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GORE SIGNS SERIES OF PACTS WITH RUSSIANS

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Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a series of cooperation agreements Friday, putting behind them a cool period in U.S.-Russian relations.

"The prime minister and I have just concluded three very full and fruitful days," Gore told a news conference after the fourth session of the Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation."Nothing speaks more clearly about the health of the U.S.-Russian relationship than the work of this commission," he said. Gore also said he had an excellent meeting with President Boris Yeltsin.

Relations between the two countries have been soured in recent weeks by differences over policy in the former Yugoslavia and over NATO's planned expansion into Eastern Europe.

Fifteen agreements were signed during the Gore-Chernomyrdin session, covering such areas as prevention of pollution in the Arctic, customs cooperation, space, energy, health and defense conversion.

The two sides agreed to carry out joint space research to gather data on the earth's atmosphere and to cooperate on an international space station.

They also committed themselves to ensuring safe and secure nuclear warhead dismantlement and to funding studies on viable energy alternatives to replace plutonium production reactors.

As far as NATO and other thorny issues were concerned, Gore said: "We have established a process to put all of these questions in a proper perspective."