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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 47, June 2000

NATO Ministerials, May-June
North Atlantic Council (NAC): Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Florence, Italy; Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release M-NAC-1(2000)52, May 24, 2000

"… The Adaptation of the CFE Treaty will ensure the continuing viability of the Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and stability. We are pleased that the Adapted Treaty will permit accession by new States Parties. Allies are now engaged in preparing for the implementation of the Adapted Treaty. We advocate its entry into force at the earliest possible time, but this can only be envisaged in the context of compliance by all States Parties with the Treaty's agreed levels of armaments and equipment, consistent with the commitments contained in the CFE Final Act. We look for early and effective implementation of Russia's commitments to reduce and withdraw its forces from Moldova and Georgia. In this regard, we welcome efforts by Allies and OSCE Partners to provide assistance to facilitate implementation of these commitments.

We remain concerned about the continued high levels of Russian Treaty Limited Equipment in the North Caucasus in relation to the Treaty's Article V ('flank') limits. These levels must be brought into line with Treaty limits, in a manner consistent with agreed counting rules and procedures, if entry into force is to be possible. We have noted Russia's assurances that this breach of CFE limits will be of a temporary nature and expect Russia to honour its pledge to reduce to CFE limits as soon as possible and, in the meantime, to provide maximum transparency regarding its forces and equipment in the North Caucasus. It is on this basis that Allies will continue to work towards bringing the Adapted Treaty into force. Pending the completion of this process, the continued implementation of the existing Treaty and its associated documents remains crucial.

We welcome the ratification of the Treaty on Open Skies by Ukraine. We call on Russia and Belarus to ratify the Treaty to allow it to enter into force as soon as possible.

We continue to attach the utmost importance to full implementation of and compliance with international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), we continue to regard as a matter of priority the conclusion of negotiations on appropriate measures, including possible verification measures and proposals to strengthen the convention, to be included as appropriate in a legally binding instrument. We reiterate our commitment to efforts to achieve such an instrument as soon as possible before the 5th Review Conference of the BTWC in 2001. We are committed to the universalisation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and its full implementation. We are also committed to strengthening the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as an important element in our efforts to counter the proliferation of the means of delivery for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

NATO Allies value the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Alliance nations have dramatically reduced nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and reaffirm their commitment to work for the further reduction of nuclear weapons globally. We welcome the positive outcome of the NPT Review Conference. The Conference agreed on the importance of universal adherence to and compliance with the NPT, and reaffirmed the commitment of all States Parties to disarmament, safeguards and peaceful nuclear co-operation. Allies confirm their commitments made at the NPT Review Conference and will contribute to carrying forward the conclusions reached there.

At the Washington Summit, NATO leaders committed the Alliance to consider options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament, in the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons. At the December 1999 Ministerial meeting, we set this process in train. Today we received a progress report on the consultations that are taking place in the responsible NATO bodies, and welcome the fact that a comprehensive and integrated review is well underway. We look forward to receiving a substantive report for Ministerial consideration in December 2000. We have instructed the Council in Permanent Session to task the Senior Political Committee (Reinforced) to oversee and integrate the work on the process by establishing, as the next step, the framework for this report. NATO's decision to set in train this process further demonstrates Allied commitment to promoting arms control and disarmament and to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.

We welcome the ratification of the START II Treaty by Russia. We attach great importance to the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons. Given the need to reduce the uncertainties surrounding substrategic nuclear weapons in Russia, we believe that a reaffirmation - and perhaps codification - of the 1991/92 Presidential Initiatives might be a first, but not exhaustive, step in this direction. We remain committed to an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and in that context, welcome the Russian Duma and Federation Council's approval of the ratification of the CTBT by Russia. Pending entry into force of the CTBT, we urge all states with nuclear capabilities to abide by a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and refrain from any actions which are contrary to the obligations and provisions of the CTBT. As a matter of priority, we are also committed to the immediate commencement of negotiations on, and the rapid conclusion of a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. We believe that a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices should be observed pending conclusion of these negotiations. We appeal to all states to participate constructively in the Conference on Disarmament and its different activities.

The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory and forces and therefore continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance. The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. In this context, we place great importance on arms control and the non-proliferation and export control regimes as means to prevent proliferation.

Our response to the NBC threat should be consistent with the indivisibility of Allied security. We reaffirm that the Alliance's defence posture must have the capability to address appropriately and effectively the risks associated with the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery. We note continued work in NATO inter alia on Theatre Missile Defence for point and area defence, in particular the decision earlier this year to initiate a feasibility study on a possible system for the defence of deployed NATO forces.

