Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Key Summit Aim: Investment, Trade

President Boris Yeltsin leaves Saturday for summit meetings in Britain and the United States in a confident mood and with high hopes for boosting corporate investment and trade.


Russian officials and analysts said Friday that the president was particularly optimistic about achieving economic advances for Russia during his five-day trip to the West which will include talks with British Prime Minister John Major on Saturday and Sunday and with U.S. President Bill Clinton on Tuesday and Wednesday. In between the two rounds of talks, he is to address the UN General Assembly on Monday.


Demonstrating Yeltsin's confident mood, his personal spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov issued a sharp attack on the opposition, calling former Vice President Alexander Rutskoi a "terrorist" and "a chief organizer of the bloodshed" in last October's uprising. He defended Yeltsin's shelling of parliament, saying that most Russians believe Yeltsin "saved the country from the danger of civil war."


Officials said the Russian side aims to get more than just verbal support from the United States in Moscow's drive for increased access to Western markets.


A senior White House official quoted by Reuters said: "They will sign an economic agreement, a partnership agreement. It will have everything to do with market access, lowering barriers to trade on both sides."


American analysts said Clinton planned to trumpet U.S. corporate investment in Russia, rather than government aid.


One indicator is that Clinton has invited top American businessmen, including the chief executive officers of General Motors, Dresser Industries and U.S.West to the summit talks.


Senior Russian officials suggested earlier in the week that this week's contentious issues, such as U.S. plans to lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian Moslems, the NATO bombing of a Serbian target in Bosnia on Thursday and the U.S. intervention in Haiti, could cast a cloud over the summit.


But officials reaffirmed their support Friday both for the U.S. intervention in Haiti -- despite some reservations -- and the NATO air strike in Bosnia, indicating that such issues are expected to recede into the background as the two presidents focus on economic matters.


"Both Bosnia and Haiti are matters for political barter as far as Russia is concerned," said Pavel Kandel, an analyst with the Institute of Europe. "They will only come up at the summit if Russia is dissatisfied with the more important negotiations, those on the economy. Then Russia could pull these matters out of its sleeve and say, 'Hey, you've been doing these bad things.'"


"It will not be just another ceremonial visit," Grigory Karasin, head of the Foreign Ministry information directorate, told a press conference Thursday. "Declarations and joint statements are no longer enough -- we need to fill them with real economic and political content."


There were numerous signs this week that the forthcoming summit will indeed be more than just a chance for the two presidents to smile at each other, and again proclaim an end to the Cold War. According to a top White House official speaking on the summit agenda in Washington, Clinton has agreed to scrap a particularly irksome Cold War-era trade restriction ahead of the meeting.


The restriction, known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, tied Russian-U.S. trade to freedom for Russian citizens to immigrate. Though the United States has waived the amendment every year since 1990, Russia has complained that the restriction still hung over it like a sword of Damocles.


Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev mentioned the amendment in his speech at an international conference Wednesday, calling for its cancellation; and just one day later, the news came that Clinton had complied.


Clearly encouraged by the news from Washington, Karasin spoke with unusual boldness about the American bureaucratic machine impeding the further progress of U.S.-Russian economic relations.


"That machine is still riddled with stereotypes and memories of the past," he said. "As computer experts say, there is a virus in this machine, and though we cannot eliminate it now, we face some serious and hard work on it."


The only issue that could cast a shadow over the outcome of the summit is, surprisingly enough, arms control. Though it has been assumed in recent years that steady progress is being made in this area, U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry told a Pentagon press conference Thursday that it might be prudent to put some U.S. nuclear warheads into storage instead of dismantling them.


Perry said the nuclear arsenal is still necessary in case a regime hostile to the United States comes to power in Russia. A Moscow defense official said Friday that Russia was considering similar moves to counter "ungentlemanly behavior" on the part of the United States.