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Russia: Gore, Chernomyrdin Begin Talks

Moscow, 22 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin have begun the first of three days of meetings in Russia to chart future economic and technical cooperation.

Meeting this morning at a residence near Moscow, the two affirmed their committment to the Mir space program in spite of the spacecraft's repeated technical failures. They also agreed to a revised schedule for launching sections of the Alpha space station, which will replace Mir.

The leaders also were expected to discuss a Russian proposal to allow U.S. scientists to monitor a Russian nuclear power plant installation in Iran. The U.S. has voiced concern that the Iranians may use the reactor to develop nuclear weapons.

The talks are part of regularly scheduled, twice-yearly meetings. On Wednesday, the leaders will travel to the Samara region, one of Russia's most prosperous areas.