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Press Conference, White House transcript, Helsinki, 21 March 1997
Statement by President Clinton
"... Here in Helsinki we have addressed three fundamental challenges: first, building an undivided, democratic and peaceful Europe for the first time in history; second, continuing to lead the world away from the nuclear threat; and third, forging new ties of trade and investment that will help Russia to complete its remarkable transformation to a market economy and will bring greater prosperity to both our peoples.
A Europe undivided and democratic must be a secure Europe. NATO is the bedrock of Europe's security and the tie that binds the United States to that security. That is why the United States has led the way in adapting NATO to new missions, in opening its doors to new members, in strengthening its ties to non-members through the Partnership for Peace, in seeking to forge a strong, practical partnership between NATO and Russia. We are building a new NATO just as the Russian people are building a new Russia. I am determined that Russia will become a respected partner with NATO in making the future for all of Europe peaceful and secure.
I reaffirmed that NATO enlargement at the Madrid summit will proceed and President Yeltsin made it clear that he thinks it's a mistake. But we also have an important and, I believe, overriding agreement. We agreed that the relationship between the United States and Russia and the benefits of cooperation between NATO and Russia are too important to be jeopardized.
We didn't come here expecting to change each other's mind about our disagreement, but we both did come here hoping to find a way of shifting the accent from our disagreement to the goals, the tasks and the opportunities we share. And we have succeeded.
President Yeltsin and I agree that NATO Secretary General Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Primakov should try to complete negotiations on a NATO-Russian document in the coming weeks. It would include a forum for regular consultations that would allow NATO and Russia to work and to act together as we are doing today in Bosnia. It would demonstrate that a new Russia and a new NATO are partners, not adversaries, in bringing a brighter future to Europe.
We also agreed that our negotiators and those of the other 28 participating states should accelerate their efforts in Vienna to adapt the CFE treaty to the post-Cold War era by setting new limits on conventional forces.
The second area of our discussion involved our obligation to continue to lead the world away from the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. We have already taken important steps. We signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. We extended a nonproliferation treaty. We stopped targeting each other's cities and citizens. We put START I into force. And we're both committed to securing ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention before it goes into force next month, so that we can finally begin to banish poison gas from the Earth.
Today, President Yeltsin agreed to seek the Duma's prompt ratification of START II, already ratified by the United States Senate. But we will not stop there. The United States is prepared to open negotiations on further strategic arms cuts with Russia under a START III immediately after the Duma ratifies START II. President Yeltsin and I agreed on guidelines for START III negotiations that will cap at 2,000 to 2,500 the number of strategic nuclear warheads each of our countries would retain, and to finish the reductions of START III by the year 2007.
Now, think about it. This means that within a decade we will have reduced both sides' strategic nuclear arsenals by 80 percent below their Cold War peak of just five years ago.
We also reached agreement in our work to preserve the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, a cornerstone of our arms control efforts. Distinguishing between ballistic missile systems restricted by the ABM treaty and theater missile defenses that are not restricted has been a very difficult issue to resolve. Today, after three years of negotiations, we agreed to preserve the ABM treaty while giving each of us the ability to develop defenses against theater missiles. ..."
Statement by President Yeltsin
"... Five joint statements have been signed as a result of our meeting. President Bill Clinton and I just concluded signing these - on European security, on parameters of future reductions in nuclear forces, concerning the ABM missile treaty, on chemical weapons, and we also signed a US-Russian economic initiative. ...
But we have not merely stated our positions. We view the signed statements with the US President as a program of our joint action aimed to develop Russian-American partnership. I would say that emotions sometimes get the upper hand in assessing Russian-American partnership. This is not the approach that Bill and I have. Let's not forget that establishing the Russian-American partnership relations is a very complex process. We want to overcome that which divided us for decades. We want to do away with the past mistrust and animosity. We cannot accomplish this immediately. We need to be decisive and patient. And we have both with Bill Clinton.
I firmly believe that we will be able to resolve all issues which, for the time being, are still outstanding. Today's meeting with Bill convinced me of this once again. We will be doing this consistently, step by step. We will have enough patience and decisiveness. ..."
"Question: 'Boris Nikolayevich, our first impression is that there was no breakthrough on NATO here in Helsinki. Tell me, can there be some kind of movement forward before the Madrid summit?'
President Yeltsin: 'I don't agree with you. It was today that we had progress, very principled progress, and they consist of the following - that, yes, indeed, we do maintain our positions. We believe that the eastward expansion of NATO is a mistake and a serious one at that. Nevertheless, in order to minimize the negative consequences for Russia, we decided to sign an agreement with NATO, a Russia-NATO agreement. And this is the principal question here. We've agreed on the parameters of this document with President Bill Clinton.
