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#2 - JRL 7027
Plan for dealing with Soviet weapons legacy announced
January 21, 2003

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Building a better international relationship with Russia would help reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and its erstwhile republics, a report issued by a coalition of security organizations said Monday.

The change in the relationship means "treating Russia not as a dependent client but as an equal partner," said the four-part report, released at a London conference by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Compiled by security organizations from North America, Europe and Asia, the report identifies specific steps to secure, account for, and safely dispose of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, agents, materials, and infrastructure in Russia and the other states.

The report, titled "Protecting Against the Spread of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons," has ramifications in the United States and elsewhere, said former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), which helped sponsor the one-day conference.

"Homeland security for the United States, or for any other country, begins abroad," he said. "It begins where the weapons are and where the materials are. We've got to assist every country in the world in meeting their obligations to basically safeguard their nuclear materials."

Nunn and CNN founder Ted Turner co-founded NTI, a charity, in 2001. Nunn also serves as chairman of the board of trustees for CSIS. NTI is funded through a pledge from Turner and other private contributions.

"If terrorists gain access to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons they can destroy lives, destabilize economies and change history," said Nunn. "We have an obligation to future generations to do everything we can to keep these dangerous weapons out of the world's most dangerous hands."

Nunn also cited North Korea, which has rattled the world community with its nuclear ambitions. He called on the United States, South Korea, Russia and China to tell Pyongyang that "a production line of nuclear weapons ... will not be permitted."

The report offers a nation-by-nation assessment of what is being done to address the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.

It also identifies gaps in existing nonproliferation assistance programs in those nations, while making recommendations for future priorities and proposing mechanisms for strengthening coordination.

The G8 pledged at its summit last year to spend at least $20 billion over the next decade to establish a Global Partnership aimed at stopping the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The CSIS report said financial commitments should be stepped up so that the pledges will reach that goal.

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