Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 18, September 1997
Agreements on ABM & START TreatiesAgreements and Statements signed in New York, 26 September 1997
Summary of Agreements
US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"Representatives of the United States, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine signed two sets of significant strategic arms control agreements today in New York. With this action we have advanced commitments made at the Clinton-Yeltsin Summit in Helsinki last March aimed at further reducing the nuclear danger and strengthening strategic stability and nuclear security. The first set of agreements, signed by the United States and the Russian Federation, will enhance strategic stability by boosting the prospects for Russian ratification of START II and prompt commencement of START III negotiations on further reductions after START II enters into force. The second set of agreements, signed by the United States, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, preserve the viability of the ABM Treaty as a foundation for further strategic arms reductions.
As agreed at Helsinki, to facilitate Russia's ratification of the START II Treaty, US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov today signed a Protocol to the Treaty extending the time period for implementation of START II until 31 December, 2007, when all Treaty-mandated reductions are to be completed. This Protocol is intended to ease Russia's concerns over the cost of dismantling nuclear weapons systems.
The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also signed and exchanged letters legally codifying the Helsinki Summit commitment to deactivate by 31 December, 2003, the US and Russian strategic nuclear delivery vehicles that will be eliminated under START II, thereby ensuring that the US and Russia realize START II's security benefits as soon as possible.
The Joint Agreed Statement issued today records the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation that henceforth Minuteman III ICBM downloading under START II can be carried out at any time before 31 December, 2007. This ensures that deMIRVing under START II will take place in a stable and equivalent manner.
The second set of agreements signed today in New York relate to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and Theater Ballistic Missile Defenses (TMD). These agreements will ensure the viability of the ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of strategic stability for over 25 years, by clarifying the line between strategic and theater ballistic missile defenses and by settling the ABM Treaty succession issue following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Specifically, Secretary Albright and Foreign Ministers Primakov, Antonovich, Tokayev, and Udovenko, of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, respectively, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) providing for succession to the ABM Treaty by those four states of the former Soviet Union.
In addition, Dr. Stanley Riveles, the US Commissioner to the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC); Gen. Viktor Koltunov (ret.), the Russian SCC Commissioner; Ambassador Stanislau Agurtsou of Belarus; Dr. Kaiyrtay Zhanbatyrov, Kazakhstan Deputy SCC Commissioner; and Ukrainian representative Mr. Olexiy Rybak signed: two Agreed Statements relating to the ABM Treaty, dealing with lower-and higher-velocity TMD systems, respectively; an associated Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures; and new SCC regulations that will govern multilateral operation of the Commission. They also initialed a Joint Statement that provides for an annual exchange of information on the status of TMD plans and programs. Together, these documents clarify the demarcation between anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems, which are limited by the Treaty, and TMD systems, which are not limited by the Treaty.
The START II Protocol, together with the Joint Agreed Statement, the letters on early deactivation, and four ABM agreements are subject to ratification or approval by the signatory states in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each state.
With today's signing of the START II Protocol, the letters on early deactivation, and the agreements on ABM succession and demarcation, we expect that the path will now be clear for the Russian legislative approval of the START II Treaty. This will allow us all to benefit from the stabilizing reductions envisioned in START II, and open the door to negotiating further reductions through a START III agreement, as embodied in the Clinton-Yeltsin Helsinki commitment. The United States shares the hope and expectation of the Russian Federation that the Russian legislature will approve ratification of START II so that a START III agreement can then be completed expeditiously."
Source: 'Text - State Department on signing of two arms control accords,' United States Information Service, 26 September.
'START II Protocol and Letters on Early Deactivation,' US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"START II Protocol
Formal title: Protocol to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reductions and Limitations of Strategic Offensive Arms of January 3, 1993.
Joint Agreed Statement
Records the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation that henceforth Minuteman III ICBM downloading under START II can be carried out at any time before 31 December, 2007, the deadline for completing all Treaty-mandated reductions. This ensures that deMIRVing under START II will take place in a stable and equivalent manner. This Joint Agreed Statement has no effect on the downloading provisions of the START I Treaty, which remain unchanged.
Exchange of Letters on Early Deactivation
Legally codifies the commitment made at Helsinki that the United States and the Russian Federation will deactivate by 31 December, 2003 all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles which, under the START II Treaty, will be eliminated by 31 December, 2007.
Deactivation will be achieved by removing the nuclear reentry vehicles from the missiles, or by taking other jointly agreed steps.
The letters on deactivation will enter into force when START II enters into force.
Immediately upon entry into force of START II, US and Russian experts will begin work on understandings concerning methods of deactivation and on parameters of a US program of assistance to Russia for implementation of deactivation.
The Russian letter contains a unilateral statement: 'Taking into account the supreme national interests of the country, the Russian Federation proceeds from the understanding that well in advance of the above deactivation deadline the START III Treaty will be achieved and will enter into force.' The US letter takes note of this Russian statement. ..."
