Embassy Row

Article excerpt

LUKIN'S LAMENT

Russia's former ambassador to the United States has issued another warning about nuclear disarmament, but this time he is worried about Republicans in Washington, not Communists in Moscow.

Vladimir Lukin, now chairman of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, says the Republican-led U.S. Senate is threatening to kill any chance of passage of the START II treaty in Russia by trying to pull the United States out of the ABM Treaty.

"Ratifying [START II] in Moscow will be absolutely unrealistic if the United States unilaterally pulls out of the ABM Treaty," said Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, in comments carried last week by the Itar-Tass news agency.

START II, signed in 1992 by President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, would reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals by almost two-thirds if ratified by the Russian parliament. Last month, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the treaty.

Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently introduced a bill that would allow the United States to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty and develop a missle defense system.

"Senator Jesse Helms, who is famous for his political exoticism, has long been searching for any pretext to return to the conditions of the Cuban missile crisis," Mr. Lukin said.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Lukin urged that the debate on the START II pact in the Russian parliament be delayed to prevent it from being an issue in the June presidential election.

Russian Communists and nationalists, who won a majority of seats in December's parliamentary elections, strongly oppose the treaty.

MYSTERY LETTER

The Embassy of Cameroon is trying to defuse tension created by what it describes as a fake letter from the embassy to the Cameroon Foreign Ministry.

"As bizarre and far-fetched as this document appears to be, it does represent a potentially serious nuisance in many regards," the embassy said.

While it would not discuss the exact contents, the embassy said that whoever is responsible for the letter tried to make it appear to have been written by Pierre Ndzengue, a top diplomat at the embassy. …