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Joint US-Russian initiatives

President Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia issued joint statements on three initiatives yesterday. Here are highlights, as released by the White House:

Nuclear security
Cooperation will include:

  • Enhancing emergency response capabilities to deal with a nuclear or radiological incident, including development of additional methods to detect nuclear and radioactive materials that may be involved.

  • Helping to ensure full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which calls for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

  • Sharing methods for improving security at nuclear facilities bilaterally and with other nations with advanced nuclear programs.

  • Working to develop low-enriched uranium fuel for use in any US- and Russia-designed research reactors in third countries now using high-enriched uranium fuel, and to return fresh and spent high-enriched uranium from US and Russian reactors in third countries.

    While the security of US and Russian nuclear facilities meet current requirements, the presidents stressed that these requirements must be continuously enhanced to counter evolving terrorist threats. To this end, they agreed to develop a plan of work through and beyond 2008 for cooperation on security upgrades of nuclear facilities.

    They established a US-Russian Senior Interagency Group for cooperation on nuclear security (including the disposition of fissile material no longer needed for defense purposes).

    World Trade Organization
    The presidents committed the United States and Russia to working to complete bilateral negotiations for Russia's inclusion in the World Trade Organization in 2005 and to help Russia complete the multilateral negotiations necessary.

    Russian WTO membership will integrate the country more fully into the global economy; improve the trade, regulatory, and investment climate; and facilitate increased US-Russian trade and investment, they said.

    Energy cooperation
    The presidents directed the US and Russian ministers of energy and commerce to meet to develop recommendations on how to intensify the bilateral energy dialogue, including through the mechanisms of the Energy Working Group and the Commercial Energy Dialogue.

    They set a goal of identifying trade and investment opportunities for US and Russian firms, including in support of Russia's pipeline and liquefied natural gas development, and increased Russian oil and gas imports to US markets, and launching such projects no later than 2008.

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