I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
European Security

Georgian Conflict Clouds Future Arms Pacts

Wade Boese

Russia's August military intervention into and diplomatic recognition of two separatist Georgian regions casts doubt not just on their future political status but also that of a pair of already languishing treaties limiting battlefield weapons in Europe.

The fate of the 1999 Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty for several years has been tied to the presence of hundreds of Russian military "peacekeepers" located in the disputed Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the separatist region of Transdniestria in Moldova. NATO members have maintained they will not ratify the arms treaty, preventing it from taking effect, until Russia withdraws its forces as it pledged to do when it joined 29 other countries in signing the adapted agreement.

If brought into force, the adapted accord would introduce fresh limits for those countries on their tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters, replacing similar caps that currently apply from the 1990 CFE Treaty. (See ACT, November 1999. ) Russia last December suspended its participation in the original treaty, faulting NATO members' failure to act on the adapted treaty and their unwillingness to adjust some arms limits to Russia's satisfaction. (See ACT, January/February 2008. )

In the aftermath of Russian-Georgian fighting that erupted Aug. 7 and ended with an Aug. 15 ceasefire, it appears that the Russian contingent in the two Georgian enclaves, whose leaders have declared a permanent break from Georgia, will be larger and more heavily armed than before. For example, Russia allegedly is deploying some land-mobile short-range SS-21 ballistic missiles to South Ossetia. Russian forces also seem to be settling into positions in a so-called security zone as well as other checkpoints in Georgia outside the independence-minded regions.

U.S. officials decried Russia's piecemeal and slow military exit. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking to reporters Aug. 18 while en route to a NATO meeting that saw the 26-member alliance suspend its consultative forum with Russia, said, "[I]t is our very strong view that it didn't take that long for Russian forces to get in [to Georgia]; it really shouldn't take that long for them to get out."

Several present and past U.S. and foreign government officials interviewed in August by Arms Control Today said the Georgian situation does not bode well for the Adapted CFE Treaty. Jeffrey McCausland, a former director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council, said Aug. 15 that the recent conflict and its aftermath put the accord into a "deep freeze." The other current and ex-officials, many who asked not to be identified, voiced similar or starker assessments.

McCausland argued it will be "difficult" for some time to try and bring the adapted treaty into force because the leaders of NATO in general and the leaders of Georgia and Russia in particular are going to be more reluctant to "make major concessions" or "back down" with no agreed settlement on the contested Georgian territories. The Kremlin's Aug. 26 recognition of the two regions' claimed independence likely will further all sides taking harder lines. Another former senior U.S. official familiar with CFE Treaty matters told Arms Control Today Aug. 14 that it was "unlikely" any countries would soon "go full bore with clever diplomatic solutions" to move ahead on the Adapted CFE Treaty.

During the past several months, NATO had proposed to Russia that some alliance members would begin their national ratification processes of the adapted treaty in parallel with Russian troop withdrawals out of the breakaway regions in Georgia and Moldova, in contrast to conditioning ratification on the completion of the pullouts. (See ACT, May 2008. ) Only Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia have completed ratification of the adapted agreement.

Moscow for many years has pressed NATO capitals to follow suit and bring the revised treaty into force because it imposes more lenient limits on Russia's weaponry deployed in its Caucasus region and contains an accession clause, unlike the original treaty, that enables additional countries to adopt weapons ceilings. Former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are NATO members but are not party to the original CFE Treaty, meaning they have no current arms limits, which Russia says is unacceptable.

The past and current U.S. officials generally agreed that Russia was not thinking about the Adapted CFE Treaty when it ordered its forces into Georgia to respond to what Russia claims were Georgian provocations. Instead, McCausland argued, Moscow's priority was sending a message to Georgia, other Russian neighbors, and NATO about Russia's determination to preserve what it sees as its traditional sphere of influence. Severely criticized by Russia, NATO in April declared its intentions to eventually invite Georgia and Ukraine to become members. (See ACT, May 2008. ) NATO Aug. 19 reaffirmed that goal.

