i.e., not individual models, but suites of fighting vehicles, aircraft or tanks for the battalion, squadron and so on will begin coming to the troops.

It's planned to minimize the aggregate of types and the nomenclature of arms and military equipment, and priorities will be given to developing the most promising systems, particularly in the aviation and air defense area. Over 200 units and formations will receive around 3,000 pieces of new and over 5,000 pieces of modernized arms in the years that the program will be in force. Air Force and Air Defense aviation will receive over a thousand sets of onboard weapons and navymen will receive several dozen submarines and surface ships, including five strategic missile-armed (submarines). According to Putilin, this program "accomplishes only a portion of the tasks" despite such weighty weapon acquisitions.

The Military-Industrial Commission tried to structure a balanced system of arms, taking into account the needs both of strategic deterrence forces and general-purpose forces and bearing in mind, of course, the state's economic capacities for providing for defense and security. The overall planned volume of program funding (in this year's prices) is R4.9394 trillion. Over 4 trillion of this amount is destined for the Defense Ministry, and other militarized departments will receive the rest.

From now on the Federal Targeted Program for Development of the Defense-Industrial Complex up to 2009 will be fulfilled in three basic directions: restructuring, development of basic and critical technologies, and technical retooling of the sector. The military says that this program is aimed at developing something else--an arms program that takes into consideration the forecast plan of Russia's military-technical cooperation with foreign states. The principal goal of the program is to create and produce new models of weapons and military and special equipment, as well as to preserve the competitiveness of domestic defense-industrial complex products. A sweeping renewal of the defense establishment's production base is planned by replacing obsolete and extremely worn-out equipment. Appropriations are planned here in the amount of R409.2 billion, of which a third will go for advanced RDT&E.

A little about specific kinds of arms, the subject of which has been discussed turbulently of late. Aircraft carriers, for example. It's been decided not to build aircraft-carrying ships up to 2015. Even a discussion of the "look of a naval aircraft-carrying complex" is planned only after 2009. But it's been determined that most likely they'll be built at Sevmashpredpriyatiye in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast. The question also hasn't been decided about the advisability of creating a heavy 100-tonne liquid-propellant ballistic missile. Mashinostroyeniye NPO (Scientific Production Association) proposed making it. Its production is conceived as compensation for the formidable SS-18 Satan (in Russian, RS-20 Voyevoda) that gradually is being written off and was produced previously at the Ukrainian Yuzhmash. This missile with its ten warheads is capable of penetrating any existing and future air defense (sic). "All proposals have been accepted for study," said Minister Putilin, "but this will be done later."

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To Fight or Not To Fight? Deputies To Continue Reforming Army Today
Tamara Shekel
Rossiyskaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

Today (7 June) State Duma deputies and the Defense Ministry will continue reforming the Army.
Four draft laws are being submitted at a plenary session. One of them abolishes the attachment institution -- serving generals and other military personnel will not now be able to perform civilian service simultaneously. The second draft law specifies the terms for entering military service on contract. The third defines the procedure governing the establishment and existence of military training centers at higher educational institutions, at which the Defense Ministry will train its specialists.

But most of the arguments are about the draft law that makes amendments to certain Russian Federation legislative acts "in connection with a reduction in the term of military service on contract." Because it concerns not only a reduction in the term of service from two to one and a half years from 2007 and to one year from 2008, but also a reduction of nine out of the 25 existing deferments from the Army draft.

At the Defense Ministry's suggestion the draft law, given its first reading one and a half months ago, completely excludes five grounds for granting deferments. In the four cases in which deferment apparently remains, there are additional conditions. For example, in order to count on deferment because a draftee is looking after seriously ill close relatives, a draftee must obtain a medical and social expert finding, which will take account of the family's circumstances and the existence of other relatives. The children of working pensioners will not be granted a deferment.

The Defense Ministry hopes that the abolition of deferrals will make it possible to draft up to 90,000 extra draftees into the Army. On average there are 10,000 for each deferment. But realistically Okhotnyy Ryad (Defense Ministry's location) believes that the situation will be different. Drafting young rural teachers or physicians is unlikely to provide 1,000 extra soldiers, the deputies doubt.

Supporting the draft law, United Russia members promised that they will carefully consider each amendment during the document's preparation for its second reading. And maybe they will retain some of them that the Defense Ministry has proposed be rejected.

It greatly concerned the deputies that, given our demography that does not inspire optimism, young fathers are having to take their place in the Army's ranks at a time when their place is with their wives and newborn babies. But during the State Duma Defense Committee's discussion of the draft law amendments received, most deputies nonetheless sided with the government -- draftees who have become or who are about to become fathers are to be drafted into the Army and compensation paid to the family. The committee's leaders courageously kept a military secret by not telling journalists exactly how much young mothers left without the head of the family will receive, reserving a government representative's right to announce the amount of compensation at the plenary session. But some information nonetheless filtered out of the office. According to it, a draftee's pregnant wife will be paid 4,000 rubles (R) a month, and when the child is born the sum paid will increase by another R2,000.

In the regions, where the wages of draft-age young men rarely exceed R3,000, the Defense Ministry compensation could be a good incentive to have a child and to serve in the Army. In all the committee recommended 27 amendments for adoption and rejected 17. And the relevant committee's deputies could not make their minds up about 29 amendments. Their fate will be decided by the chamber today. Today United Russia members intend to insist on one amendment despite the government's negative attitude toward it: They propose that the case whereby a young man subject to the draft has a disabled child be declared grounds for granting a deferment. Today the State Duma will also consider in its first reading the draft law "On Autonomous Institutions;" discuss questions of countering international terrorism at "Government Hour," which Federal Security Service Director Nikolay Patrushev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to attend; and will listen to Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin's report.

Today (7 June) State Duma deputies and the Defense Ministry will continue reforming the Army.

Four draft laws are being submitted at a plenary session. One of them abolishes the attachment institution -- serving generals and other military personnel will not now be able to perform civilian service simultaneously. The second draft law specifies the terms for entering military service on contract. The third defines the procedure governing the establishment and existence of military training centers at higher educational institutions, at which the Defense Ministry will train its specialists.

But most of the arguments are about the draft law that makes amendments to certain Russian Federation legislative acts "in connection with a reduction in the term of military service on contract." Because it concerns not only a reduction in the term of service from two to one and a half years from 2007 and to one year from 2008, but also a reduction of nine out of the 25 existing deferments from the Army draft.

At the Defense Ministry's suggestion the draft law, given its first reading one and a half months ago, completely excludes five grounds for granting deferments. In the four cases in which deferment apparently remains, there are additional conditions. For example, in order to count on deferment because a draftee is looking after seriously ill close relatives, a draftee must obtain a medical and social expert finding, which will take account of the family's circumstances and the existence of other relatives. The children of working pensioners will not be granted a deferment.

The Defense Ministry hopes that the abolition of deferrals will make it possible to draft up to 90,000 extra draftees into the Army. On average there are 10,000 for each deferment. But realistically Okhotnyy Ryad (Defense Ministry's location) believes that the situation will be different. Drafting young rural teachers or physicians is unlikely to provide 1,000 extra soldiers, the deputies doubt.

Supporting the draft law, United Russia members promised that they will carefully consider each amendment during the document's preparation for its second reading. And maybe they will retain some of them that the Defense Ministry has proposed be rejected.

It greatly concerned the deputies that, given our demography that does not inspire optimism, young fathers are having to take their place in the Army's ranks at a time when their place is with their wives and newborn babies. But during the State Duma Defense Committee's discussion of the draft law amendments received, most deputies nonetheless sided with the government -- draftees who have become or who are about to become fathers are to be drafted into the Army and compensation paid to the family. The committee's leaders courageously kept a military secret by not telling journalists exactly how much young mothers left without the head of the family will receive, reserving a government representative's right to announce the amount of compensation at the plenary session. But some information nonetheless filtered out of the office. According to it, a draftee's pregnant wife will be paid 4,000 rubles (R) a month, and when the child is born the sum paid will increase by another R2,000.

In the regions, where the wages of draft-age young men rarely exceed R3,000, the Defense Ministry compensation could be a good incentive to have a child and to serve in the Army. In all the committee recommended 27 amendments for adoption and rejected 17. And the relevant committee's deputies could not make their minds up about 29 amendments. Their fate will be decided by the chamber today. Today United Russia members intend to insist on one amendment despite the government's negative attitude toward it: They propose that the case whereby a young man subject to the draft has a disabled child be declared grounds for granting a deferment. Today the State Duma will also consider in its first reading the draft law "On Autonomous Institutions;" discuss questions of countering international terrorism at "Government Hour," which Federal Security Service Director Nikolay Patrushev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are expected to attend; and will listen to Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin's report.

