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"I actually have a pretty good collection of Arms Control Today, which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues."
– Gary Samore
Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Terrorism
Russia

Russia, Iran Discuss Arms Deal

During an October 1-5 visit to Russia, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani signed a military cooperation agreement that will reportedly result in hundreds of millions of dollars of new arms deals between the two countries.

Shamkhani, who had postponed an earlier visit in order not to overlap his stay with one by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, visited Russian arms manufacturing plants, met with top Kremlin officials, and signed a framework agreement for future cooperation on military-technical issues.

Neither Russian nor Iranian government officials gave details of the October 2 framework document, but press reports and analysts from both countries said it paved the way for future Russian sales of fighter jets, tanks, missiles, and naval ships to Iran that could be worth $300 million annually.

Russia made an agreement with the United States in June 1995 not to sign new weapons deals with Iran and to complete delivery of all previously sold arms by the end of 1999, but Moscow told Washington in November 2000 that it no longer planned to abide by the agreement. The United States objected, but Russia began serious discussions about reviving arms sales to Tehran during a visit to Russia by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in March.

Although Russia claims it is ready and has a right to sell “defensive” arms to Iran, it has also hinted that future deals might not be guaranteed. During a September 19 interview with a German television station, Russian President Vladimir Putin volunteered, “If our Western partners can offer to compensate us for the possible losses if we stopped our activities in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, we can think about it.”

State Department officials had no comment on Putin’s remarks, and it is unclear whether the Russian president was floating a proposal or simply trying to deflect criticism of Russian policy.

If Russia follows through with arms shipments to Iran, it could face U.S. sanctions. U.S. law calls for sanctions on countries that provide “lethal military equipment” to states sponsoring terrorism and for countries that sell “destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons” to either Iran or Iraq. The United States considers Iran a sponsor of terrorism.

U.S., Russia Still Seeking Common Ground on Missile Defense

Wade Boese

After meeting on October 21 in Shanghai, President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin reported progress in their talks on missile defenses and nuclear-force cuts, but the two leaders reached no agreements and remained divided over the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

Speaking at a joint press conference following their third face-to-face meeting, the two presidents sounded optimistic about being able to fashion a new U.S.-Russian strategic relationship. Putin said he believes that an understanding that the two countries could “reach agreements” exists, and Bush declared that both countries see progress in their “efforts to build a new strategic framework.” The presidents were attending a summit for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members’ heads of state.

Yet other remarks made by the two leaders at the press conference revealed that they remain apart on the key issue of what to do about the ABM Treaty, which prohibits the United States and Russia from building nationwide defenses against strategic ballistic missiles. Despite Russian, as well as Chinese, opposition, the Bush administration has made clear it wants to get rid of the treaty so that it can pursue a layered missile defense consisting of land-, sea-, air-, and potentially space-based elements. The treaty limits the United States to 100 ground-based missile interceptors in North Dakota and bans all sea-, air-, space-, and mobile land-based systems.

At the October 21 press conference, Bush described the treaty as “outdated” and “dangerous” and repeated his call for the two countries to work together to “move beyond” the accord. Putin, however, said the treaty is “an important element of stability,” although he again implied that Moscow is open to amending the accord. A U.S. government spokesman interviewed October 24 said that, to his knowledge, neither the United States nor Russia had proposed specific treaty amendments.

Bush further argued that the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington made the case stronger for abandoning the ABM Treaty because the treaty prevents the United States from defending against the possibility of terrorists using ballistic missiles to deliver weapons of mass destruction. Putin, who joined Chinese President Jiang Zemin a day earlier in supporting the ABM Treaty, questioned Bush’s reasoning, saying, “It would be difficult for me to agree that some terrorists will be able to capture intercontinental missiles and will be able to use them.”

Near the close of the press conference, Bush acknowledged his differences with Putin, commenting, “We’ll continue working with each other and see if we can’t find common ground on the ABM Treaty.”

