Moscow: A Russia-US agreement on child
adoption is expected to be finalised within two weeks so that
it could become operational by the end of this year, a senior
official said today, as delegates of the two countries
launched a fourth round of talks here on the issue.
"We hope we will manage to iron out the remaining
unresolved issues during the three-day long negotiations to
finalise the text of this agreement within the next two weeks
for approval by the concerned US and Russian federal
agencies," Director of the Social Protection of Children in
the Russian Education Ministry, Alina Levitskaya, was quoted
as saying by RIA Novosti.
Levitskaya said the agreement would come into effect by
the beginning of December.
Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign adoptions
for US families, accounting for about 10 per cent of such
adoptions, but the issue has become controversial in recent
years following several incidents involving mistreatment of
Russian children in the United States.
In early April, a 7-year-old boy was put on a
Moscow-bound plane alone with a note from his US adoptive
mother, who claimed he was "psychopathic."
At least 15 children have died at the hands of their
adoptive parents in the US since the Soviet collapse.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had warned that Russia
could freeze child adoptions by US citizens until the
countries sign a formal agreement regulating them.
Russian Child Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov also insists
on the signing of the bilateral adoption agreement and called
for reducing the number of foreign adoption agencies working