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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 556-96
September 26, 1996

ARCTIC REGION MILITARY ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENT SIGNED

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, Norwegian Minister of Defence Jorgen Kosmo, and Russian Federation Minister of Defense Igor Rodionov signed an historic declaration today launching a cooperative effort among these three military forces called the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC) forum to jointly address critical environmental issues that are related to these militaries' unique capabilities and activities in the Russian-Nordic region.

Under the AMEC forum, the three militaries will work together to ensure the safe handling and storage of radioactive materials, proper disposal of toxic materials, and to exchange information on risk assessments and cleanup technologies and methods. Commenting on the importance of AMEC, Perry said, I expect that the efforts undertaken through the AMEC forum will not only have a positive effect on the Arctic environment, but also promote international security and cooperation.

The Department of Defense and its counterparts in Norway and Russia initially discussed Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation at a meeting in Norway in March, 1995. Since then a steering group has been established to identify, prioritize and select military environmental projects in the Arctic region.

The Principals for AMEC discussions and activities are General-Lieutenant Sergei Grigorov, Director of Ecological Security, Russian Ministry of Defense; Mr. Leif Lindback, Director, Department of Defence Resources, Norwegian Ministry of Defence; and Ms. Sherri Goodman, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security), U.S. Department of Defense.

AMEC supports Secretary Perry's strategy of preventive defense because militaries have an important role to play in building trust and understanding. The AMEC initiative combines environmental stewardship and sound business practices on a global scale.