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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Announces Controls On Nuclear, Missile Exports

In a move that is likely to please the United States, President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman said Thursday that Russia will tighten controls on the export of nuclear and missile technology, particularly to neighboring countries.

Also Thursday, Russian news agencies reported that parliament has agreed to hold closed-door hearings on the START II arms control treaty beginning June 9.

START II, which would cut the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to 3,500 warheads each, was signed in 1993 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1996.

The Americans are expected to applaud the decision about nuclear exports -- which comes just days before Yeltsin is to meet U.S. President Bill Clinton this weekend at a gathering of the world's leading industrialized nations in Britain. The issue has been a source of friction between Russia and the United States, which has criticized Moscow's nuclear supplies to countries such as Iran.

The announcement by Yeltsin's spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, follows this week's nuclear tests in India, a country where Russia would like to assist in building nuclear power plants. Russia has said it remains interested in the Indian nuclear projects, despite the storm of criticism generated by the tests.

"Proliferation of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction ... is considered a serious threat to the security of Russia," Yastrzhembsky was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.

He did not cite any countries by name, but said Russia would be particularly cautious about exports to countries that border Russia or are in nearby regions. Yastrzhembsky said the Russian government would establish supervisory bodies at all companies dealing with missile and nuclear technologies.

State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov said the June 9 hearings on START II were necessary to get the government's answer on how it was going to finance the weapons cuts. The lower house is not expected to take any action on ratifying the treaty at that time.