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Members of Russia's lower house of parliament passed an appeal Wednesday to their new colleagues in the U.S. Congress
Members of Russia's lower house of parliament passed an appeal Wednesday to their new colleagues in the U.S. Congress, urging them to intensify efforts to ratify key international treaties. U.S. Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress in midterm elections on November 7. Members of Russia's State Duma called on U.S. lawmakers to ratify treaties on nuclear tests, biological weapons and the Kyoto Protocol, and to cease to apply the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Russia. Duma deputies, who opened the spring session Wednesday, said the U.S. was entering 2007 with a new lawmaking setup, and expressed their hope that Congress would ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and support international efforts to control implementation of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Russian lawmakers also said the 1999 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Adaptation Agreement had to be ratified because this document has been "the cornerstone of European security for many years and a model of international cooperation in arms control." The CFE Treaty limits military hardware and troop numbers for all countries from the Atlantic to the Urals, and aims to establish a military balance on the European continent. An amended version of the original CFE Treaty was signed by 30 CFE countries and removed the bloc-to-bloc and zone limits of the original treaty, replacing them with a system of national and territorial boundaries. The U.S. and its NATO allies have said that they will not ratify the treaty until Russia complies with its new weapons limits, including the withdrawal of its treaty-limited weapons from Georgia and Moldova. The original Cold War-era treaty remains in effect. Another document that, according to Russian legislators, requires U.S. ratification is the Kyoto Protocol, which covers more than 160 countries and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by all industrial countries to 5% below their 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Russia joined Kyoto in 2004, but the U.S. has refused to sign the pact, saying it could damage the country's economy. "The U.S. refusal to join all these treaties prevents universal and effective operation of the international legal security and strategic stability system," the deputies' appeal said. Russian members of parliament also said the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, which tied U.S. trade with the former Soviet Union to the rights of Jews to emigrate from the country, was a Cold War relic used as a political lever in economic competition. "Duma deputies are convinced that modern threats, equally important for all countries, are so great and real that the disunity of forces in confronting them is counterproductive and dangerous," the appeal said. Rusn lawmakers also said the two countries had to maintain anti-terrorist solidarity established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. and brutal terrorist blasts in Russia, including hostage crises in Moscow and Beslan, over the past seven years.
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