The Alliance has made significant progress in implementing the WMD Initiative approved at the Washington Summit. A WMD Centre has been established and will improve co-ordination of WMD-related activities at NATO Headquarters, as well as strengthen non-proliferation-, arms control-, and disarmament-related political consultations and defence efforts to improve the preparedness of the Alliance to respond to the risks of WMD and their means of delivery. We have enhanced consultations among Allies on disarmament and non-proliferation issues broadly. We have also engaged in renewed consultations with Russia on non-proliferation issues under the Permanent Joint Council, and have likewise held discussions with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. These consultations have enabled us to exchange views on common interests and common objectives in the area of responding to proliferation.

We have launched an active process of consultation within the Alliance on the United States consideration of a possible limited National Missile Defence deployment. We appreciate the comprehensive briefings provided by the United States authorities on this issue as well as the exchange of views among Allies. We welcome the United States' assurance that the views of Allies will be taken into account as they consider their plans further. We will continue to follow closely the US and Russian discussions of START III and the ABM Treaty and trust that the outcome will preserve and strengthen the role of the ABM Treaty, and enable further reductions in US and Russian strategic forces. We instruct the Council in Permanent Session to continue discussion of these issues. …"

US Statement

'Statement by US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council,' text as prepared for delivery, US State Department, May 24.

"During the Cold War, we had no trouble identifying the risks to our security and territory. But the threats we face today and may face tomorrow are less predictable. The ballistic missile threat from states of concern is growing and real. And the dangers posed by all weapons of mass destruction must be dealt with firmly and cooperatively. Our strategy must make optimum use of all available tools, including arms control and non-proliferation measures, diplomatic pressure and military strength.

American and NATO power provide an overwhelming deterrent, but we believe carefully structured and effective defenses can reinforce deterrence against the emerging ballistic missile threat. That is why the United States is developing and testing a limited National Missile Defense system, with a decision on deployment possible later this year.

We have had constructive consultations on this subject within the Alliance and with Moscow. President Clinton's decision will take into account cost, threat, technological feasibility, and a range of other national security factors, including the impact on relations with our NATO and Pacific allies, as well as Russia and China.

We look forward to continuing our consultations with you on a regular basis. And let me be absolutely clear about two points. First, whether or not the United States goes forward with a national missile defense system, there will be no de-coupling, no reducing America's enduring commitment to this Alliance, its citizens and territory. Second, we remain committed to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and believe the changes we have proposed will only strengthen it, by adapting it to meet 21st Century dangers.'

There should be no doubt about the Clinton Administration's ongoing commitment to arms control. Over the past eleven years, we have dismantled 60 percent of our nuclear weapons, and provided more than $5 billion to reduce the nuclear danger in the former Soviet Union. And we have agreed with Russia on a START III framework that would cut our nuclear arsenals to 80 per cent below Cold War peaks."

Statement by Canada

'Notes for an address by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the North Atlantic Council Meeting,' Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade transcript 2000/25, May 24.

"Today, I will comment particularly on the Alliance's contribution to arms control and disarmament…

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference made very encouraging progress last week in New York. At that Conference, we all made commitments to take practical steps to implement the Treaty. The nuclear-weapons states made particular undertakings, but there are obligations for us all.

As the world's pre-eminent security Alliance, we have a leadership role to play in realizing the promise of New York. Our ongoing review of NATO's non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament policies should set our agenda for doing so. First and foremost, we welcome the unequivocal undertaking by the NWS to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. This should be our headline goal. However, we must ask ourselves what the members of this Alliance can do to help make this decision happen. The concluding document of the Review Conference outlined a number of practical steps for the NWS, including:

  1. efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals unilaterally;
  2. increased transparency with regard to their nuclear capabilities;
  3. the further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons;
  4. concrete measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons;
  5. a diminished role for nuclear weapons in our security policies; and
  6. the eventual engagement of all nuclear weapons states in the nuclear disarmament process.
We in NATO who live under the protection of the nuclear umbrella also have an obligation to support and work with the NATO NWS on these steps. We must all make our nuclear posture in NATO coherent with our non-proliferation and disarmament posture in New York and Geneva. We need to examine our own policy statements from the perspective on non-proliferation, and ask ourselves what further measures we can take to build confidence, to increase transparency and to advance disarmament.

In particular, we need to meet the challenge of reducing the political value that our own alliance ascribes to the possession of nuclear weapons, if we are to continue to convince others that they should not acquire nuclear arsenals of their own. In the NPT and in the Conference on Disarmament, we are confronted regularly with the argument that if nuclear weapons are good for NATO, then they are good for others too.

The contradiction in our declaration policy undermines the credibility of our non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. Last year in Washington, the Alliance declared that the salience of nuclear weapons has been reduced. This review process should demonstrate that NATO truly believes this to be the case.

