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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 45, April 2000

Ivanov-Albright Discussions

Official visit to Washington by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Igor Ivanov, April 24-27, 2000

Russian Statement

Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 364-28-4-2000, April 28

"In the course of his…official visit to the US, Russian Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov held several rounds of intensive talks with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Based on the results of the talks, the two sides noted their mutual commitment to increasing the positive potential of Russian-US relations and expanding constructive interaction in international and bilateral affairs. They stressed the importance of the forthcoming Russian-US summit in Moscow scheduled for the beginningxof June.

The sides paid most attention to the strengthening of international security and stability with a focus on START/ABM treaties. Ivanov stressed that the ratification by the Russian Federal Assembly of the START II Treaty and the 1997 New York ABM agreements created favorable prerequisites for furthering the disarmament process and making deeper cuts in strategic weapons, while preserving the 1972 ABM Treaty intact. He noted the danger of US plans to deploy a national anti-missile defense. The sides agreed to continue consultations on these issues. …"

Press Conference

'Remarks by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at joint press availability with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov,' US Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, April 27

Remarks by Secretary Albright

"… We've had much to talk about in these past two days, and although we do not agree on all issues, as I told the Foreign Minister, this is only to be expected. … In truth, we had some very in-depth conversations about subjects that are at the heart of our bilateral relationship, as we prepare for the meeting of our Presidents in June. We obviously spent a lot of time on issues of non-proliferation and arms control.

Both the United States and Russia recognize a responsibility to reduce the threats posed to our own citizens and to world peace by weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that can deliver them. Accordingly, the Foreign Minister and I devoted much of our time to strategic arms control, and I congratulated him on the Duma's recent approval of [the] START II and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaties. I also expressed American determination to continue working with Russia to promote nuclear stability through further mutual reductions in our arsenals and through preserving the ABM Treaty by adapting it to meet 21st century needs.

We also discussed the need to stem the flow of sensitive technology to countries that could threaten both our nations. To this end, we have made significant progress, but ongoing vigilance and further concrete steps are required. …

As we saw again during these meetings, the United States and Russia have a broad range of important business to conduct, and we can do so in a businesslike and productive manner. President Clinton told Minister Ivanov that he is looking forward to his summit with President-elect Putin in that spirit. And I believe that our discussions this week have gone far to preparing the ground for that very important event."

Remarks by Minister Ivanov

"…Special attention in this connection was paid to the preparations for the forthcoming summit meeting in Moscow between President Putin and President of the United States Clinton. Both sides are resolved to do their utmost for the Moscow Summit to become a major event in Russian-American relations, conducive to strengthened international security and stability, and a constructive development of interaction between our two countries. We will have a very busy time to prepare this agenda.

As Madame Albright mentioned, an important place in this work belongs to the issues related to strategic stability. After the ratification of the package of agreements on START II and the ABM in 1997, as well as the CTBT, favorable opportunities open for our interaction in this area, including timely initiation of negotiations without delay on further deep cuts of strategic offensive arms within START III. We expect that the US side would ratify a similar package of instruments, and this wish was made known yesterday during my meeting with senators.

At the same time, quite naturally, there are certain differences of view, sometimes considerable differences, having to do with the plans to deploy in United States the National Missile Defense System. These issues were discussed in detail both at the State Department and at the Pentagon. We believe, and it has been stressed at the highest level, the ABM Treaty…should remain a cornerstone of the strategic stability and the basis for strategic stability in the world. We are confident that this corresponds to the interests of both Russia and the United States of America.

In this connection, during the consultations in Washington, the Russian side proposed an alternative program of action that would enable, in our view, us to adequately respond to new threats related inter alia to the threat of the proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. Of principal importance is to address those issues on the basis of dialogue and taking into account [our] mutual interests… The Russian side is fully prepared for it. …"

Questions-and-Answers

"Question: 'Madame Secretary, if I understand what the Foreign Minister…said yesterday correctly, the demarcation agreement of 1997 on the kind of missile tests that would be permissible - both sides agree - under the ABM Treaty could be a basis for resolving this dispute over anti-missile defenses. And I was at that meeting and the US was ecstatic with the results of the meeting. Apparently, the US got everything approved that it wanted approved. Is there a basis now, or at least are you closer to getting around this problem? And if you don't mind me tagging on one little thing: is Senator Jesse Helms a new problem for you?'

Albright: '… Let me say on the demarcation, we were very - are very - pleased with what it did. And it is a very important agreement. But what it does is deal with the issue of shorter range missiles. And we have a new problem. That is the issue. It does not deal with intercontinental ballistic missiles, and that is our concern about how we deal with the new threats. We have spoken before, and we did again during this meeting, about cooperating on theater missile defense, and we think that it can supplement but it is not sufficient for dealing with the problems that we have. And so I think we will continue to talk about it.

