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April 03, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-03

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WDORLD The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 3, 2002-5
Russians wary of U.S. amidst upcoming summit

Questions of anti-terrorist
coalition to be raised in three-
day long Russian conference
MOSCOW (AP) - Ahead of a Russian-
U.S. summit next month, Russians increas-
ingly are asking what rewards they have
reaped from joining the U.S.-led anti-ter-
rorist coalition and where President
Vladimir Putin's pro-Western policy is
leading the nation.
Summing up the negative attitude of
many politicians, political analysts and
journalists, one lawmaker reminded a
round-table discussion on Russian-U.S.
cooperation that many had warned Putin
about trusting America.
"The majority, who didn't support the

president's plans from the beginning, now
are washing their hands of them, saying
'We warned you, you won't get anything
from the Americans,"' lawmaker Alexei
Arbatov said yesterday.
The meeting was just one of many recent
public discussions that have highlighted the
wide gap between Putin and the majority of
Russian opinion-makers on foreign policy
questions. President Bush will meet Putin
during a May 23-26 visit to Moscow and St.
Petersburg.
Putin surprised many by enthusiastically
joining the anti-terrorist coalition after
Sept. 11, offering to share intelligence,
open air corridors for humanitarian flights
and aid in search-and-rescue missions.
Leonid Ivashov, a former high-ranking
Defense Ministry official, likened Russia's

moves after Sept. 11 to "an attempt at
geostrategic suicide."
Putin raised eyebrows further by giving
the green light to U.S. troop deployments in
formerly Soviet Central Asia and astounded
many Russians when he calmly accepted
the imminent arrival of U.S. military
instructors in Georgia, on Russia's tense
southern flank.
The government insists on the need to
stand by the international fight against ter-
rorism, which it says threatens Russia as
well, pointing to the war with separatists in
Chechnya.
But even state media "portray all these
cooperative moves by him almost as trea-
son," former Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev told the American Cham-
ber of Commerce yesterday.

Objecting to what they characterized as a
Russian foreign policy retreat, many Rus-
sians had hoped the new thaw in relations
between Washington and Moscow would
bring tangible results in policy and possibly
economic benefits.
But Russia has instead seen some real
setbacks to its foreign policy goals: Bush
elected to dump the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty, which Moscow had vowed to save,
and NATO is marching steadily toward fur-
ther eastern expansion, which Moscow has
vehemently opposed.
Washington has not yet delivered the
long-sought cancellation of the Soviet-era
Jackson-Vanick amendment, which makes
trade concessions contingent on Russia's
human rights performance, or the declara-
tion of Russia as a market economy -

which would lower import tariffs and ease
Moscow's way into the World Trade Organi-
zation.
On the positive side, the United States
has initiated a bilateral business forum to
discuss cooperation, but the two nations
have clashed over new U.S. steel tariffs and
Russia's recent suspension of U.S. poultry
imports.
"What's happened over the past half-
year in the economic relations of our
countries?" asked Alexander Livshits, a
top economic adviser to former Russian
President Boris Yeltsin and a former envoy
to the Group of Eight. "They crushed our
steel, along with the steel of other coun-
tries, created an American-Russian busi-
ness dialogue, and we quarreled about
chickens."

Filipino
leaders ask
U.S. troops
to remain
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP)-
Officials in the southern Philippines
said yesterday they want U.S. troops to
stay longer than planned to ensure
Muslim extremist rebels are wiped out
and planned infrastructure projects are
completed.
More than 600 American military
personnel are taking part in a six-
month counter-terrorism training exer-
cise designed to help the Philippine
military crush the Abu Sayyaf group
on Basilan island. It is scheduled to
end July 15.
U.S. officials are also planning to
improve water systems, build roads
and an airstrip in the poor, predomi-
nantly Muslim island province to
revive commerce and attract invest-
ment following years of fighting and
high-profile crimes by the Abu Sayyaf,
local government spokesman Chris
Puno said.
"We've been neglected for a long,
long time and we should give the
Americans enough time to help us,"
Puno said.
Basilan mayors are considering a
request to the national government to
extend the American presence by six
months, he said.
National Security Adviser Roilo
Golez told reporters that two U.S. sena-
tors who arrived Monday for a three-
day visit are assessing how much more
military aid the Philippines needs in
addition to the $100 million committed
by President Bush last November.
"We can expect more in terms of
aircraft, training, choppers, and I
think that's very vital for the
upgrade of our military capability,"
Golez said.
Tahira Ismael, mayor of Basilan's
coastal town of Lantawan, said her area
of more than 27,000 people has been
devastated by years of violence.
"It's not just the peace and order.
We badly need development," said
Tahira. "Those opposing the U.S.
troops do not know what we are going
through here."
Left-wing groups claim the pres-
ence of the U.S. troops violates a
constitutional restriction on foreign
troops in this former American
colony and could escalate conflict
in the south, many areas of which
have long been a hotbed of Muslim
separatist rebellions.
Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Teodosio,
director of Philippine troops in the train-
ing exercise, said U.S. military engineers
may need to stay longer in Basilan if
Washington proceeds with plans to
finance infrastructure projects.
Lt. Gen. Roy Cimatu, who heads the
southern Philippine military command,
said the fewer than 100 Abu Sayyaf
rebels on Basilan have split into three
groups to evade pursuing troops.
It is unclear whether three people
kidnapped by the group Wichita,
Kan.,amissionaries Gracia and Mar-
tin Burnham and Filipino nurse Edi-
borah Yap - were separated, but
indications are that the captives
remain on the island, he told
reporters. They are the last hostages
from an Abu Sayyaf kidnapping
spree that began last May.
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