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K.  Official Statements

Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
(for personal use only)

Lavrov: Dear Boris Vyacheslavovich, esteemed deputies. I am grateful for this opportunity to speak to you and describe the situation in the sphere of international cooperation in the security sphere and counteracting international terrorism. For the Foreign Ministry, this is one of the most important directions of activities, and we have worked in close interaction with colleagues from the Security Council, the Defense Ministry, special services, law-enforcement agencies, in close contact with related committees of the State Duma and the Federation Council.

The President spoke of that sphere as a topical problem in his Address to the Federal Assembly, where he focused on worrying trends in that sphere. First of all, this concerns the widening of the conflict space in the world, including in the area of our vital interests -- in particular, the fact that the problem of disarmament and weapons control has been dropped from the global agenda.

Insufficient predictability of new threats and challenges in the national security sphere substantially complicates our activities. Many of the existing crises and conflicts become sources of terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking. Terrorists have tried to provoke division between civilizations. Unfortunately, tough ideological approaches to international affairs we have witnessed undermine accord between civilizations. Those one-sided approaches promote division in the global policy sphere in the spirit of who is not with us is against us.

Therefore, in-depth analysis and sober evaluation are required, as well as making sure that all of our steps are well-considered. It is necessary to look for and widen the range of our partners and allies. On the whole, the emergence of the factor of a confident and strong Russia helps stabilize the geopolitical situation. This is an important measurement of our country's contribution to global politics to make it balanced and predictable. The establishment of our independent role in international affairs in full measure has been the result of our creative activities over the past six years. As a result, our ability to influence global development processes has grown.

At the same time, positive changes have accumulated in the international situation, whose main direction has been the strengthening of what may be described as democratic multipolarity. Those trends certainly run counter to unilateral moves in the international arena and cause negative reaction which is aimed at undermining this multipolarity which is in line with our interests.

It is important to take this all into account when working up an effective course for counteraction one-sided approaches in international affairs. The goal of the formation of a new, reliable architecture of international security cannot be attained by any organization or country alone, no matter how powerful they are. Therefore, we stand for pooling the efforts of the United Nations, the CIS, the CSTO, the SCO, the OSCE, NATO, the European Union and other organizations -- all leading international players -- rather than for their rivalry.

There is no other path, because new threats require that we should react collectively. Multilateral mechanisms should play a key role in dealing with disarmament and weapons control issues, non- proliferation of mass destruction weapons on the basis of strict observance of accords in that sphere.

Let me start with disarmament. The results of last year's conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the fact that the final document of the UN summit meeting in 2005 contained no section on disarmament give serious grounds for concerns. There is direct link between disarmament and weapons control issues, on the one hand, and non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons, on the other.

The fact that the feeling of security is lacking provokes this willingness to possess mass destruction weapons. This makes particularly important universal approaches. It is important to have so-called problem states involved, rather than isolate them.

On the whole, we find that the overall balance of international efforts in the security sphere has been positive. We have managed to avoid revival of the threat of a global nuclear conflict. We have been able to prevent mass destruction weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. But nothing in the political sphere can be guaranteed forever. We have to act and pursue energetic policies where problem zones tend to emerge. This is the main thrust of the foreign political section of the President's Address.

As a key instrument in the sphere of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, we see the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. We have worked to make sure that it should take effect as soon as possible. We find it necessary to proceed with the observance of a moratorium on nuclear weapons tests and any other nuclear blasts until that treaty comes into effect.

In the non-proliferation sphere, we will stand for complete implementation of the UN Security Council's resolution 1540, whose goal is preventing the falling of mass destruction weapons and delivery means into the hands of terrorists.

We have persistently worked with China at the Geneva disarmament conference to promote our joint initiative aimed at reaching comprehensive agreements on non-deployment of weapons in space. As the first step in this direction last year the General Assembly, on our initiative, adopted a resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures in the utilization of space. We favor unconditional observance by all countries of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We find it necessary to continue to look for ways to reinforce the verification mechanism of the Convention on Biological Weapons.

In this connection, we have attached great significance to the preparation and holding at the end of this year of the 6th annual review conference on the biological weapons convention.

It has been more than a year, and not on our initiative, we are not to blame for that, that the coming into effect of the adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe has been delayed. We have done everything that depends on us to bring the adapted treaty into effect as soon as possible -- in 2004 we ratified the agreement on its adaptation. Our counterparts now have to do this.

Anyway, we do not intend to make it look that the 1990 treaty has functioned normally and that we are satisfied with it. We will define our approach to it, including with account of the results of the recent review conference on the CFE Treaty. Unfortunately, those results have not inspired optimism.

We have continued to play the leading role in consideration, in the UN framework, of international information security problems. We have tried to reach a stage where collective measures will be agreed aimed at neutralizing threats to information security, the strengthening of security of global information and telecommunications systems.

There are grounds to say that one of our successes in the sphere of weapons control has been that an international document on the marking and tracking of illegal firearms has been agreed. Its implementation will allow to timely and reliably identify and withdraw from circulation illegal small firearms.

The 1980 Geneva Convention on inhumane weapons, with its protocols, serves as an international disarmament mechanism and an instrument of international humanitarian law. We have ratified four out of five protocols that have been adopted. The last one of those is on the agenda, on explosive remnants of war. In the near future, we plan starting the ratification process. We expect to get the official Russian text of the convention soon. It is now being prepared in the United Nations. We hope that a draft law on the ratification of the amendment to Article 1 of the Convention which expanded its effect to international conflicts will soon be submitted to the State Duma.

In the sphere of regional cooperation in the security sphere and counteracting international terrorism, I would like to mention the agreement on uniform export control procedures for EurAsEC member countries. Its realization will allow introducing uniform export control procedures on the territory of member states, while not limiting state sovereignty with respect to exports. The package of documents for ratification will soon be submitted to the State Duma.

An important instrument of security and stability the Black Sea is the Black Seafor operational interaction naval group in which the navies of all the Black Sea countries take part. We are planning, together with Turkey, to take part in the Black Sea Harmony operation aimed at counteracting terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and means of its delivery in the region. We think that this experience will in the future be useful for Black Seafor and all its participants.

Unfortunately, in many arms control areas we have to operate against the background of a fading interest of partners in that theme, above all on the part of the United States. There is a pronounced trend to take disarmament issues off the global agenda and out of public attention. American plans to create low-yield nuclear charges, the project of fitting Trident submarine ballistic missiles and IBMs in general with conventional warheads gives cause for concern. As a result, such projects may have a destabilizing character, lower the threshold of the use of nuclear weapons and have destructive consequences for the nuclear nonproliferation regime thus undermining strategic stability.

The United States is working with its allies on the issue of deploying elements of anti-missile defense in Eastern Europe, most likely in Poland and the Czech Republic. The motive they put forward is protecting West European countries and the US against Iranian ballistic missiles. To us this means, over time, a real possibility of intercepting Russian ballistic missiles on distant approaches. The danger also arises of the use of the planned anti-missile defense silo launchers for clandestine deployment of ballistic missiles. On all these problems, on all these so-called "disconnects", we are conducting concrete negotiations with the United States seeking a more clear statement of their motives, frankly make known our concerns and we will seek that our interests are duly taken into account. On the whole, the relations with Washington is a special attention zone in the sphere of security and disarmament as well. These relations are of prime importance for preserving the strategic balance of forces and preventing the arms race from reaching a new technological level.

The counterterrorist sphere is undoubtedly the key sphere in countering the new threats and challenges. In turn, the strengthening of the international legal basis for such interaction is the key condition of effective joint efforts in this field. Let me stress that effective interaction between the executive branch and parliaments is key here.

First of all, on our new counterterrorist legislation. It was worked out with an eye to Russian reality and Russian needs with due account of our experience. The legal framework created in recent years makes it possible to enhance the effectiveness of counterterrorist work substantially, to make it better coordinated and thus more effectively protect people against terrorists.

I have already noted that universal participation of all states in global international legal instruments is a key area in strengthening international anti-terrorist cooperation.

Parliaments play the decisive role in getting states to join international anti-terrorist treaties. Russia is a leader in this field. We were the first in the world to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. The convention, once it comes into force, will substantially improve the conditions for counteracting terrorist ideology and propaganda, incitement to terrorism, recruitment and training of terrorists, conditions for involving not only states and governments and parliaments, but also the civil society in counteracting terrorism.

