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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  244378

Title:  "US, Russia Differ on Sale of Subs to Iran." The US and Russia voiced sharply differing views September 24 over Moscow's pending sale of submarines to Iran, with Secretary of State Eagleburger saying the sale was of great concern to the US and Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev saying it would enhance stability in the region. (920924)

Date:  19920924


(Eagleburger, Kozyrev hold 90-minute meeting) (940) By Russell Dybvik USIA Diplomatic Correspondent New York -- The United States and Russia voiced sharply differing views September 24 over Moscow's pending sale of submarines to Iran.

Acting Secretary of State Eagleburger said it posed a "great concern" to the United States, adding that such sales should not be encouraged.

But Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said the sale would enhance stability in the region, improve Moscow's ties with its Iranian neighbor and help Russian economic reform. The two officials met for about 90 minutes in New York September 24 to discuss a variety of issues.

Interest in the submarine sale was prompted by a September 24 report in the New York Times which said Russia is selling two or three diesel submarines to Iran with the first expected to be delivered shortly. The Times said senior Pentagon officials are worried the submarines will introduce a new threat to naval operations in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, through which much of the world's oil is shipped.

Unnamed Defense Department officials cited in the Times report said the sale had been agreed upon prior to the breakup of the former Soviet Union and the Russian government has told the United States it was obliged to fulfill the contract.

The report described them as Kilo-class submarines, valued at about $250 million each. The submarines are said to be equipped with six tubes for firing torpedoes or laying mines.

Asked about the report before he met with President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-Hercegovina earlier in the day, Eagleburger noted that "If the Russians want to sell submarines, I guess they could sell submarines. But it is of great concern to us and yes, we will be raising it."

At their joint news conference, Kozyrev said Russian analysts believe the pending sales do not exceed limits which could destabilize the area or create difficulty.

"Many experts argue that these sales will probably enhance stability and also enhance our communication lines with Iran," which he said was important because the two countries are neighbors "and it is important to cooperate with this country in order to prevent further destabilization in the whole region, which is volatile enough."

Kozyrev also said there was a "clear need" to provide markets for the export of Russian commodities, including military sales "to help economic reform" in Russia and "help us with our consistent and determined effort to change markets, especially for military sales, from our former ideological clients to stable regimes in more stable regions of the world."

Eagleburger, however, flatly declared the United States would not encourage its European allies to buy Russian arms "because we don't think it's appropriate to be increasing the sales of arms."

The secretary emphasized he and Kozyrev spent "very little time" on the issue, "other than to say, at this stage, it does not seem appropriate for the United States to be encouraging those kinds of purchases."

Eagleburger said they "began work on the treaty language" which will implement the joint understanding reached last June between Presidents Bush and Yeltsin on "de-mirving," or eliminating multiple warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

He said they "will be getting back together" on that, but could not provide a timeframe. "But since we both are anxious that this proceed as fast as possible, I would hope it won't be too long," he said.

The secretary said they also discussed Yugoslavia and the follow-on to the decision by the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week to expel the former Yugoslavia.

With regard to the question of former Yugoslav participation in other U.N. organizations, Eagleburger said they both agreed that "we have to look at those on a case-by-case basis because there may well be some technical organization like the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) where for very good air safety reasons, you don't want to ask them to leave the institution."

While Eagleburger said they did not have time to discuss proposals for establishing a no fly zone over Bosnia, Kozyrev said he felt "the idea of a no fly zone deserves careful and positive examination in the Security Council."

Kozyrev briefed Eagleburger on conflicts in the Central Asian republics, and they talked about the Baltic states, both the issue of the Russian troop presence and Russian concerns for respect for human rights for the Russian minority in the three republics, Eagleburger said.

"I gave the minister a rundown on how the Middle East peace talks look from here, and told him that I hoped we would be seeing begin again sometime in mid-October," he added.

Prior to meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, Eagleburger was asked by reporters if he intended to discuss continuing arms limitation talks among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with the Chinese official.

He was also asked if the United States was prepared to go forward with the talks even if China does not participate, which Beijing has suggested because of the recent U.S. decision to sell up to 150 F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan.

"I'd rather not comment at this stage on what we're going to discuss, other than to say that we will, I am sure, discuss a whole range of issues of interest to the two sides," the secretary said.

When asked whether or not China would participate in the arms limitation talks, the foreign minister said only: "I can't say specifically what the reaction will be."


File Identification:  09/24/92, POL408; 09/24/92, EPF424; 09/24/92, EUR406; 09/24/92, NEA408; 09/25/92, EPF517; 09/25/92, NAA505; 09/25/92, LEF508; 09/25/92, EUR515
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic
Thematic Codes:  1NE; 1UR; 1AC
Target Areas:  EA; EU; NE; EA; AR; EU
PDQ Text Link:  244378
USIA Notes:   *92092408.POL

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