U.S.-Russia Cooperation Touted for Reducing Nuclear Threat

By Eric Green
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington - Russia is one of the strongest partners of the United States in countering the global terrorist threat and in restraining countries from becoming “nuclear weapons states,” says Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

In April 25 prepared remarks, Negroponte touted the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program as an important aspect of the U.S.-Russian relationship in securing and dismantling weapons of mass destruction in states of the former Soviet Union.  Negroponte said the program also encourages “higher levels of conduct in handling these weapons” and supports U.S.-Russian cooperation “with the objective of preventing proliferation.”

Speaking at the EastWest Institute’s 2007 awards dinner in Washington, Negroponte said the threat reduction program has provided funding and expertise for former Soviet states to decommission nuclear, biological and chemical weapon stockpiles, as agreed to by the Soviet Union in disarmament treaties.  He added that in recent years, the program’s mission has expanded to enhancing land and maritime border security in some former Soviet countries.

Negroponte also praised U.S.-Russian bilateral cooperation in the Six-Party Talks aimed at eliminating nuclear programs from the Korean Peninsula. (See related article.)

In addition, he commended Russia’s partnership in the successful passage of U.N. sanctions against Iran in December 2006 and March 2007.  The sanctions were designed to constrain Iran’s development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programs.  (See related article.)

Negroponte said the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship is critical, not just for Russians and Americans, “but for the many other peoples and nations who look to us for far-sighted leadership and constructive international cooperation.”

One of the most “dynamic dimensions” in the U.S.-Russian relationship is in commercial cooperation, said Negroponte.  He said that in 2006 the United States and Russia reached a bilateral agreement providing each country more access to the other's markets. (See related article.)

“This was an important step forward that will benefit us both,” said Negroponte.

He said Russia is working to fulfill all of the multilateral requirements for its membership in the World Trade Organization, which the United States views as a “positive step towards Russia’s integration into the world economy.”

The United States and Russia also work closely on a wide array of other programs, including the International Space Station, said Negroponte.  This partnership paid huge dividends, he said, when the Russian Soyuz spacecraft was the only remaining means of reaching the International Space Station, allowing for the rescue of stranded American and Russian astronauts.

“So in the areas of scientific research, space exploration, commerce, countering terrorism and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the world looks to Russia and the United States for leadership,” said Negroponte.

He added that 200 years of U.S.-Russian diplomatic relations have shown the two countries are “essential partners in promoting peace and prosperity around the world.  Every effort we can make to strengthen that partnership is a wise investment in our common future.”

Negroponte extended his condolences on the passing of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.  He said as Russia’s first democratically elected post-Soviet president, Yeltsin will be remembered for his “significant contribution to ending the Cold War and his efforts to expand political and economic freedom at home and abroad.”

Yeltsin also will be remembered “fondly by the American people for establishing good relations between our nations after many years of conflict,” Negroponte said.

The full text of Negroponte’s remarks is available on the State Department Web site.

For more information about U.S. relations with Russia, see Russia.

For more about U.S. arms control policies, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.