ACCESSION NUMBER:328329 FILE ID:ECO303 DATE:02/23/94 TITLE:GORE REAFFIRMS U.S. SUPPORT FOR RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS (02/23/94) TEXT:*94022303.ECO ECRUSSLD EAST EUR /js GORE REAFFIRMS U.S. SUPPORT FOR RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS (Spy case underscores U.S. policy, he says) (600) By Bruce Odessey USIA Staff Writer Washington -- The arrest of an alleged U.S. spy who was passing secrets to Russia has not diminished U.S. support for Russian reforms, Vice President Al Gore says. Gore told the U.S.-Russia Business Council February 23 that while the Clinton administration has lodged a protest with Russia, the episode affirms the importance of moving toward a new relation with its Cold War adversary. "This is an extremely serious development attesting to the importance of unwavering vigilance when it comes to national security, and the importance of conducting a foreign policy with vision but without illusions," Gore said. "We have to move forward into the future with our eyes wide open." Only the day before U.S. authorities arrested Central Intelligence Agency official Aldrich Ames and his wife, charging them with accepting more than $1.5 million from successive Soviet and Russian intelligence agencies in exchange for passing on closely guarded U.S. secrets. Nevertheless, the vice president urged the business leaders to invest in Russia because democratic reform there depends much on that country's ability to prosper. Government-to-government assistance can do only so much, he said. Gore said that despite large demand in Russia for U.S. goods and services, U.S. investment amounts to only $1,000 million in Russia. In contrast, U.S. investment exceeds $4,000 million in Hungary, a country with 1/15th Russia's population. "While you can't anticipate the obstacles, they can be overcome if you have imagination and persistence," he said. While many ordinary Russians are deeply ambivalent about reform, he said, Russian President Boris Yeltsin has made repeated assurances to President Clinton about his government's commitment to economic reform. "These are important commitments, and we take them seriously," Gore said. The vice president had a long list of necessary reforms: controlling inflation, reducing government spending (especially subsidies to state-operated business), making the legal system responsive, resolving ownership and jurisdictional disputes, making currency conversion easier, and cutting export taxes. Quite important, Gore said, was for Russia to offer foreign investors national treatment, or the same protections given domestic investors. "If Russia gives the world the right signals, a lot of foreign investment stands ready to move across the Russian border," he said. Gore also cited many achievements already accomplished, noting that Russia's private sector now accounts for 25 percent of the work force and 75 percent of small businesses and retail trade while 90 percent of all prices are set 1y the market. Still, he said no one should expect a transformation any time soon, not even in a decade, and everyone can expect some disappointments, referring to the December election victories by ultranationalists and losses by reformers. "It will take a great deal of time," Gore said. "And there will be many difficult challenges, and there will be ups and downs." Later in the day Strobe Talbott, making his first public appearance since the Senate confirmed his promotion to deputy secretary of state, affirmed Gore's position on the espionage case. "We now see more vividly than before the struggle going on ... for the Russia soul," Talbott said. Offering no conjecture about who in the Russian government might have approved the spying, he criticized Russian security officials for acting as though the Cold War never ended, suggesting their influence is waning. "Those forces are not calling all of the shots, or even most of them, as they used to," Talbott said. NNNN .