U.S. Congress grants aid to Russia to destroy chemical arsenals

The US Congress has granted allocations to Russia to dispose of its chemical arsenals. Russia is grateful but comes up against provisos it deems ungrounded, Alexander Yakovenko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, says in a statement circulated today.

The Congress and Senate have approved a $450 million Pentagon donation to Russia and other CIS countries, to come next fiscal year on the Nunn-Lugar programme. Moscow is enthusiastic about the news.

Its joy is darkened, however, as the USA is advancing, as before, provisos for enhancing Russian project assistance. Russia does not think such provisos are grounded. The proviso list is expanding to make the matter worse.

Thus, the blueprints are suspending next year's $100 million grant to a chemical arms destruction factory in Shchuchy not to come up before Russia or any third country allocates another $50 million to the project.

The way America treats the matter offers Russia ever more problems, which concern not only Shchuchy construction prospects but Russia's cooperation with other G-8 countries, whom Moscow has called to join hands on certain projects.

Mr. Yakovenko hopes the USA will shift to pragmatic stances on stale issues dating back to the Cold War, which are hampering teamwork for nonproliferation and discarded weapon destruction.

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