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U.S., Allies May Win Nuclear Vote

The Washington Post

An intense U.S. and allied campaign to win the permanent extension of a global treaty meant to halt the spread of nuclear arms is nearing a major victory at the United Nations this week, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.

A comfortable majority of the 178 nations that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are on record as supporting its indefinite extension, and some U.S. officials say it may even be approved by consensus before the month-long U.N. review conference ends on Friday.

About 20 nations - including the five declared nuclear powers and some highly vocal developing nations - are engaged in fervent, last-minute negotiations on a document sponsored by South Africa that officials say is widely expected to provide the basis for such a consensus vote.

The South African proposal would endorse the treaty's extension while also ordering more intensive, periodic reviews of disarmament steps taken by the major nuclear powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. It would also identify some new disarmament measures to be taken by these countries.

Clinton­Yeltsin Summit Points To Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

The Washington Post

Cold War summitry had one clear goal: to lessen the chances of global thermonuclear war.

In the early years of Russian democracy, U.S.-Russian summits aimed to support Russian reform and cement the U.S.-Russian partnership.

Now, as President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin prepare to meet here this week, the goals are as murky as the future of U.S.-Russian relations. The two powers, while certainly not Cold War-style enemies, seem to be operating on entirely different wavelengths, responding to domestic political pressures that pull both away from common language and toward confrontation over a host of niggling and not-so-niggling issues.

Russia and the United States continue to share many basic interests on the world scene, analysts here said, and their differences - unlike in Cold War days - are not world-threatening. But both countries have shed the euphoria of their post-Soviet embrace without a clear sense of what comes next.

"The rules of the game for Russian-American relations are really ill-defined," said Michael McFaul, an expert on Russian politics at the Carnegie Moscow Center. "The Russians don't understand the Americans' intentions, the Americans don't understand the Russians' intentions, and both sides are doing a pretty bad job of communicating them."

Chirac Celebrates Election Win

Los Angeles Times

A grinning Jacques Chirac, the French president-elect, accepted congratulations from world leaders and chatted easily with outgoing President Francois Mitterrand during V-E Day festivities here Monday.

But, when the celebrations were over, Chirac began the task of putting together his new government, due to take over sometime next week, certain in the knowledge that his presidential honeymoon may be one of the shortest in French history.

Chirac's victory over Lionel Jospin, a Socialist, by a margin of about 53 percent to 47 percent, has for the first time in 21 years put the conservative descendants of Charles de Gaulle in power in both the law-making National Assembly and the presidency, creating both a formidable force for change and a charged atmosphere for social upheaval.

For the conservatives' political opponents on the left, who include major trade unions and advocates for the homeless and jobless, the only avenue for protest until legislative elections in 1998 will be in the streets, where a crisis of confidence in the new government could be born.

And, leaders of those groups say, that is just where they will be if Chirac doesn't soon deliver on his vague promises to increase salaries in industries where the economic recovery has begun, and, at the same time, reduce unemployment, which now stands at 12.3 percent, the highest of any leading industrialized nation.

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Volume 115, Number 24.
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