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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 11, December 1996

Atlantic Council and Arms Control Association call for START III talks

On 19 November, the independent Atlantic Council of the United States released a report urging prompt commencement and speedy negotiation, following START II ratification by Russia, of a START III Treaty. The report, START III Negotiations: How Far and How Fast?, suggests that START III ceilings of 2,500 warheads per side - 1,000 fewer than the START II ceilings - could be quickly reached. The report's authors, Oleg N. Bykov and Jack Mendelsohn, further suggest that tactical nuclear deployments should be suspended during START III negotiations; and that tactical nuclear weapons could feature in the START III talks: "non-strategic nuclear arms pose a serious proliferation problem and START III could establish a new forum for devising successive steps toward their elimination."

On 26 November, the Arms Control Association (ACA) echoed the call for START III talks. According to ACA President Spurgeon Keeny, a former Deputy Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, serious discussion of START III objectives in advance of START II ratification could help to break the ratification deadlock in the Duma:

"[The Duma] is getting more and more dug in in its opposition, and the President has the opportunity to break the impasse by taking a prompt initiative [on START III... [The President] should not let this opportunity escape him. It may not come again."

According to reports, Keeny suggested a START III ceiling of 2,000 warheads per side.

Reports: Atlantic Council urges action on START III, Armed Forces Newswire Service, 19 November; Arms expert urges Clinton to break impasse over nuclear treaty, AP Datastream International News Wire, 26 November; Arms controllers urge Clinton to agree to START III negotiations, Armed Forces Newswire Service, 27 November.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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