This is the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, to those new members of NATO to not proliferate conventional weapons in these countries. We agreed on non-use of the military infrastructure which remained in place after the Warsaw Pact in these countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The decision of joint actions with Russia alone, this, too, will be included in the agreement with NATO.
And finally, we've come to an agreement that this document will be binding for all. ...'
Question: 'President Clinton, it is known that in your Congress there's some criticism frequently that you are a supporter of the ABM treaty. Today's meeting, did that convince you to strengthen the ABM treaty?'
President Clinton: 'Some people have criticized me in my Congress because I do support the ABM treaty. Yes, that's accurate; they have. I do support the ABM treaty. I think it's important. I believe in it. And we have, I believe, strengthened the chances that the ABM treaty will survive by the agreement we have made today and the distinctions we have drawn between the missiles that are covered by the ABM treaty and by theater defense missiles. I believe that very strongly.
There are those in the Congress of the United States, but they are not a majority - let me emphasize, they are not a majority - who would undermine the ABM treaty because they don't believe it's in our interest. I believe they're wrong. I believe that the ABM treaty has served us well and will continue to serve us well, especially in view of the questions that we have clarified today between us.'
Question: '... Boris Nikolayevich, you said that this meeting started a new phase for these US-Russian relations. What precisely new was introduced into these relations?'
President Yeltsin: 'Well, first of all, we finally were able to determine our positions on issues of European security. We've come to settle our position on NATO, and we have described for ourselves the parameters of the NATO-Russia agreement.
Secondly, there's an unprecedented reduction of nuclear weapons, that is of START III. That's 85 percent of the overall arsenal of warheads is being reduced in connection with that. That is significant. ...'
President Clinton: 'If I might support that question, because I think that's a question all the Americans and all the Russians and others will be interested in. What came out of this meeting that was different. One, the idea that there will be a NATO-Russia agreement that all the leaders will support. That's a significant thing. We agreed to disagree about the question of expansion, but we agreed that there must be a partnership between NATO and Russia going forward into the future.
Two, the notion that Russia should play a larger role in international economic institutions, and that if certain internal changes are made, which President Yeltsin has already announced his support for, then the United States will make a more vigorous effort to facilitate investment in Russia.
And, third - and I think almost unexpected even among us, we were working along here hoping this would happen - we resolved a number of roadblocks relating to START II and other related issues which permitted us to say that President Yeltsin would seek prompt ratification of START II and we would together support guidelines for START III, which we would hope could be negotiated quickly after that, which would reduce the Cold War arsenals by over 80 percent from the Cold War height, to more or less 80 percent. These are dramatic and very substantial results, and I'm very pleased with them.'
President Yeltsin: 'Just a moment, I'd like to continue for a second longer. You've touched on a very current issue which has to be clarified all the way.
Well, you understand, of course, why is it that the State Duma has not yet ratified START II - because ABM was suspended. There was no belief that the treaty from '92 on ABM is not only being complied with by the Russian administration, but in the future conditions are being created which would not allow circumvention of the treaty.
In other words, we, for the State Duma, were able to prepare grounds so that the Duma could positively look at ratifying START II.'"
Nuclear arms control
Joint Statement on Future Nuclear Reductions
'Joint Statement On Parameters On Future Reductions In Nuclear Forces,' White House text, Helsinki, 21 March 1997
"Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin underscore that, with the end of the Cold War, major progress has been achieved with regard to strengthening strategic stability and nuclear security. Both the United States and Russia are significantly reducing their nuclear forces. Important steps have been taken to detarget strategic missiles. The START I Treaty has entered into force, and its implementation is ahead of schedule. Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine are nuclear-weapon free. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was indefinitely extended on 11 May, 1995 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed by both the United States and Russia on 24 September, 1996.
In another historic step to promote international peace and security, President Clinton and President Yeltsin hereby reaffirm their commitment to take further concrete steps to reduce the nuclear danger and strengthen strategic stability and nuclear security. The Presidents have reached an understanding on further reductions in and limitations on strategic offensive arms that will substantially reduce the roles and risks of nuclear weapons as we move forward into the next century. Recognizing the fundamental significance of the ABM Treaty for these objectives, the Presidents have, in a separate joint statement, given instructions on demarcation between ABM systems and theater missile defense systems, which will allow for deployment of effective theater missile defenses and prevent circumvention of the ABM Treaty.
With the foregoing in mind, President Clinton and President Yeltsin have reached the following understandings.