No Deadline

Prior to the Shanghai meeting, press reports based on interviews with unnamed Bush administration officials suggested that, at their meeting, Bush would tell Putin of U.S. intentions to withdraw from the ABM Treaty by the end of the year. But national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters after the presidents’ joint press conference that Bush had delivered no deadline for U.S. treaty withdrawal.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also traveled to Shanghai, underscored October 22 that Bush had given no formal or informal notification of U.S. intention to withdraw from the treaty and said, “We are under no constraints with respect to our thinking.”

Both Powell and Rice made clear that the key issue for the Bush administration is ensuring that the ABM Treaty does not limit U.S. missile defense testing. While emphasizing that Bush does not want the U.S. missile defense program to be “constrained artificially” by the treaty, Powell also noted that the administration is “looking at” Russian suggestions that the United States could “probably do moretesting” than it thought it could under the treaty. Rice later told The New York Times that she believes Russia is starting to see near-term U.S. missile defense testing as not a threat, suggesting a possible deal could be worked out to relax the treaty’s constraints on testing without having Washington withdraw from the accord. At the same time, however, the Pentagon announced October 25 that it had delayed testing activities because they could have potentially violated the treaty, which the Bush administration said it would not do. (See Pentagon Puts Off Missile Defense Testing, Citing ABM Treaty.)

Speaking October 22 to the private Council on Foreign Relations, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) said he believes that the administration’s missile defense testing program could be carried out without violating the ABM Treaty. The senator also asserted that he thinks the president “seems to be moving in the direction where he may not unilaterally walk away from the ABM Treaty.”

Nuclear Reductions

Pre-Shanghai press reports also suggested Bush would tell Putin the much-anticipated level to which the United States would be willing to reduce its offensive strategic forces as part of the envisioned strategic framework and as a way to help win Russian acquiescence to U.S. missile defense plans. The president, however, said he offered no specific number.

Bush explained October 21 that the United States is still “analyzing” its nuclear arsenal. Rice and Powell both said Washington would soon have a figure for the Kremlin, presumably before Putin’s November 13-15 visit to the United States.

 

Currently, Russia and the United States are committed to deploying no more than 6,000 strategic nuclear warheads each by the end of this year. Putin has proposed cutting both arsenals to 1,500 strategic warheads in the future, but Bush has not indicated whether he would go that low, saying only that he supports significant reductions.

Putin said October 21 that both sides reaffirmed their “mutual intention” to reduce strategic weapons. The task now, Putin commented, is to “develop parameters of such reductions and to design a reliable and verifiable method” for making the cuts. The Bush administration, however, has repeatedly insisted it has no interest in negotiated reductions, voicing a preference for unilateral mutual reductions.

Rice downplayed the lack of any formal agreement at the Shanghai meeting and appeared to be seeking to lower expectations for the upcoming November meeting as well. At her Shanghai press conference, Rice stated, “We’re not looking for any specific breakthrough at any given meeting.” She further remarked that the two sides would be working on U.S.-Russian strategic relations before, during, and after Putin’s November visit, which will be split between Washington and Bush’s Texas ranch.

U.S. and Russian/Soviet Strategic Nuclear Forces

Since START I entered into force December 5, 1994, the treaty parties have substantially reduced their deployed strategic nuclear forces to comply with treaty limits that they must reach by December 2001. START I will limit the United States and Russia to 1,600 deployed strategic delivery vehicles (bombers and land- and submarine-based missiles) carrying 6,000 nuclear warheads, to be counted according to rules delineated in the treaty text.

START I was signed July 31, 1991, by the United States and the Soviet Union. Five months later, the Soviet Union dissolved, leaving four independent states in possession of strategic nuclear weapons: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. On May 23, 1992, the United States and the four nuclear-capable successor states to the Soviet Union signed the “Lisbon Protocol,” which makes all five nations party to the START I agreement. (Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan also agreed to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states.)

Under START I, the five parties semiannually exchange memoranda of understanding (MOUs) containing numbers, types, and locations of treaty-accountable strategic nuclear weapons. The tables presented here compare information from the initial September 1990 MOU with data from the July 2001 MOU, demonstrating the progress the parties have made.

