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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Expects Little Result At Summit In Moscow

U.S. officials poured cold water on expectations for any big breakthroughs at next week's summit on nuclear safety, which will bring the heads of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations and President Boris Yeltsin together in Moscow.


"In my sense, there are no problems that will be solved at the summit," Joseph Pilat, a U.S. negotiator and scientist from the Los Alamos Laboratory, said at a news conference Friday.


"I expect no major treaties or initiatives to arise from the summit to be held here in Moscow," he said in remarks reported by the Federal News Service.


But Pilat said a "strong political endorsement for the need to solve these problems" was likely to emerge from the summit, which will include leaders of Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan as well as Russia and the United States.


The Yeltsin administration, facing a tough presidential election challenge in June from the Communists, is doing its best to play up the summit's significance. Routinely referring to it as a meeting of the vos'myorka -- or G-8 -- officials clearly see it as a chance for Yeltsin to perform on the world stage in Moscow.


Yeltsin has been invited to the last four G-7 summits as an informal participant in political discussion but not on the economic side. He has increasingly pushed for full membership in the elite club. The U.S. Embassy is referring to the meeting as the "P-8 Summit on Nuclear world," Ryurikov said.


Apart from the summit, Yeltsin will hold one-on-one meetings with each of the leaders, including a special "working visit" with U.S. President Bill Clinton on April 21, Ryurikov said. Both Yeltsin and Clinton are running for re-election this year, and Ryurikov said the visit would benefit their election chances.


Michael Newlin, an ambassador who is currently an adviser to the U.S. energy secretary, said Friday that a series of issues related to nuclear safety would be discussed at the summit, including nuclear-waste management, reform of the energy sector and conversion of nuclear-weapons material."All of these topics are important," he said. "In my own view, I think the smuggling and nuclear-materials accountability topics are the most important."


A deal has been signed under which the United States would buy about 500 tons of highly enriched uranium from Russia, removing it from the threat of diversion. But Pilat said negotiations on final details had not yet produced an agreement.


The eight leaders could turn their attention to international agreements on nuclear weapons, including SALT-II and the comprehensive test ban treaty, as well as the expansion of NATO.


Top Russian officials, including Yeltsin, have repeatedly said that a compromise remains possible on NATO's plan to admit countries from the former Warsaw Pact as long as the alliance did not move its military infrastructure toward Russia's borders.


But Ryurikov bluntly dismissed this. "It is true, Russia very firmly and decisively opposes the expansion of NATO," he said, adding that Russia was particularly insistent there be "no case in which the military machine of NATO moved toward Russia's borders, no movement of troops, infrastructure or nuclear weapons."


Pilat said the summit could "create a climate and a framework for addressing these difficult issues. All the signs now suggest that it will be a successful summit in this sense."