As far as what was said yesterday from the Hill, I believe that the American people support a policy that seeks to both further reduce nuclear dangers left over from the Cold War and to address new threats. And we are going to continue to pursue this policy in the months ahead.

I don't think we can take a pause for the rest of the year in defending US national interests, because neither the threats are taking a pause, nor would it be suitable for us not to be concerned about national interests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the end of this Administration. So I disagree with what Senator Helms said yesterday [note: see below for text].'

Question: '… [Secretary Albright,] can you imagine the future when the United States build up its new defense system but Russia withdraw from all the military treaties? If yes, how can you see such a future?'

Albright: 'Well, I am hoping that, as a result of what will be continued discussions…we will not be in that kind of a position, because I think that we have a great deal that we need to do together and we will continue to have very intensive discussions. We are very involved in analyzing the various problems. I think we had very, very good and productive meetings here and so I would hope that we could continue to talk intensively.'

Question: 'Madame Albright, is it possible for the United States to build a limited National Missile Defense, such as the one that's been thought of in Alaska with about 100 interceptors, without bringing this before the US Senate for approval, to allow Jesse Helms to oppose it in his way?'

Albright: 'I think that, obviously, we want to have support for this agreement but, first, we have to get it. And we are going to be involved in intensive discussions. And as I said, I believe the American people want us to end some of the problems that were left over from the Cold War and deal with the new threats, and that's what we are doing. And I think that we are following what the American people basically want.' …

Question: '… Foreign Minister Ivanov, you mentioned that you wanted the United States to ratify a similar package of documents to those approved in Moscow. Do you mean ratification of the CTBT, or is there a wider array of demands that you have?'

Ivanov: 'I would like to remind you that Russia ratified the START II Treaty and ratified agreements on the ABM of 1997. Also, the CTBT has been ratified. I think that the ratification of all of these instruments in the United States would serve the interests of the United States and the interests of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the interests of the further reduction of strategic offensive arms.' …

Question: 'I have a question for both. Mr. Minister, the first question to you. The new Russian military doctrine actually says that Russia can use nuclear weapons if all other means did not work, plus it actually extends the nuclear umbrella towards its allies - without defining who the allies are. So who are the allies of Russia? That's first. And what kind of influence will this new doctrine have on…international stability? And Mrs. Secretary of State, I wanted to ask you if…this was the topic of this discussions in Washington. And what's your opinion; what kind of impact will it have on…international stability?'

Ivanov: 'As far as our new military doctrine is concerned, it is based on the concept of national security which takes into account the prevailing realities of the world. Unfortunately, last year, in connection with the action by NATO, in connection with the new concept of NATO that was adopted by it, with the increased threat from the international terrorism, and due to other challenges, we had to take certain measures that ensured our national interests, that would ensure the defense capability of my country. Thus, the changes introduced to our military doctrine. It does not mean that nuclear weapons would be used as weapons of attack. The nuclear weapons would be used in the event when the national interest, the security of Russia, would be put at danger. As far as the allies that you mentioned, this is an issue that will be considered in each particular case, and I'm not able to discuss any particular countries now.'

Albright: 'Let me say that we did not specifically discuss this issue but, from our perspective, NATO - and the enlarged NATO - is not an offensive alliance; it is a defensive alliance and is based on the idea that there is a community that wants to be a part of it. And that is something that we have talked about, is what the enlargement of NATO has meant for Russia. It is not an anti-Russian alliance. Also, I would like to say that one of the things that we have been talking about is what the new threats are and how they should be dealt with, which is why we are proposing the National Missile Defense and also deep cuts in nuclear weapons. That is the way we think it is appropriate to deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century.'"

Note: on April 25, Ivanov met President Clinton for talks dominated by arms control issues. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ivanov remarked: "Our position is that security will be better protected if the [ABM] Treaty is kept intact. … [W]e are ready to listen to any suggestions… It is important to look for solutions on a basis of political dialogue." According to Mike Hammer, a spokesperson for the President's National Security Council: "We continue to make our case to Russia on why this system does not in any way pose a threat to Russia but rather is aimed at threats from rogue states, and [this is] something we believe they'll come to understand as we continue to make clear to them what our intentions are in our efforts to preserve the ABM Treaty…" (Russian diplomat talks with Clinton, Associated Press, April 25; Ivanov urges Clinton to keep ABM pact intact, Reuters, April 25.)

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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