But while differences between the two sides were muted, they were not ignored. As expected, the major areas of disagreement were Russian objections to planned NATO expansion and Washington’s displeasure over Russian technical and economic cooperation with Iran and Iraq. On the first issue, Christopher reportedly assured Primakov that NATO would induct no new members this year, but insisted that the alliance would expand. Primakov, in turn, repeated Russian arguments that the delivery of nuclear technology to Iran would not undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts. He also pledged that Moscow would not act on a $10 billion deal to revitalize Iraq’s oil industry, announced on the eve of the talks, until all UN sanctions against Iraq were lifted. As was also expected, Primakov moved to distance himself from his ostensibly "pro-Western" predecessor by emphasizing Moscow’s diplomatic independence and its insistence that any U.S.-Russian partnership be an equal one. He also denied that Russia was interested in restoring the Soviet Union and said that Moscow would respect the sovereignty of its neighbors. (2)
Threats and Promises End Grozny Rally.