Russian Defence Minister to discuss nuclear weapons security in the US

Publish date: May 9, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

On May 12-15 Russian Defence Minister Igor Rodionov will visit the US to meet his US counterpart, Defence Minister William Cohen. The main topic of negotiations will be provisions for safe and secure handling of Russian nuclear weapons, and non-proliferation issues, reports Russian National News Service (NNS). A previous official visit by Rodionov, scheduled for the end of 1996, was cancelled on less than a day's notice for unknown reasons.

On April 24, the US Ministry of Defence revealed plans to allocate an additional 214,3 million USD to Russian nuclear safety upgrades, according to RIA News. The funds are allocated through the Nunn-Lugar fund, established some three years ago and primarely intended for security measures in regard to Russian nuclear weapons. Originally at 750 million USD, only some 200 million of the fund’s money has been spent since its creation.

Prior to the visit, the US Defence Minister stated intentions to increase the financial aid to Russia through the programs on nuclear weapons dismantling and chemical weaponry elimination. However, warnes RIA News, this ministerial intention may be criticised by the Congress, since the Russian Parliament signed but did not ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. According to the last statement from the Russian Parliament, the Convention is to be ratified this autumn.