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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 53, December 2000 - January 2001

US-Russia MOU on Missile Launches

'Factsheet on the Russian-American Memorandum of Understanding on Notifications of Missile Launches,' Russian Foreign Ministry Document 1486-16-12-2000, December 16, 2000.

"On December 16, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Notifications of Missile Launches. The system therein provided of notifications of the missile launches being prepared or already made widens the scope of notification activity and supplements the currently operating procedure of notifications in accordance with the realities of today. It is to be established on the basis of a Moscow-based Joint Center for the Exchange of Data from Early Warning Systems and Notification of Missile Launches and envisages the use of modern computer technologies. In addition, a technical capacity is to be set into it for its transformation in the future into an international multilateral system of notifications (the system architecture is designed for 200 users). The objective is the consolidation of strategic stability, security and mutual confidence, minimizing the consequences of false missile attack warnings and the reduction of a risk of missile launches on account of such warnings.

The signing of the Memorandum with the United States has completed the big two-year work on the realization of the September 2, 1998, joint statement of the Russian and US presidents on the exchange of information on missile launches and early warning.

The new regime for notifications is an important element of Russia's program of measures to maintain strategic stability, a striking example of the implementation of an approach to solving the problem of the spread of missiles and missile technologies on the basis of cooperation and the priority use of political methods. The technical aspects of the notifications, as detailed in the Memorandum, are a serious contribution to Russia's 'idea box' for establishing a Global System of Control over the Non-Proliferation of Missiles and Missile Technologies. Discussing the GSC-envisaged international system of notifications of missile launches can now be based on real technical expertise."

Albright/Ivanov Statements

'Signing of US-Russia Pre-Launch Notification Ceremony, Brussels, Belgium,' US Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, December 16.

"Secretary of State Albright: 'This document establishes a pre- and post-launch notification system for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. It greatly expands prior notification regimes. The MOU complements an agreement on the sharing of early warning information signed by Presidents Clinton and Putin last June. The result will be deeper confidence and greater strategic stability between our two nations, which translates into a safer and more secure world. Under our agreement, both the United States and Russia will invite the participation of other interested countries in the missile and space launch notification system we have agreed upon today. This reflects the fact that proliferation is a threat to every nation, and that contributing to stability is every nation's responsibility. ... Over the past decade, Russia and the United States have done much to put the legacy of the Cold War behind us. And I am pleased that we have been able to take another important step in that direction today.'

Foreign Minister Ivanov: 'It is symbolic that this document has been signed here in Europe. As Secretary of State Albright has just noted, imbedded in this document, in this system, is a technical capability of its conversion into future in a multilateral regime of notification. And we hope that Europeans, similar to other interested states, would get...enrolled into this regime which could form a basis for further development of proposals on the establishment of the global system for the control of the non-proliferation of missile technologies. All these efforts are aimed at strengthening the strategic stability on a global scale and at preventing any future possible threats both to the United States, to Russia and indeed to the entire world.'"

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.