Soviet/Russian numbers for 1990 apply to the Soviet Union, while current numbers are provided separately for Russia and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have transferred all of their nuclear warheads to Russia, but Ukraine continues to dismantle associated delivery vehicles and hence has “START-accountable” weapons on its territory.

—For more information, contact Philipp C. Bleek.

U.S. Strategic Forces
 
Delivery Vehicles
Warheads
ICBMs
September 1990
July 2001
September 1990
July 2001
MX/Peacekeeper
50
50
500
500
Minuteman III
500
526
1,500
1,578
Minuteman II
450
1
450
1
Subtotal
1,000
577
2,450
2,079
SLBMs        
Poseidon (C-3)
192
16
1,920
160
Trident I (C-4)
384
192
3,072
1,536
Trident II (D-5)
96
240
768
1,920
Subtotal
672
448
5,760
3,616
Bombers        
B-52 (ALCM)
189
116
1,968
1,160
B-52 (Non-ALCM)
290
47
290
47
B-1
95
91
95
91
B-2
20
20
Subtotal
574
274
2,353
1,318
Total
2,246
1,299
10,563
7,013

 

Soviet/Russian Strategic Forces
 
Delivery Vehicles
Warheads
ICBMs
September 19901
July 20012
September 19901
July 20012
SS-11
326
0
326
0
SS-13
40
0
40
0
SS-17
47
0
188
0
SS-18
308
166
3,080
1,660
SS-19
300
150
1,800
900
SS-24 (silo)
56
6
560
60
SS-24 (rail)
33
36
330
360
SS-25
288
360
288
360
SS-273 (silo)
24
24
SS-273 (rail)
Subtotal
1,398
742
6,612
3,364
SLBMs        
SS-N-6
192
0
192
0
SS-N-8
280
36
280
36
SS-N-17
12
0
12
0
SS-N-18
224
128
672
384
SS-N-20
120
100
1,200
1,000
SS-N-23
112
112
448
448
Subtotal
940
376
2,804
1,868
Bombers        
Bear (ALCM)
84
63
672
504
Bear (Non-ALCM)
63
2
63
2
Blackjack
15
15
120
120
Subtotal
162
80
855
626
Total
2,500
1,198
10,271
5,858

 

Current Strategic Forces Ukraine
July 2001
Delivery Vehicles
Warheads 4
ICBMs    
SS-24 (silo)
13
130
Bombers    
Bear (ALCM)
0
0
Blackjack
0
0
Total
13
130

Key: ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, SLBM: Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile, ALCM: Air-Launched Cruise Missile


NOTES
1. Includes weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
2. Weapons in Russia only.
3. Also known as the TOPOL-M or RS-12M Variant 2 ICBM.
4. Even though all nuclear warheads from Ukraine have been transported to Russia, they remain START accountable until their associated delivery systems have been destroyed.

Sources: START I Memorandum of Understanding, September 1, 1990; START I Memorandum of Understanding, July 31, 2001; Arms Control Association.

Bill Aims to Lift Nuclear Reductions Restriction

The fiscal year 2002 defense authorization bill before the Senate contains language that would lift a 1998 restriction effectively barring the president from unilaterally reducing U.S. strategic nuclear forces below START I levels. The restriction would need to be lifted before President George W. Bush could follow through on his campaign pledge to reduce U.S. forces unilaterally.

The Senate was unable to complete action on the bill in the final week of September and will take up the legislation again in early October. The House approved its version of the bill, which does not lift the restrictions, September 25. Several House Democrats had offered language lifting the restriction, but their amendments were rejected. However, the House bill does contain a partial repeal exempting the Peacekeeper missile from the restriction. The administration announced earlier this summer that it intends to retire all 50 of the multiple-warhead ICBMs between 2003 and 2005. (See ACT, July/August 2001.)

