23 September 1997


(Text: White House Release) (470)

(The following statement was released September 23, 1997 by the White
House Office of the Vice President following the ninth meeting of the
U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation,
also known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission)

U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological


Defense Conversion Committee

Vice President Al Gore is pleased with the Defense Conversion
Committee (DCC)'s continuing progress in the conversion of Russian
excess defense industry to commercial endeavors. The DCC has
encouraged private U.S. investment in Russian defense conversion and
the involvement of regional leaders in the restructuring of
defense-dependent economies. The Vice President commends the
DCC-sponsored economic development initiative in the town of Reutov,
citing it as an excellent model for other community-based economic
development projects in Russia. He stresses the continuing importance
of defense conversion project finance, insurance, and project
feasibility study support from the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, calling the
involvement of these U.S. agencies critical to the long term success
of our conversion efforts in Russia. Finally, he congratulates the
Defense Enterprise Fund on its excellent conversion investment
performance in Russia to date and encourages the Fund to move ahead
energetically with the creation of a new, private fund which will also
support conversion and high technology ventures in Russia.

Vice President Gore strongly urges the U.S. and Russian sides of the
DCC to demonstrate progress on the conclusion of a cooperative
agreement on military-technical and dual-use technologies. He charges
the committee to have an agreement in this promising new area in place
by the tenth meeting of the GCC.

Vice President Gore welcomes the signature by Deputy Secretary of
Defense Hamre and Minister of Atomic Energy Mikhailov of the Core
Conversion Implementing Agreement. This agreement supports the
nonproliferation goals of both nations expressed in the Plutonium
Production Reactor Agreement, and represents one of the Vice
President's highest priorities. U.S.-Russian collaboration to convert
the reactor cores means that Russia will join the U.S. in no longer
producing weapons-grade plutonium. The U.S. Defense Department has
committed up to $10 million for this new Cooperative Threat Reduction
project, and will provide additional funding as it is appropriated by
the Congress.

A comprehensive and encouraging report on the DoD's Cooperative Threat
Reduction Program has been submitted to the Chairman of the Government
of the Russian Federation and the Vice President. That program
continues to advance our mutual security goals including: accelerated
and safe reduction of nuclear materials, chemical and nuclear weapons;
and the safety and security of remaining nuclear weapons and