Once START II enters into force, the United States and Russia will immediately begin negotiations on a START III agreement, which will include, among other things, the following basic components:
* Establishment, by 31 December, 2007, of lower aggregate levels of 2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear warheads for each of the parties.
* Measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads and any other jointly agreed technical and organizational measures, to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid increase in the number of warheads.
* Resolving issues related to the goal of making the current START treaties unlimited in duration.
* Placement in a deactivated status of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles which will be eliminated under START II by 31 December, 2003, by removing their nuclear warheads or taking other jointly agreed steps. The United States is providing assistance through the Nunn-Lugar program to facilitate early deactivation.
The Presidents have reached an understanding that the deadline for the elimination of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles under the START II Treaty will be extended to 31 December, 2007. The sides will agree on specific language to be submitted to the Duma and, following Duma approval of START II, to be submitted to the United States Senate.
In this context, the Presidents underscore the importance of prompt ratification of the START II Treaty by the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
The Presidents also agreed that in the context of START III negotiations their experts will explore, as separate issues, possible measures relating to nuclear long-range sea-launched cruise missiles and tactical nuclear systems, to include appropriate confidence-building and transparency measures.
Taking into account all the understandings outlined above, and recalling their statement of 10 May, 1995, the Presidents agreed the sides will also consider the issues related to transparency in nuclear materials."
'Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces,' White House Fact Sheet, Helsinki, 21 March 1997
"In an historic step, President Clinton and President Yeltsin today issued a Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces, reaffirming their shared commitment to further reduce the nuclear danger and strengthen strategic stability and nuclear security.
President Clinton has led the effort to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons to all Americans. Today's statement builds on a record of unprecedented progress during the President's first term in curbing the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that deliver them, and in reducing the dangerous legacy of Cold War weapons' stockpiles. Over the past four years, the Administration has reached agreement with Russia to detarget US and Russian missiles, so that no Russian missiles are pointed at American cities; secured the entry into force of the START I Treaty and the complete denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine; secured the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
In today's Joint Statement, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin underscored the importance of prompt ratification of the START II Treaty by the State Duma of the Russian Federation and reached an understanding to begin negotiations on START III immediately once START II enters into force.
The Presidents also reached an understanding that START III will establish by 31 December, 2007 a ceiling of 2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear weapons for each of the parties, representing a 30-45 percent reduction in the number of total deployed strategic warheads permitted under START II and more than a 65 percent reduction in the number of total deployed strategic warheads permitted under START I.
In an important new development promoting the irreversibility of deep reductions, the Presidents agreed that START III will be the first strategic arms control agreement to include measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads. The Presidents also agreed the sides will consider the issues related to transparency in nuclear materials.
In response to Russian concerns over the dismantlement costs of bombers, missile silos and submarines, the Presidents agreed to extend the START II deadline for eliminations to 31 December, 2007 subject to the approval of the Russian Duma and United States Senate. To reduce the extension of the period during which nuclear forces are above START II levels, all systems scheduled for elimination under START II will be deactivated by removing their nuclear warheads or taking other jointly agreed steps by December 31, 2003. The US is providing Nunn-Lugar assistance to facilitate early deactivation and the elimination of strategic offensive arms in Russia. Through fiscal year 1996, that assistance has totaled $230 million. An additional $60 million is planned for this fiscal year.
To further underscore that the United States and Russia are committed to a permanent reduction in the nuclear threat, the Presidents also agreed to the goal of making the current START Treaties unlimited in duration.
In addition, the Presidents agreed to explore possible measures relating to long-range nuclear sea-launched cruise missiles and tactical nuclear systems. These discussions will take place separate from, but in the context of, the START III negotiations.
These steps will allow President Clinton, working together with President Yeltsin, to build on the important progress already achieved and shape a world that is safer and more secure for Americans, Russians and all peoples."
Joint statement on ABM Treaty
'Joint US-Russian statement on ABM Treaty,' White House text, Helsinki, 21 March 1997
"President Clinton and President Yeltsin, expressing their commitment to strengthening strategic stability and international security, emphasizing the importance of further reductions in strategic offensive arms, and recognizing the fundamental significance of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty for these objectives as well as the necessity for effective theater missile defense (TMD) systems, consider it their common task to preserve the ABM Treaty, prevent circumvention of it, and enhance its viability.
The Presidents reaffirm the principles of their 10 May, 1995 Joint Statement, which will serve as a basis for reaching agreement on demarcation between ABM systems and theater missile defense systems, including:
* The United States and Russia are each committed to the ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of strategic stability.
