Russia will do its best to settle differences with the European Union over a multilateral programme for its nuclear environmental safety before a Russian-EU summit gathers next month, if such settlement is possible at all, Deputy Prime Minister Victor Khristenko said to a news conference which summed up a fourth session of the Russia-EU cooperation council in Luxembourg. "Russia will work to smooth out the differences, but it is not ready to do that at any price. It will not put up with its interests trampled underfoot," he stressed. Two rounds of talks on the programme gathered within a few recent weeks, and a third will gather within the month. It is not quite correct to pose stringent time limits to the effort--or further talks may bring disappointment, warned Mr. Khristenko. Russia regards its own remarks on the programme as mere editorial routine, he said by way of comment as Christopher Patten of the Commission of the European Communities remarked that the European Union was aware of Russian regress on the issue. The matter implies two unsettled problems--civic responsibility of experts admitted to nuclear projects, and taxation, said Victor Khristenko. Russia has blueprinted nuclear power efforts for the next thirty years, which is a complicated problem involving investment. 11 billion roubles has been earmarked for nuclear industrial allocations this year to exceed last year's 2.5-fold. The Rostov nuclear power plant commissioned an initial unit. It is Russia's first new nuclear plant over the last ten years. Japanese nuclear plants are slightly safer than Russian, but then, Russian safety standards are above US and French. It is essential to tackle nuclear safety issues in such a way as not to do whatever damage to Russia while making it open to its European partners, said Victor Khristenko. As a Nordic Dimension conference gathered in Luxembourg yesterday, it pointed out the European Investment Bank's readiness to take part in Russian-based environmental projects related to nuclear safety. European Union financial offers are limited to that for now, and Russia regards them as a first step made by practical partnership in that field, said the Vice-Premier.
Visit www.rian.ru for RIA 'Novosti' news.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine may face new problems over the upgraded Russian unmanned aerial vehicle Lancet. Kyiv will now need to use airfields far from the line of combat contact and look for new ways to protect its aircraft