Just as the Adapted CFE Treaty's fate most likely was not at the forefront of Russian concerns when it initiated its military foray, the treaty's future will not be that high on any country's agenda very soon, speculated most of the officials interviewed by Arms Control Today. Michael Wyganowski, a former Polish diplomat who headed his country's delegation to CFE Treaty meetings in 1999, noted Aug. 20 that the accord was being relegated further to the sidelines by a conflict that actually underscored the importance of limiting conventional arms holdings.

The former senior U.S. official said that, in the near term, governments will have to think on a strategic level about the new period of relations Europe, Russia, and the United States appear to be entering. The official dismissed the notion that it might be a "return to the Cold War" but also contended that the assumption by many of the past two decades of a "benign European security environment" had to be questioned.

At a tactical level, some government officials of NATO members say the Georgian conflict might lead alliance members to discuss sooner than expected scaling back their implementation of the original CFE Treaty. When Russia started refusing inspections and halting treaty information exchanges and notifications as part of its suspension of the agreement, NATO members said they would continue to fulfill their treaty obligations but warned that they might stop if Russia failed to reverse course. Moscow has yet to revive its participation or give any indication that it plans to do so.

Foreign governments and international monitors are still trying to sort out how many Russian forces took part in the Georgian operation and where they were originally based. If Russia had been implementing the original CFE Treaty at the time, it is unlikely the amount of heavy weapons systems involved would have required treaty notifications on Moscow's behalf because of the presumed temporary nature of the deployments. The adapted treaty, however, includes more rigorous requirements on notifications regarding weapons-levels changes or transit and, if it had been in force, likely would have obligated Russia to share more information on its military movements before and during the Georgian conflict.

Russia's August military intervention into and diplomatic recognition of two separatist Georgian regions casts doubt not just on their future political status...

Rethink European Missile Defense

Daryl G. Kimball

Within weeks of entering office, the next U.S. president will be confronted with dozens of pivotal choices. One of the most important will be whether to install untested missile defenses in eastern Europe to deal with an Iranian missile threat that does not exist.

The decision should be easy. Deployment should be deferred until the system is proven effective in realistic tests, allies are on board, and a new agreement with Russia delineates the size and capability of strategic missile defenses.

Yet, after years of partisan posturing on missiles and missile defense, few decisions on the subject have been rational or easy. For more than a decade, proponents of missile defense have hyped the threat of long-range missiles from the likes of Iran and North Korea and pushed for anti-missile systems that are not ready for prime time.

For instance, in 1998 an influential commission chaired by Donald Rumsfeld dismissed earlier intelligence findings and warned that any nation with a well-developed, Scud-based missile infrastructure would be able to flight-test a long-range missile within five years. A decade later, neither Iran nor North Korea have successfully flight-tested intermediate-range or long-range missiles.

Rumsfeld’s report spurred missile defense acolytes to argue that testing and development of strategic missile defenses should no longer be constrained by the U.S.-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Over Russian objections, Bush withdrew from the treaty in 2002. Since then, the administration has poured roughly $8 billion a year into the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, conducted limited testing, and rushed a handful of ground-based strategic interceptors into Alaska and California ahead of the 2004 election.

In 2007 the administration announced plans for a new ground-based, long-range anti-missile system in Europe. It wants 10 interceptors in Poland and a new radar in the Czech Republic by around 2011. In response to sharp objections from Moscow, Bush has said the deployment is not intended to counter Russia and would be limited. Leaders in Moscow remain unconvinced, and Congress has withheld full funding until the interceptors can be proven to be effective and the host countries approve basing agreements.

Like Bush, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain enthusiastically supports missile defense as a way to guard against rogue-state “blackmail.” He has gone even further and asserted that missile defenses also serve “to hedge against potential threats from strategic competitors like Russia and China.” The presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, has voiced doubts about the effectiveness of strategic anti-missile systems and called for a greater emphasis on more capable short- and medium-range interceptors. Neither has addressed the European missile defense issue directly.

No matter who enters the White House, a course correction on the European component of missile defense policy is in order. If it is not already clear, the next president will soon realize that the case presented for the system simply does not stand up.

Although intelligence assessments suggest that Iran’s nuclear program requires urgent diplomatic action, it is not predicted to have a long-range missile capability until 2015 or later. Even if Iran were to acquire and threaten the United States or its allies with nuclear-armed missiles, such aggression could be deterred by other means.

