The Russian-U.S. Conference on Arms Control. Speeches and comments
On July 24, the Russian-U.S. Conference on Arms Control has opened in Moscow. It was organized by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Peace Foundation.
Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky called the conference one of the few platforms providing support to cooperation between representatives of the two countries. He expressed concerns that the cooperation was only limited to the issues of arms control.
The executive director of the Gorchakov Fund told how ten years ago he had been taking part in the work of the expert group, headed by Yevgeny Primakov, in the United States. At that time, a wide spectrum of issues, including cooperation between businesses of the two countries, specifically in the energy sector, joint resolution of ecological problems, was discussed.
After thanking to the participants of the conference, Leonid Drachevsky expressed confidence that the list of topics for the discussion would be expanding.
According to Scientific Director of the RAS Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies (ISKRAN), member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor, Dr. Sergey Rogov, the problem of arms control today is one of the major issues in the bilateral relations. And under the current conditions, it is important to discuss exactly that issue.
Head of ISKRAN admitted that relations between Moscow and Washington were currently in a bad state. Nevertheless, this does not mean a new cold war as there is no conflict of ideologies and global confrontation is missing.
According to Sergey Rogov, importance of the present conference is that the discussion will help the governments to arrive at major decisions, significant for both countries. This, in its turn, will create a more positive agenda for future forums.
The attendees were also welcomed by well-known U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, who in 1993-1996 served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. He thanked the Gorchakov Fund and ISKRAN for the initiative to get together for a discussion in such a format. According to him, it was hard to be an optimist looking at the current state of affairs in the bilateral relations. However, it was important to make steps towards finding ways out of the complicated situation.
Among the participants of the Russian-U.S. Conference on the Arms Control were prominent politicians, military, public figures and experts in the field of disarmament from both countries. Discussion topics included prevention of dangerous incidents, prospects of entering into additional agreements between the Russian Federation and the U.S., keeping the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) and extending the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
Meetings of the U.S. delegation with the Russian policymakers and diplomats had been planned.
The conference will end on July 25.