Summaries of and links to online news reports and commentaries.

"Although the meeting will be held on the eve of Cosmonautics
Day (April 12), it is expected that the business aspect will
dominate in the discussion of questions closely related to the
ensuring of the defence capability of the country, support for
and the development of the scientific, technological and
industrial potential of the sector and the fulfilment of
international obligations, especially as regards the considerable
underfinancing from the federal budget of the Russian part of
the international space station, which, in Koptev's estimation,
"casts doubt in general on the realisation of this project in
which 15 countries are participating." The creation of the
Russian segment, a functional-cargo block and a service
module, is estimated at 3.3 billion dollars. However the 1997
budget provides the allocation of only one-fifth of this sum for
these purposes." 

MOSCOW. APRIL 11. (RIA Novosti's correspondent Natalya Salnikova)
"Boris Yeltsin noted, at the same time, that "many our positions in
this sphere are lost". In Yeltsin's opinion, this is not only an indication 
that "of course, we have no possibility" but also testifies that Koptev
has not been "persistent enough in championing" the interests of space
activity. Boris Yeltsin showed understanding of the hardships faced by the
RSA and its head. "It is not that easy to get through. We have such a
bureaucracy -- one has to jump through hoops to be allowed to meet
with the president," he said. To rectify this situation, the president 
ordered to install a direct telephone line with Yuri Koptev. Yeltsin 
also reminded those present that in a bid to improve the performance
of the space sector, he had appointed Yevgeny Shaposhnikov to be
his aide. He described Shaposhnikov as "a professional, a pilot, 
who is also responsible for the space activity". "

Russia Slams NASA Over Mir Problems
Friday, April 11 1997; Page A30 The Washington Post 
"MOSCOW -- Russia's space agency lashed out at NASA yesterday,
charging the U.S. agency with exaggerating troubles aboard the Mir
space station and losing its nerve over minor glitches....Viktor Blagov, 
deputy chief of the Russian Space Mission Control Center, said 
Americans have dramatized the significance of the oxygen system 
failure. "There always is some risk, but we're not fools to neglect 
real danger if there is any," Blagov said." 

A False Sense of Security 
If we can't enforce a 1925 treaty banning
the actual use of chemical weapons, how
can the CWC ban their production?
By Charles Krauthammer; April 11 1997; The Washington Post page A27
"In a recent address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
Ekeus reported what he found. Iraq, he said, possesses not just the
odd Scud missile or two, but an operational missile force that includes
working missiles, launchers, support vehicles, fuel and the chemical or
biological warheads to go on them." 

Lott Outlines Chemical Arms Treaty Plan
Helen Dewar The Washington Post; page A18 11 April 1997
"Biden said the pact can withstand crippling amendments and garner
the two-thirds majority required to approve treaties, even if Lott, who
has not said how he will vote, goes against the treaty. Minority Leader
Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) offered a similar assessment Wednesday.
But other treaty supporters seemed less confident, saying the margin
of victory probably lies with about 15 Republicans, some of whom
might be swayed by Lott's position."

U.S. senators say they could pass chemical treaty
news:[email protected]
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 14:26:21 PDT (Reuter / William Scally)
"Lott told reporters he expected the Senate to start debating  
the chemical weapons issue next week, beginning with 
consideration of a separate bill proposed by Republican Sen. Jon 
Kyl of Arizona under which the United States would act 
unilaterally to deal with the threat, rather than as part of the 
international treaty." 

U.S. says Chinese weapons sales to Iran likely to continue
By WILLIAM C. MANN Associated Press 10 April 1997
"WASHINGTON (AP) — China is likely to ignore U.S. complaints and
continue selling conventional weapons to Iran, the Clinton
administration said Thursday. But administration experts say the
sales, which include cruise missiles, so far do not violate U.S.
law.... Einhorn said a major consideration on the dual-use question is
that China's controls over many exports are surprisingly lax.  “The
more I learn about the Chinese system,” he said,  “the more
plausible it becomes that they didn't know” about shipments last
year of $70,000 worth of ring magnets that could be used in missile

China aids Iran on chemical arms
By Rowan Scarborough THE WASHINGTON TIMES 11 April 1997
"Robert Einhorn, deputy assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, 
told the Senate ... Governmental Affairs subcommittee on international
security, proliferation and federal services that the administration 
suspects that China  continues to ship M-11 missile components
to Pakistan despite pledging in 1994 not to do so.... Gary Milhollin, 
who directs the Wisconsin Project on  Nuclear Arms Control, 
called on the administration to scrap its  current approach.
  . . . . "The administration's engagement policy has run out of
gas. It is no longer achieving anything significant," he testified.
"The Chinese are now refusing even to talk to us seriously
about the impact of their missile and chemical exports.""