Pentagon officials have repeatedly asked Congress to lift the restriction. The language, first introduced in the fiscal year 1998 defense authorization bill, was originally intended to pressure the Russian Duma to approve START II. Moscow ratified that agreement in May 2000, but the treaty has not entered into force because of related disagreements over the ABM Treaty and national missile defense. (See ACT, May 2000.)

Democratic lawmakers mounted a major effort to overturn the language last year, but Republicans led by Senator John Warner (R-VA) resisted the move. In debate on the Senate floor just months before the end of President Bill Clinton’s term, Warner said he felt it was a “wiser course of action to defer such decisions…until the next president is in office.”

Given the disparity between the approved House and expected Senate bills, the issue will likely have to be resolved in conference negotiations between the two chambers of Congress. Conference negotiations, subsequent votes in each chamber, and submission of the bill to the president for signature will extend into the 2002 fiscal year, which begins October 1.

Russia Sends Conflicting Messages on Missile Defenses

Wade Boese

Russian officials sent mixed signals during September about the possible consequences of a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which prohibits both countries from building nationwide defenses against strategic ballistic missiles.

Interviewed September 1 by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated the Kremlin’s long-standing position that the ABM Treaty is not “outdated,” as the Bush administration has argued. Yet, Putin said, if the United States determines that it “doesn’t need any talks or any treaties,” Moscow “will not stir up any hysteria.” Putin explained that Russia has enough missiles to “guarantee” its security “for many decades ahead.”

However, during a September 19 interview with a German television station, Putin said that the START agreements, which cap the number of deployed U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads, are linked to the ABM Treaty. If the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty, then the START accords, along with some 30 other agreements and treaties, would be “destroyed overnight,” Putin said.

Although a common refrain from Russian officials throughout this year, the Kremlin had notably avoided such dire predictions over the previous several weeks. Visiting Moscow September 17, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton had even observed that whereas Russian officials used to contend that a U.S. ABM Treaty withdrawal “might precipitate the withdrawal of other parties from many other arms control treaties…they’re not saying that anymore.”

Russian Colonel-General Yuriy Baluyevskiy, who has been leading a Russian delegation in talks with Pentagon officials about the treaty and missile defenses, declared September 11 that Russia would continue talks with the United States even if Washington withdrew from the ABM Treaty. After referring to the “trust and openness” in U.S.-Russian relations, Baluyevskiy said, “The withdrawal of the U.S. from the ABM Treaty will not cancel these relations.” One week earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had also told an Italian news agency that U.S.-Russian relations should not be “hostage” to one issue.

Yet Russian officials have urged the Bush administration not to act alone and with haste. In his remarks to the Italian news agency, Ivanov said unilateral actions should be avoided and that existing agreements should not be scrapped until better ones are in place. Baluyevskiy echoed Ivanov, telling reporters September 11 that a “new system of treaties and agreements” should be agreed to and “then we decide whether the ABM Treaty hinders us.”

As part of their talks, the United States and Russia are also discussing nuclear reductions. Ivanov told the UN General Assembly September 24 that Russia has reaffirmed to the United States that it wants a “coordinated” reduction down to 1,500 warheads apiece by 2008 with the possibility of subsequent cuts. Washington, according to the Kremlin, has yet to volunteer how low it is willing to go, claiming it first needs to conclude a review of its nuclear posture.

In his UN speech, Ivanov also detailed other Russian arms control proposals, including preventing any weapons from being stationed in space. Ivanov noted that the “practical implementation” of the Russian initiatives would require a “responsible and delicate handling” of the ABM Treaty.

Impact of Terrorist Attacks

While expressing sympathy for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Russian officials have also pointed out that the attacks underscore its assertion that terrorism poses a more urgent threat than ballistic missiles. However, Ivanov told CNN September 12 that Russia would not use the terrorist attacks to “exploit” the ongoing talks with the United States, and Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters after meeting with Ivanov September 19 that Russia made “no linkages” between the talks and the terrorist attacks.

For their part, Bush administration officials have argued that the attacks do not lessen the need for missile defenses and that they intend to continue with their testing and development plans. In Moscow September 12, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow said, “Threats emerging from long-range missiles…are just as serious today as they were yesterday.”