The new president also will learn that strategic missile defenses cannot be relied on to protect in a real-world crisis. The new, two-stage interceptor for the European site has not yet been built, let alone tested. An October report from the Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation recommends at least three flights tests, a process that could not even begin until 2009 and would take several years to complete.

Meanwhile, the Polish government is demanding that the United States pay for costly upgrades to Polish air- and short-range missile defenses to counter Russian targeting of the proposed anti-missile site. Although other NATO allies have agreed to discuss the U.S. missile defense proposal, many are skeptical and have not endorsed it.

An open-ended deployment made over Moscow’s objections would also seriously impede work with Russia on a range of other vitally important issues, including strategic arms reductions, the prevention of nuclear terrorism, and curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Instead of choosing this path, the next administration should take the time needed to reach a new agreement with Russia for missile defense cooperation and avoid renewed strategic conflict. The key will be to agree to firm limits on the number of strategic missile interceptors that might be deployed in eastern Europe and elsewhere, as well as to complete a long-delayed joint early-warning center to build confidence and avoid miscalculation.

After decades of spending, ambitious timetables, and overstated threat warnings, it is past time to restore reason to missile defense policy by deferring deployment of a new anti-missile site on Russia’s border that is unnecessary and imprudent.

Within weeks of entering office, the next U.S. president will be confronted with dozens of pivotal choices. One of the most important will be whether to install untested missile defenses in eastern Europe to deal with an Iranian missile threat that does not exist.

The decision should be easy. Deployment should be deferred until the system is proven effective in realistic tests, allies are on board, and a new agreement with Russia delineates the size and capability of strategic missile defenses. (Continue)

The EU’s Nonproliferation Efforts: Limited Success

Oliver Meier

In 2003, European states, shaken by their inability to unite around a common strategy toward Iraq, determined to forge a common and independent approach to dealing with proliferation threats.[1] Five years later, the EU's hopes of being an independent power broker on arms control and nonproliferation issues have only been partially realized, with both external pressures and internal fissures and constraints limiting Brussels' heft on the international stage.

In October 2003, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom ignored protests from the United States and reached an agreement with Iran to work toward a resolution of the crisis regarding Tehran's nuclear program. In December of that year, European Union (EU) member states adopted the European Security Strategy (ESS) and the associated EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which called for effective policies to strengthen multilateral regimes and to address the root causes of instability and proliferation in cooperation with the United States and other key partners. 

Since 2003, the EU has played a leading role in the ongoing effort to curb Iran's uranium-enrichment program, but its ability to make progress has been limited by the recalcitrance of Iran and the United States, and its negotiating role has been eclipsed at times by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russia. Internal fissures, including differences between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states and the failure to approve an EU constitution, have limited Brussels' ability to carve out an independent stance on such issues as missile defense, nuclear disarmament, and the future of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

To be sure, leadership change in the United States and the streamlining of the EU's foreign policy bureaucracy offer the prospect that Brussels in the next few years could come closer to the goals the EU set for itself five years ago. Yet, given the experience of the past five years, there is widespread skepticism that these opportunities will be seized.


In October 2003, more than a year after Iran's clandestine nuclear program was publicly revealed, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the so-called EU-3) negotiated a deal with Iran in which Tehran vowed to declare past nuclear activities and promised improved cooperation with the IAEA. In return, the EU-3 prevented referral of Iran to the UN Security Council, which Washington supported. In November 2004, Iran and the EU-3 signed the Paris agreement, in which Iran pledged to voluntarily suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities until a long-term agreement had been worked out. Although Washington continued to discourage negotiations between the European states and Iran, the move deflated U.S. pressure for a Security Council referral.

As the war in Iraq increasingly commanded U.S. political attention, Washington's opposition toward EU negotiations became less pronounced. After President George W. Bush traveled to Europe in February 2005, Washington for the first time backed some incentives offered by Europe to Iran, such as support for Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization and the supply of spare parts for civil aircraft if Iran were to halt its enrichment program and other fuel cycle-related activities. Yet, at nearly the same time that Washington was relaxing its pressure, Iranian attitudes began to harden, particularly following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian president in August 2005.

