BIDEN Resolution Calls for Redefined, Improved U.S.-Russia Relations
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) introduced a resolution encouraging leaders participating in the 2008 Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in Japan to work toward a more constructive relationship with Russia. Sen. Biden's resolution specifically calls on the Russian government to uphold the Group's mission of protecting global security, economic stability and democracy, as well as outlines key areas in the U.S.-Russia relationship that could use improvement in the future.
"Today's global challenges require global cooperation," said Sen. Biden. "This week's Group of Eight Summit is an opportunity to restore some shared confidence in the world economy and help us find common solutions to global challenges, including energy and food."
Russian leaders have expressed a desire to see their country play a leading role in international affairs, but their domestic and foreign policy has frequently put the country at odds with the United States and other members of the G-8. Last December, the Russian Federation suspended implementation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, a cornerstone of regional stability. The Russian government has also undermined the independence of neighboring countries, including the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine, through the use of military threats, economic boycotts, and energy shutoffs.
"Russia should be an important partner in dealing with the issues facing the international community. The country has incredibly talented people, vast resources, and a big role in ensuring global security. But meaningful U.S. cooperation is contingent on Russia's willingness to respect its neighbors and live up to the ideals of democracy and accountability that President Medvedev has committed to supporting," added Sen. Biden.
The resolution outlines key areas in which the U.S. - Russia relationship could use improvement, including:
* Negotiations for a legally-binding successor agreement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty;
* Increased utilization of the NATO-Russia Council to foster greater cooperation between NATO States and Russia;
* Renewed Russian pressure on Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program;
* Cooperation on Nunn-Lugar non-proliferation programs; and
* Full Russian compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, including their commitment to pull weapons and troops out of Georgia and Moldova.
Along with the United States and Russia, the G-8 is comprised of these major industrialized democracies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. They meet annually to renew its mission and to tackle new and ongoing challenges like climate change and nuclear proliferation.