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Cohen Meets with Russian Minister

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, June 17, 1997 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen met Russian Prime Minister Andre Kokoshin here June 13 to discuss continued cooperation in various U.S.-Russian endeavors and to reduce any mutual tensions.

The two were in Brussels for NATO meetings. For Cohen, Brussels was the first stop on a nine-day, six-country trip to Europe and the Middle East.

Cohen said he and Kokoshin talked about ways to get the U.S.-Russia relationship on track and to encourage the Russians to participate more actively in Partnership for Peace exercises. He said he hoped to see Russia host a partnership exercise soon.

Cohen said they also discussed ways the two nations could enhance cooperation now that they have the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which unites the alliance and Russia in a partnership to create a peaceful, democratic, undivided Europe. Other topics included encouraging greater interoperability, sharing technology and reducing any apprehensions on the part of our respective countries.

"We also talked about [the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] II," Cohen said. "This is something of concern to the United States. We have ratified START II. We hope that the Russian Duma [parliament] will ratify START II so we can proceed to immediate negotiations on START III. We think we can go to levels considerably lower than they are today."

Cohen said he urged Russia's new administration officials, including its new defense minister, to urge the Duma to ratify the arms control treaty.

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