Although Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld canceled a late September meeting with his Russian counterpart, U.S.-Russian talks on the ABM Treaty and missile defenses will continue. Ivanov noted after meeting with Powell, “We have agreed to continue these consultations to be able to report the first results during the forthcoming summits of our presidents.” President George W. Bush and Putin are scheduled to meet in October and November.


Last Minuteman III Missile Silo Destroyed

On August 24, the United States destroyed its last Minuteman III missile silo slated for dismantlement under START I. Demolition of the silo, located at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, takes Washington one step closer to meeting an upcoming treaty implementation deadline.

The START I accord requires the United States and Russia to deploy no more than 6,000 nuclear warheads on 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles by December 5. To help meet this deadline, the United States began destroying 150 Minuteman III silos in October 1999. It plans to retain 501 of these missiles, according to an administration official.

Washington intends to make other significant nuclear force reductions over the next few months to meet its START commitments, the official said. These include destroying one decommissioned Poseidon submarine and 15 B-52 bombers configured to carry air-launched cruise missiles. Washington will also reduce the number of warheads on each of its 192 Trident I missiles from eight to six and the number of warheads on 150 of its remaining Minuteman III missiles from three to one.

These reductions will put the United States “well below START limits,” with 1,238 delivery vehicles and 5,903 warheads, the official stated.

The official added that “it certainly appears the Russians are on track to finish on time.” Ukraine also has START-accountable delivery vehicles on its territory and is expected to meet the December deadline too, the official said.

START I entered into force in December 1994 and remains in effect until 2009, unless it is extended or superseded by a new nuclear reduction agreement. At a March 1997 summit in Helsinki, Moscow and Washington agreed to work to make the START I and II accords unlimited in duration but have not followed through on that commitment. START II, which would require both sides to reduce their arsenals to 3,500 deployed strategic warheads, has not yet entered into force.

Russia Approves New Chemical Weapons Destruction Plan

Seth Brugger

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov approved a resolution July 5 to overhaul Moscow’s existing 1996 plan to destroy its chemical weapons. The new scheme would require an extension of the Chemical Weapons Convention’s (CWC) deadlines but could reduce demilitarization costs by 30-50 percent. (See text of new plan.)

Kasyanov approved the resolution after it was initially reviewed by several government agencies in mid-June and subsequently modified by the Russian Munitions Agency (RMA), the civilian body heading chemical weapons destruction. According to an RMA official, the Russian government does not need to take further action for the plan to come into force.

Under its new plan, Russia would finish destroying its chemical weapons stockpile by 2012, missing the final convention deadline in 2007, by which member states must have completely eliminated their chemical weapons arsenals. This schedule would force Moscow to seek approval from CWC’s oversight body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to take advantage of a CWC provision that allows extension of the deadline by up to five years. Moscow will “most likely” submit its new plan this fall to the OPCW, the RMA official said.

The plan’s destruction schedule also misses all intermediate convention deadlines for destroying certain percentages of Russia’s “Category 1” (the highest “risk” category) chemical weapons. Russia missed the first intermediate CWC deadline in April 2000 for destroying these weapons, which the OPCW extended by two years.

Russia had previously planned to build seven facilities to eliminate its chemical weapons, one at each of its chemical weapons storage locations. To save money, the new plan will scale back the number of destruction facilities to three, which will be located at Gorny, Shchuch’ye, and Kambarka, the official said.

Moscow plans to operate the Gorny facility from 2002 to 2005 and the Shchuch’ye and Kambarka sites from 2005 to 2011. Rather than construct a demilitarization facility at the Kizner storage site, under the new resolution Russia will transport weapons stored at Kizner to Shchuch’ye for destruction before 2012.

According to the RMA official, this last provision is in response to demands placed on Russia by the U.S. Congress. Led by the House, Congress has blocked new U.S. funding for the Shchuch’ye facility for the past two fiscal years. Last year, even though it did not resume funding, Congress said future appropriations should be conditional upon Russia meeting five requirements, including a demand that Moscow use only one site to destroy its entire nerve-agent stockpile, which is stored at several locations, including Kizner.

