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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 23, 1993

Background Information:

                    Advancing U.S. Relations 
        with Russia and the other New Independent States 

                         April 23, 1993

At the Vancouver summit, President Clinton and President Yeltsin agreed to pursue a number of measures designed to implement an economic and strategic partnership between the U.S. and Russia. Since then, President Clinton has directed that a number of steps be taken to move this process forward. The Administration is announcing a number of steps today in order to underscore its deep commitment to a new and closer partnership with Russia based on its government's commitment to reform.

Executive Review of Cold War Laws

President Clinton and President Yeltsin discussed the desirability of reviewing and updating U.S. laws and regulations to reflect the end of the Cold War. Congress has already acted to revise many laws to reflect the fact that a communist Soviet Union has been replaced by a democratic Russia and other independent states. However, many laws and regulations remain that contain language and restrictions that fail to reflect the end of the Cold War and that unnecessarily undermine relations with Russia and the other new independent states.

The President today has ordered an Executive review of laws and regulations so that, where appropriate and consistent with U.S. security and other national interests, such provisions can be revised or removed. He has asked Ambassador-at-large Strobe Talbott to coordinate this review on an expedited basis. The President has indicated that he will welcome congressional efforts to help this review proceed as quickly as possible.

This review will weigh all considerations that pertain to revision of such provisions, and the initiation of the review may help to remedy some of the circumstances that have justified such provisions in the past. For example, because the Russians are eager to have their status changed under the Jackson-Vanik legislation, President Yeltsin personally assured President Clinton in Vancouver that he would look into individual cases involving continuing restrictions on emigration from Russia. By addressing such issues, this review can help strengthen the bonds of trust and partnership between the U.S. and Russia, and between the U.S. and the other new independent states.

Review of COCOM

It is also time to consider expeditiously with America's allies the future of another Cold War institution -- the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). The United States has begun a thorough review of how to reorient export controls to the post-Cold War world, in which Russia is no longer viewed as a potential adversary, but as a potential ally in combatting the proliferation of sensitive technology.

Steps to Improve the Security Relationship

The President also has taken steps to move ahead on a range of efforts discussed in Vancouver that can strengthen U.S. security and improve our security relationship with the Russians and the other states.

Accelerated Deactivation of Nuclear Weapons

In Vancouver, the two Presidents discussed accelerating the process of deactivating nuclear strategic systems scheduled for elimination under the START I Treaty. President Clinton has directed the Department of Defense to complete this process well in advance of the seven year reduction period outlined in START I. In addition, the United States, together with Russia and the other relevant states of the former Soviet Union, will be exploring programs under Nunn-Lugar to help them to accelerate this process.

Multilateral Test Ban

The two Presidents agreed at Vancouver that negotiations on a multilateral nuclear test ban should commence at an early date, and that the two governments would consult with each other accordingly. The United States looks forward to beginning consultations with Russia, our allies, and other states, on the specific issues related to this negotiation. The United States expects to start this consultative process within the next two months.


The two Presidents also began a dialogue on the issue of nuclear targeting at Vancouver. As the United States and Russia move into a new relationship of strategic partnership, there is a need to reexamine many of the assumptions and means employed in the past to safeguard U.S. security against a nuclear adversary. The Administration is beginning a comprehensive review of measures that could enhance strategic stability, including recent proposals for detargeting nuclear missiles.

Other Measures to Create a New Security Relationship

In response to the incident involving a collision between US and Russian submarines last month, Secretary Aspin will be ready to discuss ways to avoid such incidents in the future with Russian Defense Minister Grachev during his visit to the United States in late May.

Secretary Aspin will also be prepared to move forward with Defense Minister Grachev in May to develop a combined training program between our two military forces and to prepare for joint exercises in peacekeeping, such as that authorized by the UN Security Council. The United States looks forward to broadening such training and exercises to include other peacekeeping contributors, in order to improve inter-operability, readiness, and planning for multilateral peacekeeping operations. The US and Russia are working together to convene a May Ministerial Meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss proposals for enhancing the UN's peacekeeping capability and to move consideration of the Secretary-General's Agenda for Peace from the discussion to the implementation phase. The U.S. is also working with the Russians to focus specifically on improvements in the financing and management of UN operations. The purpose of these initiatives will be to cooperate on peacekeeping for our participation in UN or CSCE sponsored actions.

Multilateral and Bilateral Partnership with Reform

Finally, the Administration continues to move ahead on a range of initiatives aimed at striking a partnership with economic and political reformers throughout Russia and the other states. The Administration is continuing work with our G-7 partners to assemble the package of multilateral assistance that Secretaries Bentsen and Christopher recently negotiated in Tokyo. And the Administration is continuing consultation with Congress over the further efforts the U.S. will take to assist the process of reform in Russia and the other states.

The Administration believes these steps can increase American security while improving the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, and between the U.S. and the other new independent states.