Since that election, the EU has sought to keep the negotiating process alive. In June 2006, the EU-3 plus China, Russia, and the United States (the "EU-3+3") offered a new package of incentives to Iran.[2] The offer came after Iran had resumed certain nuclear activities and the UN Security Council for the first time had imposed sanctions on Iran, in February 2006.

Throughout this period, EU officials have sought to maintain a united stance against what they see as Iranian efforts to chip away at these sanctions without giving up its nuclear ambitions. Since last fall, Iran has carried out a work program with the IAEA to address some of the past questions that had raised international concerns about whether it truly intended its nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes. Yet, Tehran has still moved forward with its uranium-enrichment program, despite calls from the Security Council to suspend it.

The IAEA's efforts have drawn criticism from European diplomats who fear that agency director-general Mohamed ElBaradei would allow the Iranians to sidestep the UN sanctions and the EU-3+3 negotiations and issue Iran a clean bill of health. A senior official from an EU member state on April 14 argued that it was not possible "to close Iran's nuclear file" even if the program of work agreed between the agency and Iran is completed. He said that, in addition to resolving questions related to past Iranian activities, it was also necessary to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's current nuclear program.[3]

European officials also have said that the recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) did not justify backing away from UN sanctions. In December 2007, a U.S. NIE concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weaponization efforts by 2003, further undermining the hard-line approach taken by the Bush administration. In response to a parliamentary inquiry on the NIE launched by the Green Party in the Bundestag, the German government on January 10 maintained that the NIE had "confirmed the international community's justified doubts about the peaceful character of the Iranian nuclear program" and simply refused to answer any questions about the validity of the NIE's findings, citing confidentiality concerns.[4]

An EU official explained that the EU is now pursuing a dual-track approach for Iran. "The first one-pressure through sanctions and readiness to start negotiations-is aimed at convincing Iran to stop its controversial nuclear activities. The second one is aimed at keeping [the] unity of the EU-3+3."[5]

Some EU members, particularly France, have called for the union to take more aggressive measures on its own. In September, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war."[6] Kouchner also called for tougher EU sanctions above and beyond those agreed to by the UN Security Council. His calls have met with little support, with Europeans opting to follow the German preference for a gradual increase of pressure through the adoption of moderate and reversible UN Security Council sanctions.

With presidential elections in the United States in November 2008 and in Iran in 2009 ahead, European efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis in Iran are effectively in suspension.

After the last direct contact with Iranian lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on November 30, 2007, Javier Solana, the EU's high representative on foreign policy, stated his disappointment. "I had expected more from the talks with the Iranian delegation."[7] According to Iranian statements, both sides have not been in contact since then. On March 16, Solana was quoted by the Chinese news agency Xinhua that a next meeting might take place in "30 days to 90 days."[8]

The EU official also said that an improved package of incentives to be offered to Iran now under consideration is aimed only partly at kick-starting negotiations and also has to be seen against the background of keeping the EU-3+3 unity. "This is more a matter of presentation than of substance," he explained.

Despite the lack of success in convincing Iran to limit its nuclear program, some decision-makers judge the EU's effort at resolving the nuclear crisis as a success. "It is true, we have not been able to convince Iran to improve international confidence by suspending critical nuclear activities" the EU official stated. "However, after initially being skeptical of Europe's involvement, Washington is now fully supportive of a negotiated agreement along the lines proposed by the EU," he argued.

Grzegorz M. Poznanski, deputy director of the Department for Security Policy at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concurred on April 17. "The EU involvement in the talks with Iran is an example for the union's ambition to become involved in big issues and [that it] has the teeth to do just that," he said. "This is not the EU's fault that there has been no success so far in resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran."[9]

EU Versus NATO

For most Europeans, NATO is responsible for their collective defense, although the EU has increasingly expressed a desire for greater autonomy on defense issues since 1999. Thus, the EU is now in charge of several peacekeeping operations, and institutionally the European Defense Agency is supposed to oversee and coordinate procurement of military hardware.

