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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 33, December 1998 - January 1999

Albright Visit to Moscow

'Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Joint Press Conference, Moscow, Russia,' US State Department transcript, 26 January 1999

Remarks by Minister Ivanov

"Disarmament issues were one of the main topics at the talks. We discussed the implementation of the START I treaty, including our concerns, prospects for the ratification of the START II treaty, and future talks on real cuts.

We had a serious discussion of the ABM Treaty. In response to our official inquiries we have received lately a number of explanations concerning the US approach toward the national anti-ballistic missile defense, including in messages to the President of the Russian Federation and the chairman of the government of Russia. This position is now being studied very thoroughly.

We believe that further cuts in strategic offensive weapons can be done only if there is a clear vision for preserving and observing this treaty as the cornerstone of strategic stability.

We discussed in great detail the adaptation of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. This is a critical treaty for European and global stability. We managed to specify our positions and bring them closer. We agreed to try to solve key problems by the end of February in order to have a concerted agreement of the joint consultative group before NATO begins to enlarge. The final decision concerning CFE adaptation will have to be made at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999. We will continue talks on this matter both with the US and other parties to the treaty.

Talks and consultations on disarmament and arms control will be intensified. Both sides seek to hold them in the spirit of transparency and openness. Also discussed at the talks were problems of non-proliferation and export control. We do not have differences in terms of aims. The reality of this threat to our national interests is obvious. We in Russia are taking all measures to toughen our regime of export control. We are studying all concrete cases of possible violations. We are actively interacting with the United States in these matters, taking into account both their and our concerns.

The launching of seven bilateral export-control groups, set up in accordance with a decision made by the presidents last September, will be very helpful in this respect. At the same time, of course, we cannot accept a policy of pressure. That is a mistaken path.

We both agreed that Russian-American engagement is the key element in the maintenance of international security and stability. We have accomplishments in the field of resolving...regional crises, although our approaches do not fully coincide.

We are particularly worried by relapses of the use of force in circumvention of the United Nations Security Council. This is fraught with the danger of undermining the existing system of international relations. It is most important for the existing differences to be resolved on the basis of dialogue, account for the views and interests of the sides. In this context we studied the situation in Kosovo and in Iraq. In both cases a resolution by political means is possible. ..."

Remarks by Secretary Albright

"Foreign Minister Ivanov and I have held extensive talks on a broad range of issues, on which we have common interest and concerns. Earlier today we signed a technology safeguards agreement. It puts in place firm measures to protect sensitive American technology on satellites launched by Russia from the Kazakhstan Space Center.

The agreement does not replace or circumvent our strict case-by-case approval procedures for Russian launches of American satellites, but it will allow us to resume space launch cooperation that is consistent with our non-proliferation objectives. And that is a plus for all three of our countries. ...

Foreign Minister Ivanov and I have also discussed extensively our common concern about missile and nuclear cooperation between Russian entities and Iran. Senior Russian officials have recently spoken out on the need to tighten Russia's export control systems. On that basis we will expand and intensify the work of the export control groups established by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin and continue our high-level dialogue. And we have confirmed our conviction that Iraq must fully comply with UN resolutions and end its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

We discussed a broad range of arms control issues. We will ask the US-Russian strategic stability group chaired by our deputies to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks. I am hopeful that the next time I am here, START II will have been ratified and we will be discussing START III.

We've had wide-ranging discussions on the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe. We and the other parties to the treaty will work to resolve key issues as soon as possible with the goal of signing an adapted treaty at the OSCE summit this fall, as the Foreign Minister has said.

Finally, we had a first exchange of views on how we might respond to new missile threats while keeping the ABM Treaty at the center of our arms control policy. I stressed to the Foreign Minister that we are only at the beginning of a long process, one which we want to work with Russia to preserve the security of both our countries. ..."


"Question: '... Are we sure that pending the final resolution of the fate of the ABM, the United States will not make any unilateral actions on the issue?'

Ivanov: 'We diplomats are guided in our work by concrete facts and documents. We have a message from the President of the United States, we have a message from the Vice President which confirms the commitment to the ABM Treaty. All the other issues, as we have discussed with Ms. Albright today, must be discussed. Any possible plans must be agreed and this is what we spoke about. At present it would be premature to speak anything concrete a priori. Any concerns, and we have naturally got concerns, must be presented and discussed in the spirit of frankness and partnership. Such a discussion is underway and I think this is of fundamental importance to avoid any surprises.'

Albright: '... I think that in the discussions about the ABM, I made it very clear that we are committed to the ABM Treaty as central to our whole arms control structure. There are, however, new threats in the world that frankly both countries need to consider. I think it is very important that a primarily Russian audience, but also [an] American audience, understand that there has been no deployment decision that would come in the middle of next year at the earliest. And were there a need to deploy and an ability to do so, because of the technology, that would not happen until the year 2005.

All that has happened now is that our budget contains money for research and development, and we are going to carry on transparent discussions with the Russians about where we are and the ABM Treaty and we'll be making very clear how this is progressing. And the next steps are, in fact, that the Strategic Stability Group in February will continue the discussion.

But I think it is a big mistake if people believe in some form or another that decisions on deployment have been taken. They have not been taken, and deployment under any circumstances would not happen until 2005 if the threat situation continues and if, in fact, these kinds of systems are feasible...'"

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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