In a significant step toward renewing U.S. funding for Shchuch’ye, on August 1 the House Armed Services Committee matched the Bush administration’s $35 million request for the project for the upcoming fiscal year, also conditional upon the same five requirements.

In addition to constructing demilitarization facilities, Russia’s new plan also allows Moscow to construct facilities at the Pochep, Leonidovka, and Maradykovsky sites to neutralize chemical agents stored at these locations. But the official said that a final decision on building these facilities will depend on “the outcome of the operation” of the destruction facilities. Whether agents would be transported to Shchuch’ye for destruction after neutralization also remains undetermined.

The resolution also calls for Russia to destroy its chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs) that are not converted for civilian use by April 29, 2007, as required by the convention. Of its 24 declared CWPFs, six have been destroyed, and seven have been converted.

The revised plan is the latest in a series of steps to improve Russia’s struggling chemical demilitarization effort. On May 4, President Vladimir Putin approved the creation of a new commission, headed by former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, to “ensure cooperation” between federal and regional bodies dealing with chemical weapons destruction and to help oversee the demilitarization process. Additionally, last December, Russia boosted demilitarization funding six fold to approximately $105 million for the current fiscal year, according to the RMA official.


Russia Blocks Reform of Iraq Sanctions Regime

Alex Wagner

In a major setback for the Bush administration, a Russian veto threat in late June forced the UN Security Council to set aside a sweeping reform of the Iraq sanctions regime. Instead, on July 3, the council unanimously approved a five-month extension of the oil-for-food program, which allows Baghdad to sell, under UN supervision, unlimited amounts of oil to purchase humanitarian and infrastructure supplies.

Iraq resumed its participation in the program July 10 after terminating its involvement following a June Security Council decision to work to overhaul the sanctions regime.

The Bush team had hoped to use the program’s July 3 expiration as an opportunity to introduce a new sanctions policy that would alleviate international concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Iraq while increasing the effectiveness of efforts to prevent Baghdad from reacquiring the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Since early June, the administration had worked to convince both the Security Council and Iraq’s neighbors to support a British draft resolution that would have lifted international sanctions on most trade with Iraq while strengthening controls on items that could be used for weapons development. (See ACT, June 2001 and July/August 2001.)

In the weeks preceding the July deadline, one of the most contentious issues among the permanent members of the Security Council involved the composition of a U.S.-proposed list of “dual-use” items, whose export to Iraq would have required UN authorization. On June 29, the U.S. representative to the UN, James Cunningham, announced that China and France had agreed to the U.S. list. But Russia could not be persuaded to support any elements of the British draft resolution.

Addressing the Security Council on July 3, Cunningham criticized Russia, saying that the council should have “done better” and that “we all know why that was not possible.”

Revitalizing the international sanctions against Iraq had been one of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy priorities. Explaining why the United States agreed to the five-month extension instead of substantial reform, Cunningham said that, if the resolution had been vetoed, it would have effectively prevented the issue from being raised again. “A veto would bring our work to a halt and thus would be a victory for Iraq,” he said.

The British ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock, implied that Russia was allowing its financial relationship with Iraq to interfere with overhauling the sanctions regime. Addressing the council June 26, Greenstock argued, “None of us, on this issue in particular, can allow national economic self-interest to hold up positive measures for the Iraqi people.”

At a July 11 joint press conference with his British counterpart, Jack Straw, Secretary of State Colin Powell vowed to remain vigilant in pursuit of sanctions reform. Washington will continue over the next five months to “work with the frontline states” and with Russia to find a way to accommodate both Moscow’s interests and those of the Iraqi people, Powell said.

 


Russia Has Mixed Success With CFE Implementation

Wade Boese

Russia showed mixed success in July toward meeting commitments under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and related agreements, missing a July 1 deadline to vacate a military base in Georgia but reducing the number of weapons located in Moldova.

