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Russia, US Discuss Weapons Control

December 8, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia is doing all it can to prevent the proliferation of weapons and wants more constructive cooperation from Washington on the issue, Russia’s security chief told his U.S. counterpart, a news report said Wednesday.

``There can be no doubt that Russia is exerting maximum effort in observing its commitments in this sphere,″ Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov told U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in a Tuesday phone call, according to the Interfax news agency.

The United States has accused Russia of not doing enough to prevent weapons technology from leaking to countries such as Iran and Syria. It has also urged Russia’s parliament to ratify the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty, which was signed by both countries in 1993, and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Ivanov said criticism from the United States isn’t helping ties, already chilled by Russia’s military campaign in breakaway Chechnya, NATO’s air campaign in Kosovo earlier this year and U.S. desires to modify a missile defense treaty.

``Our dialogue would be more beneficial if used to promptly identify and punish those who breach export control rules, instead of escalating tension in overall bilateral relations,″ Ivanov told Berger, according to Interfax.

The United States this spring imposed sanctions on several Russian companies believed to have sold anti-tank missiles to Syria, which Washington accuses of funding terrorists. Russia insists that its cooperation with Syria does not break export control agreements and called the sanctions groundless.

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