A clash between Russia and the United States over Moscow’s apparent unwillingness to disclose sensitive information on its arms exports has led to a breakdown in talks aimed at creating a new, post-Cold War regime for sales of military technology. The two days of talks in Vienna, which involved 31 Western and former Communist states, were reportedly contentious from the beginning. (See Monitor, April 3) While few details were available, analysts speculated that Moscow was unwilling to sacrifice arms sales to such states as Cuba, North Korea, and Iran, where Western restrictions have given Russia’s cash-strapped defense enterprises a monopoly position. (Reuter, April 4)
The goal of the Vienna talks is to create a new system of arms and technology export curbs that will replace COCOM, the now defunct organization that had once been used, mainly by Western countries, to limit export of sensitive technologies to Communist governments. It was hoped that the Vienna talks would build upon the so-called Wassennaar Arrangement, named for the Dutch town in which 28 states signed an agreement to replace COCOM in December of last year. Negotiations are set to resume in July.
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