Joint Communiqué signed by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and the US, New York, 26 September
"The Secretary of State of the United States of America and the
Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of
Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have just signed
the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Succession to the ABM
Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics. They welcome the signature of three related
documents by Representatives of their respective Governments: First
Agreed Statement Relating to the ABM Treaty; Second Agreed
Statement Relating to the ABM Treaty; a Confidence-Building
Measures Agreement, and the Regulations of the Standing
Comments by US Secretary of State
'Remarks by Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright, At Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Signing, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York,' US State Department, Office of the Spokesperson, 26 September
"We have been very successful in mastering the challenges left in the wake of the Cold War. Now we will turn to arms control for a new century - beyond eliminating mistrust to eliminating actual nuclear weapons.
These documents are the product of nearly four years of hard work, and the leadership, above all, of President Clinton and President Yeltsin. ...
The ABM Treaty was essential to managing our security during the Cold War and is at the center of our strategic relationship with Russia today. These documents ensure that its list of participants correspond to the maps of our times, and that our understanding of it corresponds to the security strategy we are putting in place for times to come.
Together, the ABM and START II documents we will sign here today should pave the way for the Russian Duma to ratify START II. And that will trigger deep reductions in our arsenals.
But these agreements also open new possibilities for Americans and Russians to work together toward the goal Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin adopted in Helsinki - cutting our arms levels and, consequently, our expenditures and risks, to levels 80 percent below Cold War peaks.
They open new opportunities to destroy actual warheads and to put in place transparency measures that will assure us that weapons taken out of service will never be used again. These negotiations can begin once Russia ratifies START II. ..."
First Agreed Statement
'First Agreed Statement of 26 September, 1997, Relating to the ABM Treaty, US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"The First Agreed Statement is also referred to as the Agreed Statement relating to lower-velocity theater ballistic missile defense (TMD) systems. Under this Agreed Statement, lower-velocity TMD systems are systems with interceptor missiles whose maximum demonstrated velocities do not exceed, and have not exceeded, 3.0 kilometers/second.
Under the First Agreed Statement, land-based, sea-based, and air-based components of lower-velocity TMD systems (i.e., interceptor missiles, launchers, and radars) will be deemed compliant with the ABM Treaty, if:
There are no other conditions. The applicable provision of the ABM Treaty, Article VI(a) prohibits giving non-ABM systems or their components the capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory and prohibits testing them in an ABM mode. TMD systems satisfying the requirements of the First Agreed Statement are consistent with those Treaty obligations.
The First Agreed Statement does not constrain or prohibit these lower-velocity TMD systems from operating with an architecture that includes space-based cueing and external sensor support.
The US compliance review process has independently determined that the core US lower-velocity TMD programs (Patriot PAC-3, THAAD, and US Navy Area Wide), as currently configured or designed, are fully compliant with the ABM Treaty. These programs are consistent with the provisions of the First Agreed Statement.
In addition, the agreement commits the Parties to implement on a reciprocal basis the transparency and confidence-building measures agreed upon in the separate, legally-binding Confidence-Building Measures Agreement (CBMA). The First Agreed Statement will enter into force simultaneously with the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession (MOUS)."
Second Agreed Statement
'Second Agreed Statement of September 26, 1997, Relating to the ABM Treaty,' US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"The Second Agreed Statement is also referred to as the Agreed Statement relating to higher-velocity theater ballistic missile defense (TMD) systems. Under this Agreed Statement, higher-velocity TMD systems are those having interceptor missiles whose velocities exceed 3.0 kilometers/second. This agreement codifies the provisions of the Helsinki Summit Joint Statement, as agreed to by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin on 21 March, 1997. Like the First Agreed Statement, the Second Agreed Statement will enter into force simultaneously with the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession (MOUS).
Under the Second Agreed Statement, during tests of higher-velocity TMD systems:
Apart from the limits on ballistic target-missile maximum velocity and range, the higher-velocity TMD systems of the Parties must comply in other respects with the provisions of Article VI(a) of the ABM Treaty. Determining the Treaty compliance of a Party's own higher-velocity TMD systems will remain the national responsibility of each Party. The higher-velocity TMD agreement does not establish any velocity limitations on TMD interceptor missiles and does not impose any other restrictions on testing or deployment of such systems.
The US Navy's Theater-Wide (formerly referred to as 'Upper Tier') TMD system is a system with an interceptor missile whose velocity is likely to exceed 3.0 kilometers/second. As currently configured or designed, Navy Theater-Wide has been certified ABM Treaty compliant by the United States. Nothing contained in the Second Agreed Statement itself would change the current US compliance certification status of the Navy Theater-Wide TMD system.