Pending before the State Duma or to be shortly submitted to the State Duma are several more solid-quality international documents which have to do with anti-terrorist cooperation. For instance, the convention on marking plastic explosives for the purpose of their detection called upon to become a key global international treaty. After we join it, we will be participants in practically all the universal anti-terrorist conventions, which at present number 13. The 13th one was the international convention to counter acts of nuclear terrorism passed by the General Assembly last year. It is the first convention, the first universal international treaty adopted by the UN at the initiative of Russia. A corresponding package of documents will be submitted for the ratification by the State Duma shortly.

Nevertheless, the task of improving international counterterrorist law is still very real. For instance, a common definition of terrorism has yet to be agreed at the international level. The best thing would be to do it in the framework of the long- mooted universal convention on international terrorism, but on that judgments still vary widely. Some states insist that it is admissible to use what amounts to terrorist methods in the fight for national liberation against foreign occupation.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is contemplating the possibility of coordinating at the international level of the cyber-terrorism control norms. It is no secret that information technologies and the cyber space are actively used by terrorists for communication, propaganda, recruitment and training of terrorists. But no legislation has yet been passed on fighting this phenomenon.

Not all the best and most advanced things can be sealed in global documents as the task of reaching an agreement among all the UN member states is sometimes daunting. In this situation, regional organizations could be innovative and ensure a breakthrough. This happened in Europe in the case of the Council of Europe convention on the prevention of terrorism. And this can and must be the case, to an even greater degree, with regional organizations that are geographically and politically close to Russia such as the CIS, CSTO and SCO. Examples already exist: it is the Shanghai convention on fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Such examples need to be multiplied by presenting the broader international community with the best practices of counterterror that are being applied in concrete regional conditions.

In terms of law enforcement it is necessary to contribute in every way to the work of the UN Security Council Counterterrorism Committee, the G-8 counterterrorist action group. The Council of Europe Ministerial Committee will regard as its priority the prevention of terrorism, of incitement to terrorism, partly by encouraging early ratification of the convention on the prevention of terrorism by all countries.

On this topic, Russia, together with Germany, are planning to hold a seminar in the format of the Council of Europe and the OSCE next autumn on the implementation of the main preventative anti- terrorist decisions of the world community.

Within the framework of the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg we are planning to adopt anti-terrorist documents called upon to designate global priorities of the fight against terror, at the present stage, including ways to strengthen the role of the UN in these efforts, in these issues. On the other hand, within the G-8, we continue purposeful efforts to bring in the potential of civil society in tackling the tasks of counteracting terrorism, including the business circles, which have considerable anti-terrorist resources and which also suffer from terrorist acts.

It can now be said that the initiative of strengthening the anti-terrorist partnership between the state and business is meeting with vigorous support among our partners in the G-8 and in the foreign business community. There has been a positive response from the Russian business circles with which we are planning to discuss this theme at an early meeting of the business council under the Foreign Ministry.

We appreciate many Russian members of parliament who supported this initiative at its more difficult initial stage. In particular, in Brussels in February this year when our proposals were for the first time presented to the broad international business, political and academic communities.

The narcotics business is arguably the main ally of terrorism. In a number of the world's regions, in the first place in Afghanistan, an alliance has been struck between drug traffickers and terrorists. Hence another Russian initiative: to hold a large- scale ministerial conference on counteracting Afghanistan narcotics in Moscow in late June, late this month.

We expect that it will give a proper political impetus to the states' efforts aimed at reducing the level of the drug trafficking threat coming from Afghan territory. We will promote the CSTO's role in preventing drug trafficking from Afghan territory.

Still, our participation in anti-terror activities should be stepped up. We have reserves. We have to work in a system manner.

One of the spheres is providing assistance to countries which at the moment are unable to establish appropriate administrative law enforcement practices. Most G8 member countries, in fact, all of them have provided such assistance, and we should certainly join in those activities. It has been proposed to create, perhaps, under Russia's Foreign Ministry, a fund for anti-terror support to foreign countries, money from which would go first of all for the strengthening of the anti-terror potential of our colleagues in the CIS, our other neighbors and countries cooperating with us, where there are loopholes terrorists could use.

This is not about huge money amounts. Judging by the record of other leading countries in the anti-terror coalition, quite often huge funds are not needed to effectively and promptly deal with counteracting terrorism at some or other key directions of activities. Spot assistance is required, at a proper place and proper time and on the terms that are in line with Russian political interests.

Thank you for your attention. I will be ready to take your questions.

Gryzlov: Thank you, Nikolai Platonovich, take a seat, please. Dear colleagues, please register for putting questions to our rapporteurs. Activate the registration regime.

Q: Thank you. My question is for Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov. Dear Sergei Viktorovich, we had your colleague, Sergei Borisovich Ivanov, at the Government Hour in the Duma, and he assured us, Duma deputies -- and at the latest Cabinet meeting, too, he was very optimistic about strengthening our defenses, about top-class military technology we are getting, and about our having enough capacity to stand our ground both in a large war and in minor conflicts.

Could you say if such statements are making a proper impression on the West, or if they are not taking them seriously? In other words, has it become easier for Russian diplomacy to work after such statements, and if yes, what other developments in our favor can be expected? Thank you.

Gryzlov: Please, up to three minutes for an answer.

Lavrov: Thank you. I think the West is closely monitoring the status of the armed forces of the Russian Federation by not just official statements or mass media reports, but also by many other channels. We are also doing it, we use all the opportunities available to government to understand how the armed forces of the major powers, primarily the United States, of course, are developing.

I've already said that the status of global stability depends on the relations between our countries and on the extent to which parity is observed between our military potentials -- not just automatic parity, it may be parity based on asymmetric capabilities, but still. And it is no secret that the recent political studies published by the Council for International Relations to the effect that the whole of Russia and China are in no position to stand up to America's military might constitute certain psychological preparation that cannot be ignored.

And I can assure you that through the channels available to our Western partners they realize the utopian nature of such statements, statements to the effect that our shield has weakened and, moreover, that there are holes in it. And they understand that such studies are just wishful thinking.

But as regards Russian foreign policy, indeed, it helps that first and foremost that Russia is becoming stronger, that it has become independent and self-confident. And this confidence relies, of course, primarily on our economic and financial situation, on our development with an ever greater focus on innovative development. And of course, such confidence is predicated on the status of the combat-capable and combat-ready Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which can respond to all the key challenges of our time, of course, primarily being able to prevent nuclear war, a nuclear conflict. So -- yes, all that helps us.

Gryzlov: Thank you. Afsharmet Zagitovich Sultanov, welcome.

Q: Makhachev with Sultanov's card. I have a question for Nikolai Platonovich. I cannot get and audience with him or his deputy. I don't know, perhaps, all of our parliament are waiting in line to be received at the FSB. There was an attempt on my life in the making, they wanted to blow me up at an international airport on December 28. A case was opened, certain persons were detained, they are giving evidence. Two more are on the wanted list. The man who ordered the hit, Magomed Amirov, deputy head of the judicial department of the Republic of Dagestan, has not yet been questioned. A team went out there to question him and do some other things, but they returned without having done anything, saying that he was out of the office on a sick leave.

Nikolai Platonovich, if you are unable to have a person questioned or brought in for questioning, just say so -- I will bring him in, I have no problem with that. Or are you waiting for two clans clash out there, shooting and killing one another, and then we'll ask: why has it happened?

Gryzlov: Your answer, please.

Patrushev: Thank you for your question. As far as I remember, this case is being investigated by the Prosecutor General's Office. We can provide operational support, and we are doing everything the Prosecutor General's Office asks us to do. If you want an audience, there is no problem with that: welcome, I'll see you.

Gryzlov: Eldar Gelmutdinov, welcome.

Q. Thank you. A question for Sergei Viktorovich. There was some of that in Nikolai Platonovich's answer, but still, what aspects of our laws do you think need strengthening for ensuring security and countering international terrorism more effectively? What else needs to be done?

Lavrov: In my introductory remarks I listed some of the international treaties which Russia has signed or will shortly sign, and for which we will need support from the State Duma and then the Federation Council for their ratification. Our national anti- terrorism legislation -- both Nikolai Platonovich and I mentioned that -- is one of the more advanced and honest because it is open about many questions which other countries try to shun out of political correctness. But here they were discussed openly and consciously and decisions were taken on them

As regards international law instruments, so far we cannot execute a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, and I mentioned that as well. I talked about why we cannot accomplish that. The main stumbling block is agreement on a single commonly acceptable definition of terrorism, but work on that is being carried on.

In principle, I don't know, if Boris Vyacheslavovich has no objections, the tex of my remarks could be circulated to deputies: there is a list of legal acts there that we plan to submit for ratification in the near future.

Gryzlov: Thank you. Alexander Alexandrovich Tigunov, welcome.

Q: Colleague, let me talk with the guests, eh?