Can we move a step further and say that the only purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter other nuclear weapons? Can existing nuclear arsenals not be made safer through greater recourse to de-alerting and de-mating? Can we not be more transparent about how many nuclear gravity bombs we have left, and where they are located? Can NATO not unilaterally reduce the number of remaining bombs further, and call for proportional parallel action by the Russian Federation? Could we not take these sorts of measures to increase confidence with others, especially Russia, in order to pave the way for greater Russian openness on their huge sub-strategic stockpiles? Could we not encourage a codification of the 1991-1992 Russia-US commitments regarding the reduction and dismantlement of sub-strategic weapons? In deepening our dialogue with Russia on nuclear forces, could we not consider a limited data exchange on the explosive power, number and location of nuclear weapons? This could serve as a good confidence-building measure. Could we not do more with Russia to share information on early warnings of missile launches? Can we not promote a more inclusive arrangement to control the proliferation of ballistic missile technology? And, if we are considering greater transparency with Russia, what about our own publics and other countries? Should we not prepare a new comprehensive public statement of the Alliance's arms control and disarmament policies that is relevant for today and tomorrow, rather than for yesterday?

I urge you to regard our review process as an opportunity to seriously reflect on the questions I have posed. In the last decade, NATO has done a great deal to advance arms control and disarmament. We need to ask ourselves what we will do for the next decade. The outcome of the NPT Review Conference provides a road map for where we need to go. Now, we need to find the political will to follow it.

National Missile Defence

One of the four criteria President Clinton established for informing an NMD deployment decision was the impact on national security, including the views of the Allies. It is appropriate, therefore, that we use this last meeting of NATO at the Ministerial level before the President's potential decision to discuss the issue among us.

NMD raises serious issues for all of us. Our security - Canada's Europe's, and that of the United States - is a direct function of global strategic stability. The lynch-pin of this stability is the ABM Treaty. Russian-US discussions continue with little sign that the Russians are willing to amend the Treaty at this time. This situation raises the spectre of Treaty abrogation, and the potentially highly destabilizing reactions that this could set in motion - in Russia and China, and possibly in India and Pakistan as well. A new arms race could be set in motion, one that would undermine the stability that we have all come to take for granted. We have to weigh a possible threat against an established and potentially worse one. Doing this is a major challenge.

I am encouraged that the US wishes to take into account the views of its Allies in NATO. After all, the security of us all is at stake. I would appeal to the United States to take all the time it needs to fully explore the implications of a decision on NMD deployment, especially one taken unilaterally, to fully address the potential impact on the international security system, and to find a way forward that advances the security of the United States and all of its NATO Allies."

Other Comment

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, May 24: "Belgium is, above all, preoccupied with the cohesion of the Alliance and trans-Atlantic solidarity, on which the NMD plan has the potential of weighing heavily."

Source: Christopher Bollinghaus, NATO Notes, Volume 2, number 1, Centre for European Security and Disarmament (CESD), June 5.

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, May 24: "Take care that there is no disproportion between the threats [from rogue states] and the strategic consequences [of NMD]…"

Source: NATO Notes, Volume 2, number 1, June 5.

Defence Planning Committee (DPC) & Nuclear Planning Group (NPG): Defence Ministers' Meeting

Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee & Nuclear Planning Group, Brussels; Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release M-DPC/NPG-1(2000)59, June 8, 2000

"7. At our Nuclear Planning Group meeting, we reviewed the status of NATO's nuclear forces and a number of related activities. We are satisfied that NATO's reduced nuclear force posture fully complies with the Alliance's Strategic Concept. NATO's nuclear forces are a credible and effective element of the Allies' strategy of preventing war, and they are maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability. We are assured that the Allies' nuclear weapons and their storage continue to meet the highest standards of safety and security.

8. We welcome the positive outcome of the recent Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and affirm our commitments made at the Conference. NATO Allies are also committed to the immediate commencement and the rapid conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

9. We welcome the ratification of the START II Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by Russia. Both are important steps towards even deeper reductions and, ultimately, the elimination of nuclear weapons on a global scale. We look forward to the implementation of START II and assure the United States and the Russian Federation of our full support for their negotiations on the basis of an agreed START III framework which would cut the arsenals of deployed strategic nuclear warheads by 80 per cent from Cold War peaks. We renew our call upon Russia to bring to completion the reductions in its tactical nuclear weapons announced in 1991 and 1992, and to review further its much larger tactical nuclear weapons stockpile with a view towards making additional significant reductions.

10. We received a report on ongoing activities in support of broader work in the Alliance regarding options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament.

11. We welcome the prospects for renewed exchanges between NATO and the Russian Federation on a range of nuclear weapons issues, under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council."

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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