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Russia-Ukraine Rivalry Sinks START Talks

April 12, 1992| From Reuters

MOSCOW — The Commonwealth of Independent States' four nuclear powers emerged empty-handed Saturday from eight hours of talks on rescuing the landmark START accord with the United States cutting strategic nuclear arsenals.

Rivalry between Russia and Ukraine torpedoed the Moscow negotiations, foreign ministers from the two countries said after the talks. They and their Kazakh and Belarussian counterparts were unable even to agree on a joint statement.

"I would like to call the talks productive in the sense that we have got right to the heart of the disagreement," a dispirited Russian Foreign Minister Andrei V. Kozyrev told reporters.

In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman had no comment on the developments.

The four became nuclear states after the collapse of the Soviet Union last year.

Washington, which signed the START accord on reduction of strategic arms with a unified Soviet Union, wants the four to honor it jointly as a single successor to the Soviet Union called the "Commonwealth Party."

But Ukraine, which says it will get rid of the nuclear weapons on its soil by 1994, wants to participate independently.

"We are not speaking of the emergence of a new nuclear state," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko said. "But each state wants its share of the responsibility for this treaty."

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