In November 1999, Russia committed to closing two of its four military bases in Georgia by July 1, 2001, and to withdraw all its CFE-limited weaponry from Moldova by the end of 2001. The CFE Treaty caps the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that its 30 states-parties can deploy and store between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains.

Although it officially handed over control of a Russian military base in Vaziani, Georgia, to Tbilisi on June 29, Russia failed to vacate a base at Gudauta by the July 1 deadline. Moscow claimed the local population had blocked Russian efforts to leave the base and that Georgia had failed to take necessary steps to ensure a safe withdrawal of Russian forces from the region.

Georgia dismissed Russia’s claims, contending that it had proposed alternative ways for Moscow to complete its withdrawal, including destruction of weaponry located at the base, but that Russia had rejected these suggestions. In a July 2 statement released by its Foreign Ministry, Georgia called on Russia to “take immediate and exhaustive measures for timely and complete fulfillment” of its withdrawal obligations.

The two governments are now holding talks to find a compromise, including the possibility of allowing a few hundred Russian troops to remain at the base. They are also trying to negotiate terms for Russia’s withdrawal from two other Georgian bases, which Tbilisi wants done within a three-year period, while Moscow is seeking a time frame of up to 14 years.

In Moldova, Russia is facing a more immediate deadline for complete withdrawal of all of its weapons and forces by the end of 2002. Although Moscow is generally perceived to be dragging its feet on meeting this overall commitment, it made substantial progress in July and August on its obligation to reduce its CFE-limited weaponry by the end of this year. Of the108 T-64 battle tanks and 131 ACVs Russia had in Moldova, just 25 tanks and 57 ACVs remain as of August 28, according to a spokesperson of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring Russia’s reduction activities in Moldova. Moscow is scheduled to start eliminating 125 heavy artillery pieces in October.

Within its borders, Russia is abiding by its overall CFE Treaty limits but it continues to deploy tanks and ACVs above sub-limits that cap its weapons deployments in its northern and southern regions, according to data from a recent treaty information exchange. The Kremlin claims its non-compliance is necessary to combat “terrorism” in Chechnya.

Russia’s excess is relatively small, numbering not more than 20 tanks and some 130 ACVs above the sublimits, which were outlined in a November 1999 overhaul of the treaty that has yet to enter into force. The United States and its fellow NATO members have conditioned their ratification of the agreement on all states-parties being in compliance with its provisions.

There is speculation that, even though Russia is close to compliance, it is unlikely to reduce its weapons holdings below the sublimits for some time because it may want to send additional forces into Chechnya. The Kremlin may be calculating that it would face less international condemnation and scrutiny by further exceeding the limits than by coming into compliance and then exceeding the limits again.


U.S.-Russian Differences Remain On Missile Defenses, ABM Treaty

Wade Boese

Despite a flurry of summer meetings between top U.S. and Russian officials on offensive and defensive strategic forces, Moscow remains unconvinced by U.S. arguments to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which proscribes nationwide defenses against long-range ballistic missiles.

U.S. officials have tried unsuccessfully since May to sell Russia on the idea of developing a new bilateral strategic framework that would involve, among other things, scrapping the 1972 ABM Treaty, building strategic missile defenses, and lowering offensive nuclear force levels. President George W. Bush first articulated the proposal in a May 1 speech and discussed it with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their first meeting in June. But Moscow has continued to support maintaining the ABM Treaty, though over the past few months it has hinted that it would consider amending the accord.

Meeting July 22 in Genoa, Italy, on the sidelines of the G-8 summit, Bush again lobbied Putin to back his new strategic framework. Putin demurred, but the presidents issued a joint statement saying their countries would “begin intensive consultations on the interrelated subjects of offensive and defensive systems.” At a post-meeting press conference, Putin said the two matters would be discussed as a “set,” and Bush said, “The two go hand-in-hand.”

Nonetheless, there was confusion about what had been agreed. Later that day, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice insisted that the presidents had not agreed to link the issues of offense and defense formally and that Washington would go it alone if Russia refused to work with the United States.

