Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 196

Following talks in Moscow yesterday with Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien, President Boris Yeltsin reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to join an international ban on landmines and said that he might travel to Canada in December in order to sign the convention. Yeltsin also announced that Russia would extend its unilateral moratorium on landmine exports until it joins the treaty. (Reuter, October 20) Yeltsin’s statements yesterday follow up an October 10 declaration, in which the Russian president told the Council of Europe in Strasbourg that Russian would sign the antipersonnel landmines convention. That announcement was a surprise insofar as Russia had previously opposed a total ban on landmines and had not been a participant of an earlier international conference in Oslo at which the convention was drafted. Reaction in Russia to Yeltsin’s Strasbourg announcement was largely negative, moreover, as military officials in particular indicated that the renunciation of landmines would impair Russia’s security. (See Monitor, October 13, 15)

In another noteworthy statement that accompanied yesterday’s talks in Moscow, Chretien announced that Canada would be willing to accept Aleksandr Nikitin. He is the former Russian naval captain who has been charged with treason for his participation in a Norwegian environmental group’s study on nuclear pollution caused by the Russian Northern Fleet. (See Monitor, September 30) Chretien told reporters that he had raised the Nikitin case during his talks in Moscow, but that he had received no definite response. (Itar-Tass, October 20) Human rights groups inside and outside of Russia have urged that the charges against Nikitin be dropped.

Report: CIA Erred in Nuclear Test Allegations.