* Both sides must have the option to establish and to deploy effective theater missile defense systems. Such activity must not lead to violation or circumvention of the ABM Treaty.
* Theater missile defense systems may be deployed by each side which (1) will not pose a realistic threat to the strategic nuclear force of the other side and (2) will not be tested to give such systems that capability.
* Theater missile defense systems will not be deployed by the sides for use against each other.
* The scale of deployment - in number and geographic scope - of theater missile defense systems by either side will be consistent with theater ballistic missile programs confronting that side.
In this connection, the United States and Russia have recently devoted special attention to developing measures aimed at assuring confidence of the Parties that their ballistic missile defense activities will not lead to circumvention of the ABM Treaty, to which the Parties have repeatedly reaffirmed their adherence.
The efforts undertaken by the Parties in this regard are reflected in the Joint Statement of the Presidents of the United States and Russia issued on 28 September, 1994, as well as in that of 10 May, 1995. Important decisions were made at the US-Russia summit meeting on 23 April, 1996.
In order to fulfill one of the primary obligations under the ABM Treaty - the obligation not to give non-ABM systems capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles and not to test them in an ABM mode - the Presidents have instructed their respective delegations to complete the preparation of an agreement to ensure fulfillment of this requirement.
In Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) negotiations on the problem of demarcation between TMD systems and ABM systems, the United States and Russia, together with Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine, successfully finished negotiations on demarcation with respect to lower-velocity TMD systems. The Presidents note that agreements were also reached in 1996 with respect to confidence-building measures and ABM Treaty succession. The Presidents have instructed their experts to complete an agreement as soon as possible for prompt signature on higher-velocity TMD systems.
Neither side has plans before April 1999 to flight test, against a ballistic target missile, TMD interceptor missiles subject to the agreement on demarcation with respect to higher velocity TMD systems. Neither side has plans for TMD systems with interceptor missiles faster than 5.5 km/sec for land-based and air-based systems or 4.5 km/sec for sea-based systems. Neither side has plans to test TMD systems against target missiles with MIRVs or against reentry vehicles deployed or planned to be deployed on strategic ballistic missiles.
The elements for the agreement on higher-velocity TMD systems are:
* The velocity of the ballistic target missiles will not exceed 5 km/sec.
* The flight range of the ballistic target missiles will not exceed 3500 km.
* The sides will not develop, test, or deploy space-based TMD interceptor missiles or components based on other physical principles that are capable of substituting for such interceptor missiles.
* The sides will exchange detailed information annually on TMD plans and programs.
The Presidents noted that TMD technology is in its early stages and continues to evolve. They agreed that developing effective TMD while maintaining a viable ABM Treaty will require continued consultations. To this end, they reaffirm that their representatives to the Standing Consultative Commission will discuss, as foreseen under the ABM Treaty, any questions or concerns either side may have regarding TMD activities, including matters related to the agreement to be completed on higher-velocity systems, which will be based on this joint statement by the two Presidents, with a view to precluding violation or circumvention of the ABM Treaty. These consultations will be facilitated by the agreed detailed annual information exchange on TMD plans and programs.
The Presidents also agreed that there is considerable scope for cooperation in theater missile defense. They are prepared to explore integrated cooperative defense efforts, inter alia, in the provision of early warning support for TMD activities, technology cooperation in areas related to TMD, and expansion of the ongoing program of cooperation in TMD exercises.
In resolving the tasks facing them, the Parties will act in a spirit of cooperation, mutual openness, and commitment to the ABM Treaty."
Chemical Weapons Convention
'Joint US-Russian Statement on Chemical Weapons,' White House text, Helsinki, 21 March 1997
"President Clinton and President Yeltsin discussed issues relating to the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. They stressed the commitment of the United States and Russia to full and effective accomplishment of the tasks and objectives of the convention.
The Presidents reaffirmed their intention to take the steps necessary to expedite ratification in each of the two countries. President Clinton expressed his determination that the United States be a party when the Convention enters into force in April of this year, and is strongly urging prompt Senate action. President Yeltsin noted that the Convention has been submitted to the Duma with his strong recommendation for prompt ratification.
Mindful of their special role and responsibility in the matter of chemical disarmament, the United States and Russia understand that their participation in the Convention is important to its effective implementation and universality.
The Presidents noted that cooperation between the two countries in the prohibition of chemical weapons has enabled both countries to enhance openness regarding their military chemical potential and to gain experience with procedures and measures for verifying compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Parties will continue cooperation between them in chemical disarmament.
The United States will seek appropriation of necessary funds to build a facility for the destruction of neuroparalytic toxins in Russia as previously agreed."
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.
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