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U.S. and Russia Support Draft of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Jakarta, July 23 (RFE/RL) - Russia and the United States said today they agreed to support a draft treaty banning nuclear weapons tests and urged other countries to approve it at a multinational conference in Geneva later this month.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said they consider their statement a major boost for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would ban atomic testing worldwide.

They urged delegates from 61 countries who will meet in Geneva next Monday to approve the treaty draft and forward it for approval and signature to the U.N Security Council.

The two spoke in Jakarta, Indonesia, where they are attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN). At today's ASEAN meeting, Christopher also warned that continued military rule in Burma poses a threat to stability in Southeast Asia.

In a move opposed by the United States, ASEAN has granted Burma observer status to the forum, which includes major powers China, Russia, and Japan. ASEAN officials say they prefer constructive engagement with Burma to open confrontation.