Gryzlov: Makhachev, please, don't interfere with questions and answers.

Q: Nikolai Platonovich, here, please. Yesterday I tried to put my question to you in writing because it may be not quite in the focus of your attention. The point is this. There was a large law enforcement conference in Belarus on protection of the constitutional rights of minors, in particular, from sexual abuse. As an example of their success the Belarussians briefed the audience about a group apprehended by their law enforcers. But that criminal group had some contacts -- and our papers mentioned that, too -- some contacts with Russians, in particular, through payments via Alfa-Bank, the Alfa-Pay system. So, I wanted to ask you whether any work is being done to stop such things, in particular, in Russia, jointly with Belarussian comrades? I have been approached by a spokesman for the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, Alexander Gudkov, who asked to know what kind of work is being done about that, in particular, by your organization. Could you give us any information?

Patrushev: Thank you. Well, we are working jointly with Belarussian partners. There is a plan of measures on which we are working. But the question you just raised is not within the remit of the FSB.

Gryzlov: Anatoly Semyonovich Ivanov, welcome.

Q: Dear Nikolai Platonovich, on May 3 Kommersant published a report that you had approved a proposal from one of my colleagues regarding the establishment of a state enterprise a la Transneft on the basis of the Transammiak joint stock company, which is a subsidiary of Togliatti-Azot. My colleague made this proposal to you and he argued that it was necessary to counteract possible terrorism and to ensure economically effective use of the ammonia pipeline. My question is as follows. Is this information objective? If it is, what actions can government bodies take to implement this proposal considering that Transammiak is private property? Isn't the proposal made by my colleague and your approval of that proposal the beginning of the second act in a tragedy called "take over Togliatti- Azot by Viktor Vekselberg with the help of state bodies, including law enforcement bodies?" My interest is prompted by the fact that I am a deputy from the city of Togliatti and I have to know --

Patrushev: Thank you. You know that there is a wish here to privatize many enterprises and when these activities are carried out one has to consider how it influences the defense capability and security of the country. When it has to do with the defense capability and security we express our opinion on each concrete case. And if it is not taken into account when the decision is taken, we raise these questions again. And we will continue to do it in the future. So, all the enterprises that ensure the security and defense capability of the country, be it explosives or such, must be controlled by the state.

Q: Esteemed Sergei Viktorovich. Who in the Foreign Ministry analyzes the information regarding the functioning of illegal prisons, camps, underground cells (the so-called zindans) which exist in the territories of some countries that recently joined NATO? The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European MPs are concerned about it and they conduct constant monitoring of this thing. But honestly, one doesn't hear anything from the Foreign Ministry. I would like you to pay special attention to this issue and secondly, I would like to thank you for getting the issue of ratification of the marking of explosives off the ground. For reasons unknown to me the Foreign Ministry has been delaying action on this issue. So, I would like you to make sure that ratification takes place early.

Lavrov: On the first question. Of course, we follow all the reports on abuses that have to do with infringement on human rights in connection with the fight against terrorism. We repeatedly made statements, including on the fate of our citizens who were unlawfully detained in Guantanamo, the US military base.

Our fellow deputies in the Parliamentary Assembly in the Council of Europe are active in working on the initiatives you have mentioned. I don't think that the Foreign Ministry must often make such statements. It would look too much like tit-for-tat. The Americans peck us for alleged sins, most of which are imagined. And we have to respond in concrete ways and with facts in hand, which what we are doing.

But we prefer to conduct such conversations not through microphones, but in our regular contacts with them. That theme is under review. One should not be silent about it, but I don't think it would be right even in terms of our culture, if you like, to scream every day and say "You are another".

But we are conscious of all these issues and we discuss them with the Americans.

As regards the convention on the marking of plastic explosives, I don't want to point a finger at any of my colleagues from other departments, but things were delayed over financial, above all technical issues, which did not have the head agency. But now, as you have said, things seem to have been agreed. We expect to submit the documents to the State Duma shortly.

Q: I have a question for Nikolai Patrushev. In 2003 the Border Service again came under your jurisdiction. What do border men do in the sphere of international cooperation?

Patrushev: It is true that the Border Service became part of the Federal Security Service in 2003. Practice shows that the decision has been useful. First of all, we started developing the border. I repeat, we started it because we found that this work was not conducted before.

First of all, we need to develop the border -- and we have already done a great deal -- in the Caucasus, in the North Caucasus. And we are also working now on the Kazakhstan border. The threats are different, but both borders are need to be strengthened.

Now that it has become part of the FSB the border service has got additional opportunities. It draws extensively on the potential of other services within the FSB. And the FSB makes more intensive use of the potential of the border service. So, there is a pooling of efforts and work has become more active. And of course, the border service is taking part in the CIS Council and in the EurAsEC and on a bilateral basis, and it cooperates closely with the partners from Byelorussia and in the Black Sea and Baltic areas. I have already enumerated countries, dozens of countries with which it has bilateral cooperation and it is good cooperation in my view.

Q: I have a question for the Foreign Minister. We all know very well the plight of the huge number of Russians who have found themselves to be outside Russia. In his recent address the President concentrated on the demographic problem which is a very real one for us. And of course one of the components is the work to secure the return and to help the Russians who identify themselves with Russia and want to return.

Unfortunately, our law is flawed and many Russians who would like to return have first to renounce the citizenship of the country in which they have found themselves. I would like to know your personal opinion on this, and is the Foreign Ministry doing anything to extend a helping hand to our fellow Russians?

Lavrov: Yes, it is, and this is true not only of the Foreign Ministry. A taskforce has been formed by the President's administration. It has completed the first stage of the work, prepared draft document which are aimed at resolving the issues you have mentioned and which have been singled out by the President, the support of our fellow countrymen and enabling them to move to Russian territory, if they so wish, quickly and without bureaucratic red tape. To this end, of course, it is important to conduct work in the ministries which deal with the development of our regions, of the economy and the social sphere. Because a person who is offered, even on very easy terms from the point of view of paper work, to move to Russia will of course be interested to know if he can take along his family, where he would live, in what concrete region of the Russian Federation, what job he will have and what his pay would be. That preparatory phase has now been completed. I am convinced that the proposal that will finally be put before the President will envisage the easiest of terms for the support of fellow countrymen who wish to move to work in the Russian Federation. And in parallel, there is the program not only of assisting resettlement which is currently under consideration, but there is a program of supporting our fellow countrymen. It is being implemented by the government commission for the affairs of countrymen abroad, of which I am the head. It is an interdepartmental commission and it also involves nongovernmental organizations.

We recently agreed that the commission in support of fellow countrymen abroad will deal not only with the fellow countrymen in the CIS and Baltic countries, but with fellow countrymen in any other foreign countries. Our countrymen in Europe and other regions have asked us about that. So, this is a decision that was taken recently.

Q: Sergei Viktorovich, the Ukrainian government has been more and more insistent recently in trying to speed up Ukraine's admission to NATO. Now there are plans to put Ukraine on an accession action plan. What will be the position of Russia if Ukraine departs from the policy of nonalignment? Especially since Russia's position with regard to Ukraine has been somewhat incoherent in recent years.

Lavrov: I think our position with regard to our neighbors is becoming more and more coherent. It was inevitable that it would take some time to look for an optimal mode of communicating with our former republics within a single state which have now become independent. The historically brief period that has passed contained some actions that can be described as the method of trial and error.

I think the recent years have seen more coherence in our actions. Yes, we regard these states as independent and sovereign. And that is how we are gong to shape our relations with them. One vivid proof of this is the transition to the market principles of pricing in trade, including trade in energy.

Of course, those of our neighbors which opt for allied relations with Russia will enjoy benefits, which is what happens in any other part of the world when allies are granted a privileged status. I am convinced that the form of such privileged relations will deepen and develop.

As for Ukraine and NATO, you are asking what will happen if Ukraine abandons its position of nonalignment. Well, this is not quite a true statement of fact because Ukraine declared its intention to seek NATO membership even under the former leadership. So, there is nothing new in it. We have repeatedly said at various levels that each country, including the countries of the former Soviet Union, has the right to decide who its partners in the world will be, whether it is states or organizations. But obviously we will draw conclusions as a sovereign state for our own policy and our own interests and we will proceed from our interests, including our security interests, because the accession to NATO of such countries as Ukraine and Georgia would mean a colossal geopolitical shift.

We are looking at all the possible consequences of such a move in terms of, above all, the national interests of Russia, the security interests, our economic interests and relations with all the countries.