Rice traveled to Moscow a few days later to craft a timetable for continuing the talks and to discuss the strategic framework proposal further with the Kremlin. Although she left Russia with a schedule for consultations, Rice made no headway in getting Russian leaders to accept the U.S. proposal. “We did not hear from Mrs. Rice any new arguments to cause us to review our fundamental approach to the 1972 treaty,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said July 27.

An August 13 visit to Moscow by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld yielded similar results. When asked whether Rumsfeld had persuaded him that the ABM Treaty had outlived its usefulness, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov answered, “I’m afraid not.” Later that day, Ivanov stated, “We feel no compunction to leave one or any other treaty or accord which we currently have signed.”

Throughout these high-level talks and after August meetings of government experts in Washington and Moscow, Russia repeatedly said that it had not received enough detailed information about U.S. plans. Putin, who also met with Rumsfeld August 13, said Moscow wants to be told of the “military and technical parameters of the [missile defense] proposals” and to know how low the United States would be willing to reduce its nuclear forces, along what timeframe, and how such reductions would be verified.

Washington says that it cannot yet answer these questions, asserting that future missile defense deployments will be based on what technologies pan out during research and testing and that the Pentagon is still conducting a review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Rumsfeld, however, told various Moscow audiences that he should know the future size of U.S. nuclear forces within the next couple of months.

Russia and the United States are currently implementing START I, which caps each country’s arsenal at 6,000 deployed strategic warheads. START II, which has not yet entered into force, would lower this cap to 3,500 warheads. Although the two countries agreed in March 1997 to pursue an additional follow-on treaty, START III, that would reduce their arsenals to no more than 2,500 strategic warheads each, Russia has since proposed going down to 1,500 warheads. The Bush administration, however, has not yet indicated whether it would go as low as or below the proposed START III numbers.

Russia appears to favor codifying in a formal document any agreements it reaches with the United States. On August 13, Ivanov declared a need for “a system of controllable restraints” and “a series of limits.” But Washington has said it is not seeking a formal agreement on offenses or defenses. A senior defense official explained August 10 to reporters, “We are not seeking a Cold War-style arms control negotiation or treaty in these talks.”

Part of the administration’s rationale is that it does not have time for such an approach because its ballistic missile defense testing program will “bump up against” the ABM Treaty within months. Pentagon plans call for starting construction in April 2002 on a new Alaskan missile defense test site, which officials also claim will be available for operational use in an emergency. “Time is of the essence,” Bush emphasized July 23.

Claiming it does not want to violate the treaty or slow its testing program, the Bush administration states it would like to reach an agreement soon with Russia to mutually withdraw from the treaty, but failing that outcome, Washington warns it will withdraw unilaterally. Six months’ notice is required to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.

Responding August 22 to news stories that the United States had set out a November deadline for concluding the talks—six months before the April construction date—at the Moscow meeting of experts, a State Department spokesperson stated, “There is no deadline.” The next day, Bush also denied any deadlines had been set but left no doubt about U.S. plans, declaring, “We will withdraw from the ABM Treaty on our timetable at a time convenient to America.” He added that Putin is “aware of [U.S.] desires to move beyond the ABM Treaty and we will.”

Russian officials are skeptical of Washington’s abbreviated timeframe. “I don’t see any possible way that we can take something that complicated and do it only in a couple of months,” Ivanov said after meeting with Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell are expected to meet with their Russian counterparts again in September to continue the talks. The two presidents will also meet in October in Shanghai, China, and again in November at Bush’s Texas ranch. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, who led the U.S. expert group in Moscow, said August 21 that he believed “the two presidents would be disappointed in us if we didn’t have something for them to consider when they get together in Texas.”


Despite a flurry of summer meetings between top U.S. and Russian officials on offensive and defensive strategic forces, Moscow remains unconvinced by U.S. arguments to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which proscribes nationwide defenses against long-range ballistic missiles. (Continue)

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