Reportage, Commentary on Grachev-Perry Discussions -- Grachev Holds News Conference After Talks

By ITAR-TASS correspondent Mikhail Shevtsov
Moscow ITAR-TASS World Service
1005 GMT 3 Apr 95

[FBIS Translated Text] Moscow, 3 April -- Russia has expressed serious concern about the intentions of the U.S. Congress to review the ABM treaty and about U.S. plans to test so-called nonstrategic ABM systems. Such a situation could affect the very basis of strategic stability. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said this at a news conference today on the results of his talks with U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry.

Touching upon the course of talks on the issue of flank restrictions [flangovoye ogranicheniye] within the framework of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Pavel Grachev noted that Russia needs more heavy armaments in the south of the country than provided for under the treaty. The Russian minister said that a new version of a solution to the flank problem [flangovaya problema] "taking into account the reality of the situation" is being proposed to treaty partners. In particular, Pavel Grachev proposed that conflict zones not be included in flank restrictions and suggested that the required number of armored vehicles and heavy armaments could be concentrated there.

Their discussion of the situation in the Balkans, Grachev commented, confirmed the possibility of a political settlement of the conflict. In Grachev's view, the situation in former Yugoslavia is compounded by the fact that "there are no politicians in any of the Bosnian communities -- Muslim, Croat, or Serb -- who are disposed toward a peaceful solution to the conflict." In principle, Russia's position boils down to "in every possible way supporting the efforts of the international Contact Group to act in the region only with UN forces, without replacement by NATO forces; using aircraft only in the event of a threat to the peacekeeping forces; supporting the actions of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and wholly lifting international sanctions from it, preserving only the embargo on supplying weapons to the warring sides," Grachev declared. He said there are some differences with the United States on this issue.

The Russian defense minister announced that the progress of preparations for this year's joint command and staff peacekeeping exercises in the United States was discussed during a meeting with the U.S. military delegation. Pavel Grachev said that the talks with William Perry were "timely and very important, constructive, and an important step in the development of cooperation between the Russian and U.S. defense departments."

Giving an assessment of his private conversation with Pavel Grachev, the U.S. defense secretary declared that "on many of the issues discussed there is understanding and agreement, on others important steps forward have been made, and on some more work has to be done."