Vice President Al Gore arrived in Moscow last night for talks with Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko and other Russian officials. The issues that Gore and Kirienko are expected to discuss include Russian-American relations, preparations for U.S. President Bill Clinton’s September summit meeting with Boris Yeltsin, bilateral trade and recent Russian economic developments. Gore is not scheduled to meet with the vacationing Yeltsin, but is expected to speak with him by telephone sometime today. It will be the first meeting for Gore with Kirienko, who replaced former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin earlier this year.
Kirienko is also to take Chernomyrdin’s place as co-chair with Gore of a key Russian-U.S. cooperation commission (formerly the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission). The commission is to conduct two sessions today, with each man presiding over one of them. But it was not clear whether the sessions were being viewed as one of the commission’s regular twice-yearly meetings. According to Itar-Tass, Moscow intends to propose today that the commission meet only once per year instead of twice. The two chairmen would reportedly meet on their own a second time each year. Chernomyrdin is to join Kirienko and Gore at some point during today’s meetings. Gore is expected back in Washington tomorrow. (Itar-Tass, July 23)
MOSCOW DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN MASKHADOV ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.