US - Russia

Chronology from Oct 2002 to Dec 2002

:   Moscow officially informs Washington of its intention to withdraw from the agreement on Peace Corps activities on Russian territory.

:   Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro and visiting Russian FM Igor Ivanov agree to sign an action plan featuring broad cooperation measures when Koizumi visits Russia in early 2003.

: Russia expresses regret over the U.S. decision to begin deploying strategic interceptors to defend the United States from missile attack.  An official Russian statement says that the move will destabilize the international security system and lead to a new arms race.

:  Russia’s Atomic Energy Ministry brushes aside Secretary of State Powell’s latest accusations concerning Moscow’s nuclear cooperation with Iran.  The statement says that Washington has shown no proof that Russia is assisting Iran’s military program.

:  President George W. Bush meets with Putin in St. Petersburg for a one-day summit.  Bush states that “NATO’s expansion is in Russia’s best interest.”  Bush says that an expanded NATO will bring a guarantee of stability to Russia’s border.  This is the seventh meeting between Bush and Putin.

:  At a NATO summit in Prague, the alliance formally extends invitations to three former Soviet Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – and to four former Soviet-bloc countries, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

:   It is announced that during the first nine months of 2002, Russia invested $8.4 billion in the U.S. economy. This is 10 times as much as U.S. investments in Russia over the reported period, which amounted to $841 million.

:   In a reversal, Russia says that it supports a second U.S.-draft UN resolution on Iraq after a clause envisaging automatic use of force has been removed.  The issue had been a key sticking point between Moscow and Washington. The UN Security Council then unanimously approves the draft resolution giving Iraq a last chance to eliminate weapons of mass destruction or face “serious consequences.”

: In a dramatic rescue attempt, a large number (over 120) of the hostages held by Chechen separatists at the Moscow theater succumb to a knockout gas pumped into the theater by Russian special forces.  All of the separatists are killed.

:   Several hundred hostages are taken at a Moscow theater by Chechen separatists.  The separatists demand an immediate end to the hostilities in Chechnya and a withdrawal of Russian forces.

:   Russia rejects the first U.S. draft resolution on Iraq, dealing a sharp blow to U.S. efforts to gain UN backing for the automatic use of force if weapons inspectors are thwarted by Baghdad.  In an official statement Russian FM Ivanov says the U.S. document does not meet Russian criteria.

:   Fearing disruption to oil supplies in the event of a U.S.-led war on Iraq, Nippon Oil Corp. announces that it will begin importing crude oil from the Russian interior. The move represents the first import of crude oil from Russia’s deep inland by a major Japanese oil firm since 1978.

:   Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko arrives in Russia for talks with her counterpart, Igor Ivanov, and Russian President Putin in an effort to kick-start stalled  negotiations on Tokyo-Moscow relations.

:   Alfa-Eco, a subsidiary of Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest private banks and a regular buyer of Iraqi oil, announces one of the largest oil supply deals in the history of Iraq’s oil-for-food program, as Baghdad moves to reinforce commercial links with Moscow. It is announced that Alfa-Eco clinched a deal for 20 million barrels, one of the largest under the six-year UN-supervised humanitarian scheme.

:   Speaking to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Bolton, under secretary for arms control and international security, warns that Moscow’s continued support of Iran and Syria’s nuclear and missile program and poor coordination within the Russian government worry Washington and may undermine future bilateral cooperation and a global nonproliferation initiative.

:   Speaking at the annual meeting of the American-Russian Business Council (ARBC) in Washington, Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref says that Russia regards the United States as its key trade partner.

:   Russian President Vladimir Putin revokes the special status of U.S.-funded Radio Liberty.  Radio Liberty has long been critical of the Kremlin in its reporting of the conflict in Chechnya.

: Addressing the U.S.-Russia Business Council in Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell outlines the U.S. vision of “a robust commercial relationship between Russia and the United States and a dynamic Russia occupying a leading place in the global economy.”

: U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham leads energy summit in Houston.  On day two, Abraham guides Energy Minister Igor Yusufov through a key section of the heavily guarded U.S. strategic petroleum reserve in Freeport, Texas, the first time a Russian official has been given such a tour.

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