negotiations, an inter-governmental agreement addressing all principal problems was drawn up and concluded.
There was another factor, which contributed considerably to the success of these activities: high-level managers empowered to resolve urgent problems headed the teams of both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. experts. Such important joint work brought the experts of both countries closer together. The high professional level of the involved specialists inspired respect and affection that ensured their professional and personal contacts in the following years. The atmosphere developed between the two groups of experts of both countries at the Nevada test site and at the Semipalatinsk test site could be a good example to emulate in cooperation on other subjects. Joint detailed discussions of the experiments’ results were also useful. Thus, the joint verification experiment was a major step toward strengthening confidence between our countries.
The idea of establishing an International Scientific & Technology Center (ISTC) emerged in the course of the visit of James Baker, the U.S. Secretary of State, to Snezhinsk (VNIITF). The major purpose of the ISTC is to motivate Russian scientists and experts on the weapons of mass destruction to continue their professional activities in Russia and prevent them from leaving to "problem" (rogue) countries. Thus, the ISTC became an appreciable source of support for such scientists in the hardest years of restructuring Russia.
The scope of activities and the number of Russian scientists involved in ISTC projects has no equal. In the last 10 years the ISTC funded projects to the total amount of about $500 million, which involved over 51 thousand scientists at 700 research institutes in Russia, Byelorussia, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kirghizia.
To a large extent the success of the ISTC activities was due to the fact that the following key issues were agreed at the preliminary stage:
Requirements for project proposals and format of their presentation
Mechanism of coordination with Russian governmental bodies
Project review procedure: expert appraisal at the Scientific Advisory Board and decision-making by the funding parties at the Board of Governors
Issues of audit and access to Russian institutions
Reimbursement of (exemption from) taxes and customs duties
Payment of project grants for their participants
Operational support of the ISTC projects by its Executive Directorate.
All participating parties formalized the above arrangements as an international agreement.
During preparation for a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III) and in compliance with the Joint Statement of the U.S. and Russian Presidents (Helsinki, March 1997), multi-purpose studies were carried out at weapons laboratories of the U.S. and Russia in 1996 through 1998