Despite these aspirations and in spite of the fact that it will have a serious impact on European security, the EU has remained all but mum on a recent headline issue: the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. The issue has instead been left to NATO, where differences between Europeans persist. Although some countries call for a stronger link to NATO or even an integration of U.S. missile defense capabilities into an alliance-wide defense, Warsaw and Prague have so far not been willing to give other NATO members a say on the timing, scope, and content of bilateral agreements under negotiation with Washington. That dispute was not resolved at the April 2-4 NATO summit in Bucharest, which gave basic support for a missile defense system but left details to be resolved.

Early on, Solana, who had been head of NATO before becoming the EU's foreign policy chief, decided that the EU should not become involved in the issue. Initially, Solana argued that the EU lacked the capability to develop its own missile defense system and therefore was not able to take a position on the bilateral agreements under negotiation between the United States and two EU member states. On April 3, Solana presented the Romanian newspaper Adevarul with another reason for European lack of action by stating that, "under the Treaty of the European Union, the EU is developing a foreign and security policy which does not extend for the time being to territorial defense. This aspect falls under national responsibility and, for some of our member states, this means through NATO."[10]

The senior official from an EU member state backed Solana by arguing for a pragmatic course of action. "When thinking about whether to discuss an arms control issue in the EU or in NATO, you have to consider where you can make most progress," he cautioned. "On missile defense, little would be gained by raising the issue in the EU."

Ondrej Liska, deputy chairman for foreign affairs of the Green Party, who is the junior partner in the Czech government, offered a different view. "There are provisions in the Treaty on the EU that could have been used to initiate such a debate [on missile defense,] but the member states have not found the courage and the will to get rid of their old protective mentalities," he wrote.[11] Liska argued that "the U.S. intentions are to have lasting and profound impacts on the foreign and security policy of the EU."

Early attempts to explore possibilities for a joint position on missile defense within the EU apparently did not get very far. Poznanski said that "Poland has informed its European partners about its plans concerning missile defense, both bilaterally, and ad hoc in the EU Council, when EU partners have requested such briefings." To date, the EU Council has not taken a stance on the issue.

Privately, EU officials admit that the EU could have played a more active role on missile defense, and some argue it should have been more assertive. Concerns about the lack of official EU involvement are also widespread among members of the European Parliament. Karl von Wogau, Conservative chairman of the European Parliament's Security and Defense Subcommittee, argued that it would have been "desirable" if the planned deployment of missile defense components in the Czech Republic and Poland "would have been agreed at the European level."[12]

The debate is taking place against renewed fears that Europe might once again find itself in the uncomfortable middle between Russia and the United States. Wogau points out that the European Parliament wants to ensure that "Europe is not separated into zones with different levels of security." Wogau argues that NATO "has to take into account specific European security interests" in setting up a future missile defense system's infrastructure and command structure. He believes that NATO has now accepted this point of view because the communiqué of the April 2-4 Bucharest summit reaffirms "the principle of the indivisibility of Allied security as well as NATO solidarity."[13]

Asked about the dangers of renewed conflict between the East and West in Europe, Poznanski replied that he does not believe "that there is a possibility of going back to the Cold War in Europe. There are several institutionalized dialogues on strategic issues taking place between the EU, Russia, and the United States, including the NATO-Russia dialogue. The EU can play an important role as a partner to both the United States and Russia. This should be seen as an opportunity to be seized, rather than as a risk to be faced."

The EU's lack of a coherent position on missile defense is lamented by many, but its silence on another key European security crisis, Russia's suspension of the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), is widely accepted. Solana has repeatedly called the CFE Treaty a "cornerstone of European security," but the treaty's demise has not been an issue for the EU as a whole,[14] primarily because NATO has historically coordinated its member states' positions on conventional arms control. Thus, a French diplomat highlighted the fact that the EU "is at an disadvantage" vis-à-vis NATO because the alliance has a long track record of dealing with issues such as the CFE Treaty and missile defense.[15]

Nuclear Disarmament

With review conferences on the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions recently concluded, the next diplomatic nonproliferation challenge for the EU will be to develop a strong common position for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Common positions are binding agreements adopted by the EU Council and designed to make cooperation more systematic and improve its coordination.

