Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 77

As world leaders began arriving in Moscow yesterday for the long-awaited G-7 nuclear security summit, it was apparent that the forum’s participants, already much criticized for failing to tackle a number of tough nuclear safety and environmental problems, were also likely to become embroiled in issues not necessarily on the agenda. Indeed, the Norwegian environmental group Bellona issued a report on the eve of the summit warning of the dangers of nuclear waste in the Russian north even as an international medical group accused Moscow of unconscionable brutality in its military operations in Chechnya (see below). But summit participants were already working frantically yesterday to defuse a looming crisis in the Middle East that followed an Israeli strike on a UN compound in southern Lebanon. (Reuter, April 18)

The agenda for the April 19-20 meeting includes improving the safety of nuclear reactors, dealing with the disposal of radioactive waste, and preventing illegal trafficking in nuclear materials. Yeltsin, who is expected to sign several international agreements on the safe handling and storage of nuclear materials, will also conduct a number of bilateral consultations with world leaders at which other issues will undoubtedly be raised. Many observers have nevertheless suggested that the summit has been designed as much to boost Yeltsin’s election chances as to deal with substantive issues.

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