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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 38, June 1999

US-Russia Statement on Nuclear Disarmament Issues

'Joint Statement between the United States and the Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive and Defensive Arms and Further Strengthening of Stability,' official White House text; statement at the G-8 summit in Cologne, Germany, 20 June 1999

"Confirming their dedication to the cause of strengthening strategic stability and international security, stressing the importance of further reduction of strategic offensive arms, and recognizing the fundamental importance of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) for the attainment of these goals, the United States of America and the Russian Federation declare their determination to continue efforts directed at achieving meaningful results in these areas.

The two governments believe that strategic stability can be strengthened only if there is compliance with existing agreements between the Parties on limitation and reduction of arms. The two governments will do everything in their power to facilitate the successful completion of the START II ratification processes in both countries.

The two governments reaffirm their readiness, expressed in Helsinki in March 1997, to conduct new negotiations on strategic offensive arms aimed at further reducing for each side the level of strategic nuclear warheads, elaborating measures of transparency concerning existing strategic nuclear warheads and their elimination, as well as other agreed technical and organizational measures in order to contribute to the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid build-up in the numbers of warheads and to contribute through all this to the strengthening of strategic stability in the world. The two governments will strive to accomplish the important task of achieving results in these negotiations as early as possible.

Proceeding from the fundamental significance of the ABM Treaty for further reductions in strategic offensive arms, and from the need to maintain the strategic balance between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, the Parties reaffirm their commitment to that Treaty, which is a cornerstone of strategic stability, and to continuing efforts to strengthen the Treaty, to enhance its viability and effectiveness in the future.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation, recalling their concern about the proliferation in the world of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including missiles and missile technologies, expressed by them in the Joint Statement on Common Security Challenges at the Threshold of the Twenty First Century, adopted on September 2, 1998 in Moscow, stress their common desire to reverse that process using to this end the existing and possible new international legal mechanisms.

In this regard, both Parties affirm their existing obligations under Article XIII of the ABM Treaty to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the ABM Treaty and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing the viability of this Treaty.

The Parties emphasize that the package of agreements signed on 26 September, 1997 in New York is important under present conditions for the effectiveness of the ABM Treaty, and they will facilitate the earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements.

The implementation of measures to exchange data on missile launches and on early warning and to set up an appropriate joint center, recorded in the Joint Statement by the Presidents of the United States of America and the Russian Federation signed on 2 September, 1998 in Moscow, will also promote the strengthening of strategic stability.

Discussions on START III and the ABM Treaty will begin later this summer. The two governments express their confidence that implementation of this Joint Statement will be a new significant step to enhance strategic stability and the security of both nations."

Briefing by National Security Advisor

'Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Sandy Berger,' The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Cologne, 20 June 1999

"Let me give you a report on the Yeltsin-Clinton meeting, which just broke up. It lasted about an hour. It was a very good meeting, very constructive, very positive, and I believe very productive. ...

They agreed essentially that our two countries have gone through a difficult period through the Kosovo war, Kosovo conflict. It put substantial strains on our relationship, but it was now time to turn to the future, to put that behind us, to cooperate on the peace, and to spend the remaining period of President Yeltsin's term and President Clinton's term getting things done for the United States and for Russia.

In that connection, President Yeltsin asked that the Gore-Stepashin Commission... - the commission the Vice President has had for a number of years with the Russian Prime Minister - be renewed, because it is such a productive channel. And the President agreed, and I suspect that Prime Minister Stepashin will be coming to the United States sometime in the summer. ...

On the arms control area...the two Presidents agreed on a number of elements. Number one, President Yeltsin said that they remain committed to START II; this is something Prime Minister Stepashin had said yesterday. I believe it was Foreign Minister Ivanov [who] said he did not believe it was likely or possible for that to happen before the Duma leaves for the summer, but it is something they will return to.

At the same time, the two Presidents agreed that they will resume discussions on START III and on the ABM Treaty in the fall. Now, this is very significant because for the first time the Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM Treaty that may be necessitated by a national missile defense system were we to decide to deploy one. At the same time, we've indicated that we will continue the discussions that have been going on at an expert level on what a START III package might look like - these are not really negotiations, these are essentially consultations or discussions preliminary to negotiations on START III, so that if START II is ratified the two sides will be able to move very swiftly towards a formal START III negotiation.

And President Yeltsin said he wanted the ministers to report back to the Presidents by 30 July; that if we left things only to the experts, nothing would get done, and he wanted to maintain personal control of this. ..."

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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