Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 24, March 1998
START II Delay Disrupts Clinton-Yeltsin Summit PlansIt became clear in mid-March that the next Summit between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin is facing a delay caused by the failure of the lower house of the Russian Parliament, the Duma, to ratify the 1993 START (Strategic Arms Reduction) II Treaty. A major theme of the next Summit is intended to be a celebration of that ratification and enthusiastic discussions about a follow-on, START III, Treaty.
President Clinton told reporters on 13 March: "President Yeltsin and I agreed a long time ago - probably a year or so ago - that I would come to him for the next visit, but that it would occur after the Russian Duma ratified START II... [We could then] begin to work on START III and really take the next big step in lowering the nuclear weapons arsenals of both countries..." The same day, White House spokesperson Mike McCurry stated that while there was no "direct linkage" between a Summit and START II ratification, both sides were clear that the agenda for the Summit "presupposes" ratification.
There is no clear indication of when the Duma intends to bring the issue to a vote.
Report: Arms treaty delays US-Russia summit, Associated Press, 13 March.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.