Many EU officials remain concerned about the stalemate on strategic nuclear arms control between Russia and the United States. In a statement to the European Parliament on April 8, Solana warned of "the difficulties that we may be facing in 2009 and 2010 when all the major agreements on disarmament will come up for renewal." The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will expire at the end of next year and the NPT review conference will take place just a few months later. Solana stated that "it will be important for the EU and its citizens to have the possibility of avoiding a vacuum between now and then" and urged the United States and Russia to "renew" START and reaffirm past unilateral pledges on nuclear disarmament, which he described as "fundamental pillars of our strategic security."[16]

Hopes for a more active EU arms control policy have been fueled by recent British and French statements on nuclear disarmament. Each country continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal but both recently announced cuts in their numbers of operational warheads. The French diplomat insisted that President Nicolas Sarkozy in his March 21 speech on nuclear deterrence had made "unprecedented gestures" for a nuclear-weapon state, for example by publicly announcing that the fact the force de frappe now maintains fewer than 300 nuclear warheads. He called the nuclear disarmament section of the speech "innovative."[17]

The United Kingdom recently announced a 20 percent cut in the number of operational warheads, and unusual for any nuclear-weapon state, British Defense Secretary Des Brown in a statement before the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament on February 5 recognized that nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation are connected, implying that continued reliance on nuclear deterrence may fuel proliferation.[18]

EU officials express caution about the significance of the shifts in British and French nuclear policies. The EU official described the two countries' statements in favor of progress on nuclear disarmament as helpful but warned that "it is too early to tell" whether they reflect a substantive shift, enabling a more proactive EU policy on some nuclear arms control issues. Poznanski pointed out that the United Kingdom's position on nuclear disarmament is "not surprising" because its work on nuclear arms control verification "has been going on for several years." He also stated that there is "a possibility of a French change of mood on nuclear arms control. This would potentially raise the lowest common denominator on nuclear arms control in the EU, especially in the light of 2010 NPT Review Conference."

The EU also has a problem in forging common positions on other issues on the nuclear nonproliferation agenda, such as the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal. Annalisa Giannella, Solana's personal representative on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), has repeatedly warned that preferential treatment for India will undermine the EU's efforts to bring third countries to accept and implement tougher export control standards. Giannella has also voiced concerns about the deal's overall impact on the nonproliferation regime. Thus, she stated at a conference in Madrid in November that "only when solutions are discussed and agreed in a multilateral framework [are they] felt as legitimate and have a chance to be fully respected." Giannella went on to state that this is why "the nuclear deal with India has raised and continues to raise so many questions from the point of view of the credibility of the NPT. We have here a case where a country is rewarded without adhering to all the rules subscribed by the vast majority."[19]

These isolated warnings, however, do not necessarily reflect the consensus among member states. The EU official conceded that early attempts to develop a joint position among the 27 EU members on the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal have not been conclusive so far and have been abandoned because of significant differences among member states.

Nuclear-weapon states France and the United Kingdom openly support the agreement while many other EU members remain opposed.

The development of a coherent European position on the spread of proliferation-sensitive technologies is also complicated by France's desire to boost exports from its powerful nuclear industry, particularly to the Middle East. Since Sarkozy was elected president in May 2007, Paris has concluded bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with Algeria, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates and is preparing such agreements with Jordan, Morocco, and Qatar. No attempt has apparently been made to coordinate these potentially proliferation-sensitive sales through the EU. For this, France has been criticized by one of its closest partners, Germany. Asked about Sarkozy's policy to promote nuclear energy exports to the Middle East, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung December 17, 2007, that he "cannot recommend to view nuclear energy as the solution to the world's energy problems and to spread nuclear reactor across the world and in regions where there is no guarantee that this technology will be handled competently and where no sufficient certainty exists regarding political stability."[20]

Different interests and backgrounds complicate the creation of a united EU position on the multilateralization of nuclear fuel cycle activities. Officially, the EU supports efforts to establish safe fuel-supply mechanisms that fulfill four criteria. According to a joint EU paper submitted to the 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee, these factors should be proliferation resistance, assurance of supply, a balance of rights and obligations, and market neutrality.[21] In reality, member states have now put forward a variety of proposals that are not necessarily complementary. Thus, the four supplier states, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, initially all supported the six-nation Concept for a Multilateral Mechanism for Reliable Access to Nuclear Fuel, submitted in June 2006.[22]

Germany, which has a national policy of phasing out nuclear energy, also has submitted its own proposal on a "Multilateral Enrichment Sanctuary Project," which calls for the establishment of a new enrichment facility in a special area under control of the IAEA.[23] Notably, Germany is the only nuclear fuel supplier that is not a partner country of the U.S. Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which some in Berlin view as not sufficiently taking into account the interests of potential recipient states.

