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Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission: Bi-Weekly Look-Ahead and Wrap-Up


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
December 13, 2010

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December 13 – Agriculture Working Group: The Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service will visit Moscow to discuss forestry management issues. This was the first meeting between forest officials since the reorganization of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency following the August 2010 forest fires.

December 13-14 – Civil Society Working Group: Steve Bucher, Deputy Associate Director of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate of the Citizenship & Immigration Services and co-chair of the Migration Subgroup, will visit Moscow to meet with Russian migration officials and NGOs dealing with migration and labor trafficking issues.

December 14 – Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: Kanterovich Academic Choir will perform at Spaso House for broadcast on Radio Orphee.

December 14-16 – Defense Relations Working Group: The Training, Education, and Human Resources Sub-Working Group of the DRWG will convene its first meeting December 14-16 in Washington, DC. The Russian delegation will be led by the Chief of the Education Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The meeting will be an exchange on U.S. and Russian armed forces structures and officer and enlisted personnel development.

Ongoing - Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: “America through the Eyes of Russian and American Cartoonists” exhibit continues this month in St. Petersburg.

Ongoing - Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: "American Film Noir" Festival continues this month in St. Petersburg.

Ongoing - Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: “Color and Form” Modern American Jewelry Art exhibit continues this month in Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. Virtual exhibit (www.vershbow-art.com) will continue as well.

Last Week’s Wrap-Up

Energy Working Group: Special Envoy Richard Morningstar, co-chair of the Energy Security Sub-Group, held meetings in Moscow with Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov, the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, the U.S.-Russian Business Council, and others. Global energy market forecasts for supply and demand were discussed. Shmatko and Morningstar also discussed preparations for an investor conference to be held in Moscow in Spring 2011.

Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: Working Group Co-Chairs Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman and Rosatom Director General Sergey Kiriyenko met in Moscow. The two signed an Implementing Arrangement on Research Reactor Conversion Feasibility Studies and a Joint Statement on the achievements and concrete near-term activities of the Working Group. (Read the Joint Statement here.) Deputy Secretary Poneman and Ambassador Beyrle also travelled to Zheleznogorsk and Krasnoyarsk with a delegation from Rosatom to see firsthand the results of Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration cooperation in the region.

Energy Working Group: Dr. William Brinkman, DOE Office of Science Director and co-chair of Clean Energy Technology Sub-Group, traveled to Moscow to hold sub-group meeting at Russian Academy of Sciences. The two sides discussed a range of possible joint activities, from working on hydrogen fuel cells and on low activation materials for future nuclear reactor systems, to study of the impact of climate change on permafrost and projects on biomass fuels.

Energy Working Group: Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman traveled to Moscow, where he met with Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko and held a breakfast discussion with the American Chamber of Commerce. During his meetings, the Deputy Secretary highlighted progress on Energy Working Group projects, including a smart grid city-to-city partnership, coal mine methane initiative, and federal energy management plan for implementation in various candidate regions.

Emergency Situations Working Groups: Acting Director of USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Mark Ward travelled to Moscow and met with EMERCOM officials to discuss opportunities for cooperation on disaster assistance issues.

Health/Counternarcotics Working Groups: U.S. representatives from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); USAID; and Yale University met with the Director of Russia’s Federal Narcological Center (FNC), and FNC deputy directors to discuss possible areas of collaboration. FNC’s Director praised the dynamics of the work under the Counternarcotics Working Group, noting in particular her meetings with Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) during her visit to Washington, D.C. in October 2010. The FNC indicated that they were prepared to host a U.S. – Russia conference on substance abuse prevention and treatment in the spring. The FNC also expressed interest in a project to evaluate the integration of Medication-Assisted Treatment (naltrexone) for Injection Drug Users into HIV Medical Care funded under the PEPFAR program. FNC agreed this project will be implemented in St. Petersburg by a team of experts from the Russian AIDS Center and Narcological Services. The FNC also agreed to contribute to the protocol development, data analysis and monitoring and evaluation.

Health/Counternarcotics Working Groups - With USG support, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime organized a study tour for leading substance abuse prevention and treatment experts from the FNC to discuss with Russian counterparts best practices in this area. The FNC experts provided very positive feedback on the trip and were particularly impressed by the integrated approach to substance abuse treatment and care, the range and quality of outreach programs for high risk groups, psycho-social support interventions, and rehabilitation programs they observed in the US.

Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: “Cartoons for Adults: Reflections of Life” exhibit finished two weeks in Vladivostok.

Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: American film makers and Consulate Yekaterinburg staff participated in the International Family Circle Film Festival.



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