Q: My question can be equally directed to Nikolai Patrushev and Sergei Lavrov. After the Americans and their allies moved into Afghanistan, the production of heroin there increased by 40 times according to some expert assessments. This has been widely discussed in our hearings and various other forums. This is my question. In order to work out our position -- be it official negotiations between special services and at the level of the Foreign Ministry -- what do our American colleagues have to say to the questions that arise: how come, when there were the egregious Taliban, there was no heroin, and when the noble civilized Yankee came, heroin started flowing freely?

Patrushev: First of all, I would like to stress that if we take this area, the main threat is the production and spread of heroin and other narcotics and not only in Russia, because Russia is a transit state for other European countries. So, it concerns not only the Russians, but also the Europeans.

I must stress that before the counterterrorist operation began, the production of heroin in Afghanistan was considerable and it was widespread. I agree that the amount of narcotics produced now has grown. So, during our talks we cite this information and discuss it. But I must say that there is a certain distribution of duties among those who take part in this counterterrorist operation. So, there is the declared wish to diminish these threats, but the reality is the opposite. So, we have to continue this work in negotiations multilaterally and bilaterally. This theme will be touched upon in the conference in Kazan on the multilateral basis. But in addition to the talks we need to take measures to secure our state against the penetration of narcotics.

Lavrov: I would just like to add a couple of words by way of an illustration. When the present-day operation of the multinational forces in Afghanistan began, in parallel there were the US-led coalition forces. Coordination is now being established between them and the international forces are coming under NATO control. But from the very first days of this operation, because it had been authorized by the UN Security Council, we insisted that its mandate should also include the fight against the narcotics threat coming out of Afghanistan. At the same time the countries that have contributed their troops to this mission made a plea not to overload the mandate because, they argued, first it was necessary to strengthen stability, ensure security and then pass on to fighting drug trafficking. Later the addition to the mandate was approved by the UN Security Council, but it fell to the British to fight narcotics and conceptually they proceeded from the assumption that the main thrust should be to stimulate farmers to switch from growing poppies to, for example, growing corn or millet or whatever grows well there. But it proved to be economically ineffective. And we argued that along with such soft measures of encouragement, so to speak, measures of education, that are called upon to take people away from drug production and provide economic disincentives to that business, it is also necessary to use authority, including the authority written into the mandate of those forces.

We talked about the need to identify and destroy heroin labs, to intercept the caravans shipping drugs to Central Asia and on to Russia and Europe, including Britain. We talked about the need to establish drug security belts around Afghanistan, but our Western partners fought against that claw and nail, saying that this would perceived as setting up a sort of cordon sanitaire around the young democracy.

Thank God, better late than never, but they have understood that nothing will be achieved without such security belts, without involving countries on Afghanistan's perimeter in this struggle. Having understood and agreed with that, they have nevertheless for three years now balked at our proposal that close online cooperation in information exchanges be organized between NATO, which is now leading the operation of the international forces in Afghanistan, on the one hand, and the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty, on the other. Those caravans that are spotted in Afghanistan but for some reason cannot be intercepted by the international forces there could be intercepted by the OCST collective quick- response forces on the other side of the border.

Gryzlov: I see. Thank you, Sergei Viktorovich. Dear colleagues, a break till 12:30, and we will continue with questions and answers. (BREAK)

Bryzlov: Who will ask a question for Boris Ivanovich Alferov?

Q: Svechnikov on Alferov's card. A question for the foreign minister. Dear Sergei Viktorovich, relations with China have been developing vigorously over the past few years, which is good. At the same time, to what extent do you think China is reliable as our long- term partner?

For example, recently the Chinese received Saakashvili and showed understanding for his position. For many years now a stream of illegal Chinese immigrants has been coming in across the Russian- Chinese border, and trainloads of unlawfully procured timber, metals and valuable biological resources have been going the other way to China. Russian criminals are linking up with Chinese ones. Don't the Chinese authorities see all that? And if they do, why aren't they taking any measures for their part? Indeed, this harms the development of trust and partnership with China. Thank you.

Lavrov: Of course, everything you mentioned by way of example causes concern, and it is real. But this is also a very small part of the general picture of our relations with China. Their importance far transcends any individual aspect of our living side by side as neighbors. They are our strategic partner. China is a fast growing power, which undoubtedly has a great future. There are many political forecasts to this effect, and many colleagues are aware of them. It is our vital interest to live in friendship and cooperation with our great neighbor on the basis of mutual respect and goodneighborliness in the spirit of the strategic documents signed by the two countries' leaders. Having said that, of course, I will agree with you that this implies mutual cooperation, mutual regard for each other's interests and mutual respect. It is in this vein that the leaders of our countries have instructed our relations to be built.

You mentioned support for Saakashvili. Apparently, what was meant was that the documents approved or signed on the results of his visit there mentioned support for the president's position on ensuring Georgia's territorial integrity.

There must be nothing surprising about that since territorial integrity, including the solution of the Taiwan problem, is a central issue to China itself. This is, without exaggeration, the key question for China's foreign policy and foreign strategy. that is why this subject is always present everywhere, including in the formulas we discuss within the framework of Russian-Chinese documents.

The wording related to the territorial integrity of Georgia did not go beyond the formulas that had been agreed in the Security Council and that by no means ignore the fact that a considerable part of Georgia's territory is an international conflict zone.

In our contacts with Chinese colleagues we explained our approach in detail and they agreed with it. As regards illegal immigrants, as we see, steps are now being taken in contacts with the appropriate authorities to revise certain agreements which allowed non-visa tourism and which, as we have learned, have been abused by Chinese partners. These agreements will be revised. Criminals and shuttle traders will be unable to go through so easily in the guise of tourists, although we cannot talk about a 100- percent seal-off either. As for criminals and their linkup, this is our common problem, it is on the agenda, and it will be tackled by those agencies which are concerned with such things. We do see these problems, but all the prospects of Russian-Chinese cooperation cannot be reduced to them.

Gryzlov: Thank you. The card of Sergei Vladimirovich Ivanov.

Q: Deputy Ovsyannikov on Ivanov's card. Nikolai Platonovich, all the deputies of the LDPR faction in virtually all the Dumas have had a warm, friendly and cooperative attitude to Russia's Federal Security Service under your leadership. Moreover, the key aspects of our policy are such priorities as the integrity of our state, protection of its territory and, therefore, stability and calm.

Let me ask a question in this context. Certain countries in the post-Soviet space are making attempts to establish new communities of nations actually as a counter to the CIS. How does that impact or may impact on cooperation with the secret services of the CIS member countries? Thank you very much.

Patrushev: Thank you. Well, first of all, thank you for your positive attitude to us and your support for our work. As regards those questions, they are a political question -- what communities of states are being set up? But we do maintain bilateral relations withal the CIS nations, and of course, we practice certain forms within the framework of these relations, such as exchanges of information and joint activities. Apart from that, twice a year we convene the council of the heads of security or secret services and law-enforcement agencies of the CIS nations -- the latest one was held in Dushanbe recently -- and that council works out understanding on multilateral cooperation, and the issues of terrorism are among its priorities. It is not just the CIS, as I said -- we invite representatives of European secret services.

That is why we have no differences in these matters, and for the most part we agree. But problems do exist -- and I mentioned that as well -- when we have to hold lengthy negotiations and try to convince our colleagues on one matter or another, but that is a thing for bilateral negotiations.

Gryzlov. Thank you. Vitaly Ivanovich Sevastyanov, welcome.

Q: A question for you, dear Sergei Viktorovich. The US is known to have been in negotiations with Kazakhstan for several years now to deploy air defense missiles in the Sary-Shagan area. Such missiles could shoot down our strategic missiles of the Altai group, which is of course not publicized. They say these are air defense missiles but actually they are anti-missile missiles.

Of late there has been more discussion again of this issue. Is that true?

Lavrov: You know, we conduct a very close dialogue with Kazakhstan at all levels and on all matters. I am not aware of such talk, be it in terms of anti-missile defense or any other types of missiles. In any case I think that if such conversation surfaces, each member state of the Collective Security Treaty organization is obliged to promptly inform its partners of such conversations and enter into consultations, which means that such proposals are to be discussed jointly. Such consultations under CSTO auspices on Kyrgyzia were initiated in connection with the talks between Americans and Kyrgyzia on extending their use of the Manas base, and we are clear as to what these talks are about. Let us assume that the final agreements, before they are approved, will be reported to the members of the CSTO. I assume that any such situations, including the one you have mentioned, but one about which frankly I have not heard, that such situations must be covered by the provisions of the Collective Security Treaty.

Q: Nikolai Platonovich, you have spoken very convincingly about the fight against terrorism your agency is waging. These are mostly methods connected with armed struggle against us and transit of narcotics. But in my view the security of our population and the country depend on many other factors. In particular, our country is flooded with a huge amount of manufactured goods, foodstuffs and drugs, but ... (inaudible) but this impedes wide scale use of modern achievements of physics to detect substances that are very dangerous for public health.