The Parties also agreed not to develop, test, or deploy space-based TMD interceptor missiles or space-based components based on other physical principles (OPP) such as lasers that are capable of substituting for space-based TMD interceptor missiles. The ABM Treaty prohibits the development, testing, and deployment of space-based ABM systems. As a practical matter, distinguishing space-based ABM interceptor missiles from space-based TMD interceptor missiles is difficult if not impossible. Similar difficulties arise in distinguishing between space-based components based on OPP capable of substituting for ABM interceptor missiles and space-based components based on OPP capable of substituting for TMD interceptor missiles. The development, testing, and deployment of air-based, sea-based, and land-based TMD or other non-ABM systems based on other physical principles is not constrained or prohibited by either the Second, or the First, Agreed Statement.
By agreement all higher-velocity TMD systems will be subject to the Confidence-Building Measures Agreement (CBMA).
Further, to help increase transparency and build confidence in compliance with Treaty obligations, additional documents have been agreed upon which are associated with the Second Agreed Statement:
(1) a non-legally-binding unilateral statement of plans by each Party; and
(2) a Joint Statement on the annual exchange of information concerning certain plans. The unilateral statement on plans issued by each Party states that each Party has no plans to:
The Joint Statement obligates each Party to update annually the status of its plans. Nothing in the Second Agreed Statement or the associated Joint Statement limits the rights of a Party to change its plans. Furthermore, the Parties agreed that a change in a Party's plans will not undermine the legal standing or duration of the Second Agreed Statement on higher-velocity TMD systems. If a Party's plans change, the Joint Statement reiterates the obligation in Article XIII of the ABM Treaty to discuss in the SCC questions or concerns raised by a Party as well as possible proposals for increasing the viability of the Treaty, which could include possible proposals to amend the Second Agreed Statement. In order to modify or amend the Second Agreed Statement, a consensus is required among all the Parties to the ABM Treaty."
Confidence-Building Measures Agreement
'Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures,' US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"To promote reciprocal openness and transparency, the Parties agreed on a Confidence-Building Measures Agreement (CBMA). The following are its key elements:
The CBMA will enter into force simultaneously with the Agreed Statements relating to lower- and higher-velocity TMD systems, and will remain in force as long as either of those Agreed Statements remains in force."
Regulations of the Standing Consultative Committee
'Regulations of the Standing Consultative Committee,' US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"Article XIII of the ABM Treaty provides for the establishment of the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) as a forum for the Parties to discuss ABM Treaty-related issues and thus to promote the Treaty's objectives, enhance implementation, and ensure the Treaty's continuing viability and effectiveness. The Treaty also empowers the Parties to develop and agree upon regulations for conducting SCC business, which the United States and the USSR did in 1973. With the succession of Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine to the rights and obligations of the former Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty, revised regulations were needed to govern the multilateral operation of the Commission.
These new SCC Regulations set forth the composition and operating procedures for the SCC. As with the original SCC regulations, at least two sessions per year are required to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, or at another agreed location. These new regulations set forth procedures for convening sessions, establishing agendas, and approving agreements in a multilateral environment. Under these regulations, agreements are arrived at by a consensus of the Parties. There is also a 'silent consent' procedure for approving agreements in the event a Party is unable to attend a session. The Regulations will enter into force simultaneously with the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession (MOUS). The Commission has the right to revise, repeal, or replace the Regulations as it deems necessary."
Memorandum of Understanding on Succession
'Memorandum of Understanding on Succession,' US State Department Fact Sheet, 26 September
"The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems of 26 May, 1972, commonly known as the ABM Treaty, was a bilateral agreement between the two states. When the USSR dissolved at the end of 1991, and its constituent republics became independent States, the only operationally-deployed ABM system was at Moscow, while a number of its early warning radars and an ABM test range were located outside of the Russian Federation. Although the ABM Treaty continues in force, it nevertheless has become necessary to reach agreement as to which New Independent States (NIS) would collectively assume the rights and obligations of the USSR under the Treaty.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Succession (MOUS) establishes that the Parties to the ABM Treaty shall be the United States, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. For the purposes of the MOUS and the ABM Treaty, the latter four states are considered to be the USSR Successor States. Pursuant to the MOUS provisions, the USSR Successor States collectively assume the rights and obligations of the USSR. This means that only a single ABM deployment area is permitted among the four Successor States; in addition, only 15 ABM launchers at ABM test ranges are collectively permitted. Russia will be able to continue to operate any existing early warning radars, as well as the ABM test range, located within other states with the permission of those governments.
States that become bound by the MOUS also are bound to observe the provisions of both the First and Second Agreed Statements, which deal with lower-velocity and higher-velocity theater ballistic missile defense systems, respectively. These agreements will now be subject to ratification or approval by the signatory States in accordance with the appropriate constitutional procedures of each state, and will enter into force on the date when the governments of all five signatory states have deposited instruments of ratification or approval of the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession. The MOUS will remain in force as long as the ABM Treaty remains in force. The ABM Treaty is of unlimited duration."
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.