US Secretary Of State Met Russian Legislators

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has promised to Russian legislators that the US would positively decide on removing economic barriers for Russia. Vladimir Lukin, deputy speaker of the State Duma, said this to journalists after Powell's meeting with Russian deputies. The legislators asked Powell if the Jackson-Vanick amendment could be abolished. This amendment was introduced under the pretext that the USSR did not allow freedom of emigration, and it still restricts Russia's trade. The Russian legislators also raised the issue of US recognition of Russia's economy as a market one, along with compliance with standard conditions for Russia's joining the WTO. Missile defences were also discussed during the meeting. According to Lukin, Powell said that "since Russia and the US trust each other, they have the right to defend themselves in the way they choose." While speaking on boosting the Russia-NATO relations, Powell said that he was "an advocate of the 20", that is giving Russia the right to vote alongside with the 19 current NATO member-states.

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