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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 28, 1998

Stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology is a top foreign policy priority of the United State Government. The Executive Order issued today gives the President additional powerful, but flexible, tools to use in our efforts to cut off the export of sensitive technologies. These new tools will be immediately helpful, especially in our efforts to work with the Russian government to meet our mutual objectives in non-proliferation.

Two weeks ago, the Russian government announced an investigation into nine entities suspected of violating Russian export controls. To support the Russian effort, the United States cut off all assistance to these entities and imposed import/export restrictions on them.

Last week, in my meetings with Prime Minister Kiriyenko in Moscow, I encouraged Russia's continued action to halt the spread of sensitive technology -- for the sake of its own security as well as that of the international community. In addition, Prime Minister Kiriyenko and I signed two documents that advance our mutual objectives to keep sensitive technology and materials out of the wrong hands.

The first agreement -- on plutonium management -- will begin a new effort to safely store plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons, or to convert it into reactor fuel to generate electricity for Russia. The second agreement will launch an initiative to help create new opportunities for nuclear scientists in Russia's closed cities -- cities that during the Cold War worked to produce nuclear weapons. This first step includes $3.1 million in U.S. funding for nine projects that will help Russia's nuclear scientists turn their talents toward peaceful purposes -- and limit temptation to export dangerous technology.

Working closely and carefully with other nations -- both by imposing penalties and offering incentives -- is essential to limiting the spread of nuclear weapons technology and the means to deliver them. Today's Executive Order, which expands the President's authority to impose penalties and deterrents on suspected firms anywhere in the world, will explicitly bar assistance to and imports from entities now being investigated by Russia. As such, it is a prime example of the kind of international cooperation necessary to keep our world safe in the 21st century.