Lavrov: Regarding the question about Iran I have to say the following. Proposals have been put to the Iranian leadership drawn up by six countries -- Russia, the United States, China, France, Germany and Britain. These proposals were given a broadly positive assessment in an early reaction from the secretary of the former national security council of Iran. They have been accepted for study. And these proposals imply serious possibilities for the development of Iran's peaceful energy, for the transfer of non- nuclear modern technologies to Iran, for involving Iran in a dialogue on security in the region. And this in a context when there will be no suspicions as to the exclusively peaceful character of Iran's nuclear program.

These proposals also envisage that while negotiations on these proposals are in progress, Iran suspends enrichment and the Security Council suspends discussions of any resolution that may be devoted to this problem.

I would not like to engage in guesswork as to what will happen if the negotiations don't get off the ground because we doing everything to prevent this happening and to launch the negotiations. I can say only one thing. There is no talk about sanctions in the Security Council at present. And any measures that may be backed by Russia in the Security Council may have to do only with a situation when Iran acts in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including cooperation with IAEA inspectors who are still on Iranian sites observing what is happening there and we do not see that Iran is trying to eject them. There is some positive movement and we should concentrate on this now. Neither Bushehr nor any other contracts are under question.

Patrushev: We regularly report on the results of the work in fighting terrorism and of course we set the task of preventing terrorist attacks. We have prevented many, hundreds during the year, but of course, many of them have not been prevented. There is the task of making this work more effective and minimizing the possibilities for carrying out terrorist attacks. So, all methods of work, including operational and human assets, are used, and of course the achievements of science and technology.

If you had asked me several years ago I would have told you that we are underfinanced, and we have no opportunity to improve our technological base. Now this is no longer true: we have sufficient financing. We use technological achievements, we turn to our industry. Unfortunately, they are not always able to meet our needs immediately, but they are working on it. I assure you that the technological capacity is being used, sometimes, we surprise our adversaries and then effectiveness is increased. But still further work by scientists is needed to develop still more effective methods.

Q: Nikolai Platonovich, a creeping attack of religion on secular institutions is taking place in the national republics of the North Caucasus with the connivance of the local authorities. The religious figures control state institutions and the heads of city administrations. Representatives of the clergy are sent to the less religious areas. They have special television time. But we understand that all this will soon have real consequences. I have just looked at a book in a stall called "Islamization of Russia: Alarming Scenario for the Future." Don't you think that the federal center should exert more influence on these processes? If religion is separated from the state let them proceed within this framework.

Patrushev: I share your concern about the way processes are developing on the territory of the Southern Federal District. We are aware of the manifestations you have mentioned and we inform the corresponding instances of what is happening. A reaction is needed. There is a concern. But I must say that measures to normalize the situation are taken and will be taken and I think they will have positive results.

Q: I have question for Sergei Lavrov. The settlement of issues of state borders is key element in ensuring national security. Last year we had a heated debate here on the border agreements first with China and then with Kazakhstan. The first part of my question is: How much has the solution of these issues affected our bilateral relations with these states? And secondly, what are the prospects for the settlement of outstanding border disputes, moving from south to north, the delimitation of the Caspian, the Kerch Strait with Ukraine, border treaties with Estonia and Latvia and the continental shelf of Barents Sea with Norway?

Lavrov: The signing of the border treaties with Kazakhstan and China has been important in advancing our strategic partnership with the closest neighbors of Russia and had a very positive impact on all the spheres of our relations. And by the way, the issues that worried local citizens in some situations were amicably settled during the demarcation of the border with due account of our interests and the interests of people.

As for the prospects of further work the talks on border delimitation with Georgia are not going easily. Our Georgian colleagues have introduced an extraneous element, namely, they do not agree to the representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia taking part in the negotiations. And of course the border regions are taking part on our side. This is necessary under our laws. Both North Ossetia and the Krasnodar Krai must take part in such negotiations. We are trying to bring home to our Georgian colleagues that attempts to keep the border territories out of these negotiations are futile.

The situation in the talks with Ukraine on the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait is very difficult. Just yesterday another meeting of the delegations took place, when the Ukrainian side suddenly questioned the framework agreement of 2003 signed by the president which says among other things that the Kerch Strait historically is a joint body of water between the two states and must be regulated accordingly. The Ukrainian negotiators yesterday proposed that delimitation in the Kerch Strait -- and the word "delimitation" has never been used with regard to the strait -- takes place on the basis of general principles of international law. That is a direct departure from the agreement between the presidents. In this situation our delegation could not agree to signing the protocol refusing to put its signature under ideas that contradict the framework agreement. So, the negotiations still lie ahead.

And regarding border talks with Estonian and Latvia the situation is the same. If our colleagues in Tallinn and Riga revert to the original agreements -- these agreements should be worked on and signed and ratified without any political strings -- we are open to resuming that work. And I don't think it will take much time. But as long as these strings remain -- and they pose a threat and contain territorial claims to us -- there is no question of returning to the negotiation table.

Regarding the Barents Sea continental shelf. We think the last round of the talks was positive. The Norwegians are moving more constructively toward a compromise. And it is also important that they have finally taken note of our long-time idea that the companies of two countries, private oil and gas companies of the two countries start joint discussion of future development of the offshore resources including the areas subject to delimitation and have tentative discussions as to the final line of delimitation. So, as regards the Barents Sea I expect early progress.

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"Is the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons still attainable?" ANDREW K. SEMMEL DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION
Federal News Service
(for personal use only)

SEMMEL: Good Afternoon. It's good to be here today. Let me begin by thanking the UN Association for organizing this conference and for addressing the timely and important question: "Is the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons still attainable?"

This question, as posed, seems to have inherent in it a basic assumption that the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which underpins this regime, are in jeopardy. It is clear that the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the NPT face serious challenges today challenges that are more complex and serious than those that the regime faced in the past. Indeed, the regime is at a crossroads. One road leads to crisis stemming from the noncompliance of States Parties; the other leads to strengthening the treaty regime to make it viable for the 21st century.

During the 1990s, the noncompliance of Iraq and the DPRK seriously challenged the NPT and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The international community effectively addressed the Iraqi issue then, but is still grappling with the DPRK challenge. It sought to reinforce the institutional basis of the treaty by agreeing to the indefinite extension of the NPT and by strengthening the IAEA Safeguards System.

Today, the principal challenges to the nuclear nonproliferation regime are three-fold: (1) the noncompliance of the DPRK and Iran, and the potential that others will follow their lead if we do not deal effectively with their noncompliance; (2) the attempt by terrorists and other non-state actors in acquire the capabilities to produce and employ nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction; and (3) the growing availability and interest by states in acquiring nuclear technology, including dual use technologies, that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. On this latter challenge, we must somehow find the right balance between the peaceful development of nuclear energy and the need to prevent further nuclear weapons proliferation.

Despite attempts by Iran and others to undermine the NPT, there is cause for optimism. Libya, in response to the will of the international community to hold it accountable for its past actions, decided to renounce terrorism and WMD proliferation. The United States responded by restoring full diplomatic relations and removing Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism. The NPT is stronger for the difficult and courageous actions undertaken by Libya. We encourage others to emulate this model.

The United States is using all the tools at its disposal -- at all levels -- to address these challenges, including consultations at the United Nations, the NPT review process, the IAEA Board of Governors, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), to cite major examples. Complementing these established multilateral channels are groups of like-minded states cooperating together to deal with nonproliferation threats; the most prominent example is the Proliferation Security Initiative, or PSI.

Our approach to Iranian noncompliance is a case in point. The United States has worked closely with our allies to persuade Iran to change course and abandon its nuclear weapons pursuits. To show strong U.S. leadership and to give diplomacy the best chance to succeed, Secretary Rice announced yesterday (May 31) that, if Iran fully and verifiably suspended enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, the United States would become a full party in the EU-3 (U.K., France, and Germany) negotiations with Iran.

Iran must make a choice. If Iran continues on its current course, it will face increasing isolation and further UNSC action. If Iran reacts constructively, it will lead to negotiations that can provide peaceful nuclear energy for the Iranian people. We want diplomacy to succeed, and we, together with our allies, want to show Iran that there can be benefits to cooperation. Iran should not believe that it can benefit from the possession of nuclear weapons. We urge Iran to suspend all enrichment related activities, to fully cooperate with the IAEA investigation, and to return to negotiations.

