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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 23, 1998

         Announces New International Radioecology Laboratory 
        in Chornobyl Exclusion Zone,Continued U.S. Assistance 
          to Chornobyl and other Nuclear Plants in Ukraine

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vice President Gore toured Reactor #4 at the Vladimir Ilich Lenin Atomic Power Plant today in Chornobyl, Ukraine, the site of the world's worst nuclear power disaster, and declared that it has taught us the truth that "we are all connected -- forever."

"The truth is that a new time has come in which we have to make a choice," the Vice President said at the Chornobyl Museum, in Kiev, where he spoke after touring the damaged nuclear power plant.

"We can choose to learn how to care for one another and the earth in a way that is worthy at last of our children's innocent trust in us," the Vice President continued. "Or we can choose once again, as we have so bitterly over the course of the last millennium, to persevere in our old habits of destruction and fail their trust."

Also today, Vice President Gore and Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma presided over a meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Binational Commission and dealt with issues of security; non-proliferation; democratization and economic reform in Ukraine; partnership for peace; efforts to combat organized crime, corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, automobile theft, and the trafficking of women and children; scientific and technical cooperation; and other issues.

The two nations also announced that: (1) they will establish an international radioecology laboratory in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone to study radiation effects and the movement of radionuclides in the environment; and (2) they have signed a five-year extension of the U.S.-Ukraine Nuclear Safety Assistance Agreement, which permits U.S. nuclear safety and technical assistance for Chornobyl and other nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

In his museum speech, the Vice President emphasized how the world's different peoples are all part of "one family," and how nuclear proliferation threatens not only the people of the nations at hand but of all nations.

He pointed, in particular, to the recent round of nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan. He urged both nations to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and for the United States Congress to ratify it. Finally, he urged the Duma in Russia, where he will travel Thursday night, to ratify the START II Treaty.