Text Only | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports
back to the acronym home page
WMD Possessors
About Acronym

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 60, September 2001

Documents & Sources

Speech by Russian Foreign Minister

'Statement by Igor S. Ivanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the 56th session of the UN General Assembly September 24, 2001,' Russian Foreign Ministry transcript.

"This session of the United Nations General Assembly has begun its work under tragic circumstances. These days, the entire civilized world shares the grief of the American people. We also mourn for all those who fell victim to terrorists in different parts of the globe. In the modern interrelated and interdependent world of the globalisation era, the pain of bereavement is our common feeling, regardless of where a terrorist attack may occur. ...

Developing a kind of international law that is sensitive to the changing world calls for joint coordinated efforts, while any unilateral actions in a world where destinies of countries, peoples and individuals are getting increasingly intertwined will only erode the rule of law, thus compromising the international community's capacity to efficiently address emerging and ever more dangerous challenges. A state's prestige among the nations should be measured not by its military or economic might, but rather by its ability to responsibly fulfil its international obligations.

In the military sphere, the priority task is to strengthen strategic stability as the critical component of international security. We appreciate the Secretary-General's concern, expressed in the [Annual] Report [to the General Assembly], over the continuing growth of global military expenditures and the low level of international cooperation in disarmament.

Fully aware of its role in ensuring international security, the Russian Federation has put forward a detailed realistic program to enhance strategic stability and expedite the disarmament process. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has called upon the five nuclear powers and Permanent Members of the UN Security Council to initiate a consultation process on nuclear disarmament and strategic stability.

We reaffirm our proposal to the United States on a coordinated reduction of strategic offensive weapons down to 1,500 nuclear warheads for each party by the year 2008, possibly followed by further reduction. It should be recalled that in 1990, i.e. as of the end of the Cold War, the aggregate strategic nuclear arsenals of the USSR and the USA alone amounted to 20,834 warheads. This initiative, if implemented, would both help consolidate global stability and significantly boost the joint efforts to build a new strategic relationship between Russia and the United States. This would also be an unprecedented breakthrough in nuclear disarmament and a strong incentive to enhance the regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to make the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty universal.

Preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space forms an important part of the set of measures designed to ensure strategic stability. It is our common duty before succeeding generations to keep outer space peaceful through joint efforts. Russia invites the world community to start working out a comprehensive agreement on the non-deployment of weapons in outer space and on the non-use or threat of force against space objects. In particular, the agreement could contain the following elements:

  • outer space should be used in conformity with international law in the interests of maintaining peace and security;
  • an obligation not to place in the orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner;
  • an obligation not to use or threaten to use force against space objects;
  • a provision establishing a verification mechanism overseeing the implementation of the agreement on the basis of confidence-building measures and transparency in outer-space matters.

As the first practical step in this direction, a moratorium could be declared on the deployment of weapons in outer space pending a relevant international agreement. Russia would be willing to make such a commitment immediately, provided that the other leading space powers join this moratorium.

In addition to the 'traditional' disarmament agenda, the era of globalisation brings along new challenges to international security, thus raising the number of states involved in disarmament. This includes, among other things, non-proliferation of missile technologies, elimination of chemical and non-development of bacteriological weapons, and blocking the channels of illegal trafficking in small arms and light weapons. In a word, a great deal of disarmament-related issues have piled up that call for a thorough and comprehensive discussion. To that end, the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly on Disarmament appears to be the most appropriate forum, and the Russian Federation actively supports the idea of convening it.

It is clear that the practical implementation of these initiatives will require a responsible and delicate handling of the 1972 ABM Treaty as well as of the whole package of multilateral and bilateral treaties and agreements concluded within the last few decades and constituting the legal framework of the extremely sophisticated disarmament architecture. We have noted that the Report of the Secretary-General encourages the continuation of consultations on these issues aimed at preventing a new arms race."

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.