RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 4, No. 203, Part I, 19 October 2000

IS GOVERNMENT STALLING OVER 'KURSK' RESCUE OPERATION? Colonel General Valerii Manilov, first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, was quoted by Interfax on 18 October as suggesting the government may reverse its decision to recover the bodies of at least some of the 118 crew members of the "Kursk" nuclear submarine, which sank in the Barents Sea in August during maneuvers. Manilov commented that a final decision will be taken after "an additional examination of the disaster site." Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, who heads a government commission investigating the causes of the "Kursk" disaster, refuted Manilov's comments, stressing that the operation to recover the bodies will be carried out. He said that because of gale force winds at the scene of the disaster, the operation had been postponed until next week. However, Western agencies quoted a spokesman for the Norwegian subsidiary of the U.S. company Halliburton, which is to oversee the recovery operation, as saying the weather in the region was "fine" and that the operation will go ahead as planned later this week. JC

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