Over two years ago, President Bush announced several new nonproliferation and counterproliferation initiatives. That speech marks the most ambitious recent attempt to create a strategy or game plan for coping with nuclear nonproliferation. These initiatives included efforts at the international level, such as the proposal for a United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) to criminalize WMD proliferation, efforts to strengthen the IAEA safeguards system through the creation of an IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification, a proposal to universalize the tougher Additional Protocol to augment existing NPT safeguards agreements, and to make implementation of the Protocol a condition that countries must meet to be eligible to receive nuclear supplies. President Bush also proposed a complete ban on the export of sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology to all countries not now having such full- scale facilities, while ensuring that those countries that forego these fuel cycle programs would have access to reliable nuclear fuel at prevailing market prices.

In April 2004, the UN Security Council adopted UNSCR 1540, establishing for the first time binding Chapter VII obligations on all UN member states to develop and enforce legal and national regulatory measures against the proliferation of WMD. If implemented successfully, each state's actions will significantly strengthen international standards related to the export of sensitive items, and limit access to sensitive technologies.

Yet, a clear gap persists between the global consensus about the threat of WMD proliferation and concrete action on the ground. Full implementation of UNSCR 1540 will help close this gap. We are pleased that the UNSC adopted in late April UNSCR 1673 which extends the 1540 mandate for two more years. We'll continue to work aggressively through the 1540 Committee and its panel of experts to achieve the nonproliferation objectives articulated in resolution 1540.

The United States is working on its own plan to provide assistance to other states to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540. We are encouraging other governments in position to do so to offer assistance to countries not yet meeting the requirements of this resolution. We also encourage outreach to those governments that have not yet submitted reports to the UNSCR 1540 Committee to complete this important work. The regional seminars planned for later this year should be helpful in shaping next steps in implementation of the Resolution. Working together, we can ensure that all states fully implement this resolution and meet its aims to prevent VIN/ED proliferation.

As proposed by President Bush, the IAEA Board of Governors established a new committee last June to strengthen further the international safeguards system of the IAEA. This committee is charged with examining ways to strengthen the Agency's ability to ensure that nations comply with their international treaty obligations. The Committee has met three times since last November, and has begun to outline ways to strengthen the safeguards system.

We also have seen an increase in the number of NPT Parties with Additional Protocols. To date 107 NPT parties have signed Additional Protocols, and 75 are now in force. When in force, the AP permits the IAEA to inspect more facilities on shorter notice, and to seek more information about civil nuclear programs.

We are working within the G-8 and the NSG to establish effective controls on enrichment and reprocessing technology to inhibit states from pursuing nuclear weapons in the guise of peaceful nuclear energy. Complementing these efforts was U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Bodman's announcement of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). GNEP is a comprehensive strategy designed to promote the expansion of emissions-free nuclear energy worldwide by demonstrating and deploying new technologies to recycle nuclear fuel, minimize waste, and prevent the spread of nuclear technologies and materials.

Some have asserted that the outcome of the May 2005 NPT Review Conference signaled that the NPT is in crisis. While the NPT may indeed be under stress, it is not because the Conference failed to achieve consensus or an agreed outcome. The Conference convened at a time of serious challenge to the Treaty. It bogged down because of calculated procedural maneuverings by Iran and other governments, and was unable to reach consensus on any issue of substance. One needs to put this lack of consensus into perspective. Since 1975, only three of the six previous NPT Review Conferences were able to achieve consensus on substance. Although we might be disappointed, we should not be surprised that parties to a nearly universal Treaty were unable to reach consensus. We should keep in mind that the Conference discussed the challenges to the Treaty and aired new and innovative ways to address them. The Review Conference helped build momentum for progress on issues such as Iran, the Committee on Safeguards, broader support for nonproliferation and compliance standards, and the strengthening of protection of nuclear facilities and material under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Thus, real issues were discussed and real proposals negotiated. That not all nations were prepared to recognize the real problems in the regime did not lessen the value of the important work that many countries pursued at the Review Conference.

Others have asserted that the NPT is in crisis because the United States is not meeting fully its NPT obligations, citing in particular a supposed lack of progress on Article VI, the Treaty's provision on nuclear disarmament. We are proud of our strong record on Article VI. President Bush has pursued policies designed to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons for deterrence, and the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile continues to dwindle. Under the Moscow Treaty, we have agreed to reduce our operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 to 2,200, about a third of their 2002 levels, and less than a quarter of the level at the end of the Cold War. When this Treaty is fully implemented by 2012, the United States will have reduced the number of strategic nuclear warheads it had deployed in 1990 by about 80%. We also have reduced our nonategic nuclear weapons by 90% since the end of the Cold War, dismantling over 3,000 such weapons pursuant to the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives of 1991 and 1992. Moreover, the United States introduced a new text for a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty on May 18, and we hope that serious negotiations can begin soon in the Conference on Disarmament. States are free, of course, to ask whether further or faster progress could or should be made, but no one can question in good faith the significant advances the United States has made to nuclear disarmament during the last two decades.

Finally, some see the joint U.S.-Indian partnership, announced by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Singh in July 2005, as a threat to the NPT. Yet, under the July 2005 accord, India committed to a series of actions that it previously had avoided. In particular, India agreed to implement strong and effective export control legislation, and to exercise export restraint on enrichment and reprocessing technologies. It also agreed, unilaterally to adhere to the NSG and MTCR Guidelines on nuclear and ballistic missile transactions, and to separate its civil and military facilities and programs, placing all its civil facilities and activities under IAEA safeguards, and to sign and adhere to an Additional Protocol covering its civil facilities, and to maintain its nuclear testing moratorium. India also has promised to work for the conclusion of an FMCT. Each of these activities is significant. Together they constitute a substantial shift under which India will move into closer conformity with international nonproliferation standards and practices.

The successful implementation of all these measures will help strengthen the global nonproliferation regime - a regime that we continue to support and wish to see strengthened. The United States has no intention of seeking any change to the NPT. We do not, and will not, recognize India as a nuclear weapon State. We will abide by all our NPT commitments, and will in no way assist India's nuclear weapons program. We continue to support NPT universality and encourage all NPT non-parties to adhere to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon States, although India has stated clearly that it has no intention to do so for the foreseeable future. At the same time, this initiative recognizes India's critical energy needs, which can be partly met through nuclear power, as well as the benefits of drawing India into closer harmony with the nonproliferation regime.

In conclusion, let me reference a comment that Senator Lugar, my former boss, made at the United Nations a few months ago when we concluded his remarks by saying "The non-proliferation precedents we set in the coming decade are likely to determine whether the world lives in anxious uncertainty from crisis to crisis or whether we are able to construct a global coalition dedicated to preventing catastrophes and to giving people the confidence and security to pursue fulfilling lives" It is the desire of the United States to work with its partners to construct a global coalition dedicated to preventing catastrophes from WMD proliferation. If the international community fails to counter the threat of WMD proliferation, the impact on future generations will be devastating, and be felt, not just here, but in every country of the world.

Thank you very much.


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L.  Of Interest

Secrets Are Coming to Light: Russian Academicians to Elect New Members Today
Yuriy Medvedev
Rossiyskaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

The RAN General Meeting, now in progress, will summarize work results and elect new members. And of course, the reform of the academy that started on 1 May will be at the center of attention. It foresees a dramatic increase in wages, staff cuts, and creation of an innovation sector. This Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent interviewed the country's leading scientists about all of this on the eve of the forum.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) Gennadiy Andreyevich, rumors that the situation in the academy is as strained as it could possibly get, and that "needed people -- government officials, bankers, businessmen -- are pressing" for membership, are already circulating in the media in connection with the upcoming elections. They would allegedly help the economy survive in today's complex conditions. Could you comment on this?

(Mesyats) Such gossip has now become a permanent attribute of all academy elections. A few names of contenders are pulled from the list, and a racket is raised about them. Who does this, and why? I think people who want to humiliate the academy, who are trying to settle scores with some of the candidates.

People who are accusing scientists of conducting the elections behind the scenes have hardly any idea about how they are held. The RAN Charter is very democratic. In principle, any groundskeeper could apply for candidacy, and we are obliged to consider him. Today, 20-30 people are vying for each slot. The balloting is secret, and no one can twist anybody else's arm, and compel someone to cast his vote for an undesirable candidate.

Only after the elections are held, and everyone sees who has ultimately become an academy member, can the first conclusions be made. And I might recall incidentally that Prince Aleksandr Menshikov couldn't even sign his name, but he was a member of the English Royal Society. Such things happen.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) Scientists heatedly debated the academy's modernization during the last General Meeting. And so it started on 1 May, and the wages of scientists are to double right away. Can we expect the situation in science to change abruptly?

