Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 20, November 1997
US Purchase of Moldovan FightersStatement by US Defense Secretary William Cohen, Department of Defense News Briefing, 4 November 1997
"It gives me a great deal of pleasure to announce another successful milestone in our Cooperative Threat Reduction [CTR] Program. As a result of an Accord that the United States signed with the Republic of Moldova in June of this year, we recently purchased 21 advanced nuclear capable MiG-29 fighters from Moldova. Over the last two weeks we've been transporting these MiGs in C-17 transport aircraft from Moldova to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This is a joint effort by both governments to ensure that these dual-use military weapons do not fall into the hands of countries that might use them against us, our friends or allies.
We have credible information that a number of rogue States, including Iran, are attempting to buy available Russian high tech equipment and weapons in the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union. These MiG aircraft were on their shopping list.
This is another growing list of achievements of the Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction Program which was initiated by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar.
Among these achievements are the denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine; the removal from Kazakhstan and the safe storage in the United States of some 600 kilograms of weapons grade highly enriched uranium; and the enhanced security, control, and accounting of nuclear weapons and fissile materials in Russia.
The CTR program has made remarkable progress in reducing, controlling, and eliminating the greatest potential security threat to Americans, and that is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction from the former Soviet Union.
Leaders in the Republic of Moldova took a visionary approach in this effort. The agreement regarding these MiGs contributes to the enhanced climate of trust in relations between Moldova and the United States, and I want to personally extend my thanks to President Lucinski and Minister of Defense Pasad. ..."
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