U.S. officials said yesterday that Washington had officially protested to the Kremlin earlier this month over Russia’s decision to suspend the operations of the Jewish Agency, a quasi-governmental group that, since 1989, has brought more than 600,000 Jews to Israel from the former Soviet Union. (See Monitor, May 2) The officials said that the issue had subsequently been raised by the United States "at many levels," including during a visit by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to Moscow prior to the G-7 nuclear security summit. According to State Department spokesman Glyn Davies, the United States seeks clarification on precisely what restrictions Moscow has imposed on the agency. At this point, he said, Washington does not see the move as an effort to restrict emigration from Russia. Under American law that would lead to a suspension of U.S. financial assistance.
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, which has assumed a low profile on the issue, said in Washington that the problem was probably a technical one that would soon be resolved. But, according to a spokeswoman for the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, leaders of the organization now fear that Moscow might be moving to end Jewish emigration altogether. (UPI & AP, May 1)
Chernomyrdin Calls for Swedish Investment in Russia.