(Mesyats) The first conclusions could be reached very soon, when scientific associates go to pay offices to collect their wages. The possibility is not excluded that some will be disappointed with what they get. The impact of the increase is not going to be uniform, at least at the initial stage of modernization.

And in general, as is true with all reforms, reform in the RAN will have its pluses and minuses. For example, money appropriated to the academy was simply redistributed, with an abrupt decrease in expenditures on equipment purchases. Besides that, the number of scientific associates that will be receiving money from the budget will decrease 20 percent over 3 years.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) What sort of cuts are anticipated in the RAN Physics Institute, of which you are the head?

(Mesyats) As early as this year 130 persons will be cut, and in the course of 3 years, about 400. And after all, starting in the 1990s more than half of the institute's employees left it. Oftentimes arguments presented in support of particular reforms provoke perplexity. For example, what does a personnel cut of 7 percent per year mean? In the Labor Code, a figure as small as 5 percent is considered to be a mass cut. Its coordination with different levels of authority takes about a year. The upshot is that one bureaucratic hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing.

All academy institutes are in a difficult situation today, given that the cuts are putting up a barrier first and foremost to young specialists. And then we don't know what to do with the engineers, with the administration. This reform doesn't concern them.

The directors of many institutes are speaking up about these problems. No one is complaining, or expressing pessimism, but we have to put some thought into how to resolve the arising issues.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) The reform's authors believe that it will not only make it possible to increase the wages of scientists, but also impart momentum to the innovative activities of institutes. This is your bailiwick in the academy. Has there been any progress in this area?

(Mesyats) The cuts are being made with the assumption that some institute employees will go over from the research sector to the innovative sector. They will remain on staff, but they will earn their own money. As for how effective this idea will be, time will tell. As an example, 40 employees have already gone over to the innovative sector at the FIAN (Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences) voluntarily.

As for the situation in general, the academy has adopted a program that includes about a hundred innovative projects. Three of them -- rather large ones at that -- are already underway. Thus, tumor-treating proton accelerators are being created at the FIAN. These are compact devices that can be installed in any hospital. And clothing and footwear for victims of cerebral paralysis have been developed on the basis of space technologies at the Institute of Biomedical Problems. Finally, a new class of antiseptics was created in the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics.

These projects are already receiving funding, since they are very promising from the standpoint of commercialization. Russia has a fertile soil for investments in science, but unfortunately the demand for scientific accomplishments in the country is low. The moment it arises, scientists are quick to find an adequate response. They need orders, and the possibility for working normally.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) But institute directors are saying that land tax, which could just about "shut down" science, is hanging over them like a Damoclean sword. What's going on there?

(Mesyats) Before this year, institutes enjoyed concessions on this tax, but starting 1 January of this year they are obliged to pay it. There are taxes on personal and real property. The amounts that are piling up are beyond the means of the institutes. In Pushchino, for example, the FIAN has an observatory that has to pay taxes amounting to more than it receives from the budget.

The Ministry of Finance made a verbal promise to reimburse all of these payments, but only starting in the third quarter, while the local government is demanding payment of the tax right from the first. The moment you fall behind, and the clock starts ticking, the penalties pile up. I feel that these taxes need to be abolished, as has been done in all of the leading countries.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) Some people in the academy are voicing apprehensions that the Ministry of Finance could renege at any time on its promise to reimburse the taxes, and then the Damoclean sword will come down on the academy. Could this really happen?

(Mesyats) Let's take a specific situation. The academy used extrabudgetary resources to acquire $10 million worth of equipment for a hydrogen power project. And right away, it became property of the state. Then suddenly the institute received paperwork from the Ministry of Finance telling it that taxes paid on equipment acquired with extrabudgetary money will not be reimbursed. It turns out that we have purchased equipment for the country, and we still have to pay in excess of 2 percent in taxes, which is more than $200,000 per year. Such decisions are a hindrance to our science, and to its normal work in the extremely difficult conditions in which it has found itself.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) The current academy elections would likely go unnoticed by the public at large were it not for the addition of several names to the rolls that we would be hard-pressed to associate with real scientific activity. What can you say about this?

(Dobretsov) Because candidates will be discussed and approved at departmental meetings up until the very last moment, and anything could happen, there's no sense in putting forward hand-picked candidates. think that in principle, the Academy of Sciences will elect people who are worthy.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) The reform that has started in the academy presupposes that scientists will engage themselves actively in innovations. Some time ago, it was in Novosibirsk's Academy Town that President Putin came to the support of scientists who had been lobbying long and hard for creation of special economic zones. Then came the decision that such a zone would be created in Siberia, though not in Novosibirsk but in Tomsk. Wasn't that hard to take?

(Dobretsov) If people did feel bad about it, they didn't for very long. Tomsk, after all, is a no less worthy candidate, and science, education, and industry are very strong there. In Novosibirsk, meantime, we are making preparations to create what will perhaps be the country's largest technopark. Many small ones have already been "bred" in Russia, but their contribution to the economy is pitiful. There are plans, meantime, to invest 15 billion rubles into this project, and it will put out science-intensive products worth over $10 million per year!

Both this technopark and the special zone in Tomsk are to a significant extent still on paper. No one can say as yet which of these variants will be more effective. There are, after all, numerous barriers in the path of innovations in Russia.

For example, people at all levels of government have long been saying that it's about time to resolve ownership of intellectual property. It would already seem clear to everyone that it should belong to the institute in which the development was created. But the issue remains open.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) Aren't you afraid that a large technopark enjoining colossal income would lure young scientists away from the institutes? The pay might turn out to be incomparable....

(Dobretsov) That risk certainly exists. And people are already saying that young scientists will rush to join private firms, and no one will be left to work in academy institutes. But by the moment the technopark in Novosibirsk and the special economic zone in Tomsk go into operation, the average pay of scientists in academy institutes of our department will have climbed to almost R40,000. This is good money for those who are truly interested in fundamental science. And it is fully probable that many of them would be able to stay in the institutes.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) Why are you so cautious with your estimates? Don't you think that even such amounts will keep young scientists in the laboratories?

(Dobretsov) Life compels us to look at things in a realistic way. According to the surveys, 70 percent of students at Novosibirsk State University state outright that they intend to go abroad in the future. And the level of education they receive at NGU allows them to do so. For example, we have academy institutes to which graduates of this university go after getting their diplomas, and where the staff of scientific associates has changed three times over the last 10 years.

An academy town is something unique. It isn't Moscow, where a person could simply leave an institute and find all kinds of other jobs. Here, either you have to do science, because for practical purposes there's nothing else, or leave.

But if you remain, then right away the problem of where to live comes up. Mortgage lending, about which so much is being said, isn't actually working well. For it to be accessible, you have to offer 10-15 year loans not exceeding 6 percent. In such a case young people would have a chance to settle into an apartment.

(Rossiyskaya Gazeta) A general meeting means not only elections, but also a time to summarize results. What scientific accomplishments could be singled out among the many projects of institutes of the Siberian Department of the RAN?

(Dobretsov) First and foremost, placement of a huge free-electron laser into operation at the Nuclear Physics Institute imeni Budker. This is a real breakthrough, demonstrating the principle domestic science should follow -- "overtake without catching up." That is, actively seek those scientific areas in which competitors aren't yet working. And trying to catch up in areas where the leading countries have already moved far ahead is for practical purposes a hopeless endeavor.

The free-electron laser has permitted us to conduct a series of unique experiments, particularly in biology.

Scientists of the academy's Siberian Department have also carried out other, very promising scientific projects, a number of them at world level. And it would be fundamentally important to underscore the following here: the most interesting results have been obtained at the juncture of different sciences, for example mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. We have already been working 9 years in an interdisciplinary niche, doing everything we can to encourage integrative projects.

As of 1 January 2006 there were 413 organizations in the RAN system employing 112,633 persons, including 55,533 scientific workers. Of this number, 10,008 are doctors of sciences, 26,226 are candidates, and 18,494 are scientific associates without an academic degree.

The RAN has 1,164 members, including 467 academicians and 697 corresponding members.

The academy's funding from the federal budget has grown 22.6 percent compared to 2004, to a figure of R22.864 billion, and the volume of extrabudgetary resources comes to R13.846 billion.

The number of basic departments created in RAN institutes under the program to integrate science and education climbed from 232 in 2002 to 350 in 2005, and the number of students undergoing training in them increased from 5,776 to 25,000. In 2005, 1,794 people became candidates of sciences, which is 5.7 percent more than in 2004. The number of doctorate dissertations defended was 479, including 332 by scientific associates and doctorate candidates of the RAN. Scientific organizations of the RAN have hired 1,012 young specialists in permanent jobs.

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