Austria, which is not using nuclear energy for electricity production, also has introduced its own proposal on a gradual multilateralization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and the United Kingdom is pursuing its idea of issuing "enrichment bonds" as a means of guaranteeing enrichment services.[24]

Technical Support for Nonproliferation

Because progress on many major arms control issues has largely eluded the EU, it has shifted attention to other topics, such as monetary support for international arms control bureaucracies, strengthening of export control regimes, and better national implementation of nonproliferation commitments.

Since the European Security Strategy was adopted, the EU has adopted a dozen joint actions to support multilateral regimes and institutions involved in tackling nonproliferation and disarmament issues, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the 1540 Committee. Joint actions are coordinated actions by EU member states involving the mobilization of resources in order to attain specific objectives set by the EU Council.

Most recently, it adopted two such actions on April 14, one giving 7.7 million euros to support the IAEA's work on nuclear security and verification and one appropriating 2.1 million euros to support the World Health Organization's biosafety and biosecurity programs. The bulk of European nonproliferation funding still goes toward Global Partnership programs, aimed at dismantling and securing the WMD legacy in Russia and other post-Soviet states. In addition to pledges by member states, the EU has promised $1.4 billion toward the Global Partnership. Yet, some member states, particularly France and Italy, have been slow in implementing their pledges.[25]

In other cases, EU nonproliferation goals sound ambitious but get bogged down in bureaucratic infighting. EU arms control policies have long been hampered by competition between the European Commission (the executive body and main bureaucracy of the EU) and the Council of the European Union, which includes individual representatives from each of the EU member states.

For example, the EU Council in December 2006 endorsed a concept paper written by Giannella in cooperation with the European Commission on the creation of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Monitoring Center. The goal was to establish a cooperative working method for the EU Council Secretariat, the European Commission, and member states "to work together and ensure better synergy in the fight against the proliferation" of weapons of mass destruction, according to the EU's website.[26] Yet, a WMD center still does not exist, and the idea seems not to have moved beyond discussions on the issue. As Poznanski explains, "Reaching agreement on some of the big, strategic issues is not so easy when you work on the basis of the lowest common denominator, as we do in the EU. Therefore, the focus of the EU nonproliferation and arms control policies is often more on technical issues, where agreement can be reached more easily."

What Impact Will the Lisbon Treaty Have?

So far, the EU's ambition to become a more effective global actor on nonproliferation and arms control has been only partly realized. As the senior official from an EU member state admitted, "The EU's room [to] maneuver is limited on issues where member states' positions are too far apart, such as missile defense and the planned nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and India." Nonetheless, an institutional streamlining of the EU's foreign policy, a possible reassessment of its arms control goals, and a redefinition of its relationship with NATO may all lead to a more energetic EU approach to arms control and nonproliferation issues in the future.

Progress on urgently needed institutional reforms was delayed for several years by the 2005 failure of an effort to win approval from some member states for a constitutional treaty that would have strengthened the union's foreign and security policy apparatus. The December 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which copies most of the constitution's provisions on foreign and security policy issues, could help make the EU's foreign policy more efficient and effective. That treaty still must be ratified by most EU member states but is expected to enter into force as early as January 1, 2009. Among the most visible changes in the foreign policy sphere will be the new posts of EU president, to be elected for two and a half years, and high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, effectively the union's foreign minister. The high representative will be "double-hatted," meaning that he or she will act in personal union as vice president of the European Commission and as the EU Council's representative on foreign policy, a potentially difficult combination. "This will be a mission impossible," the EU official warned.

The future role of the high representative will likely depend on his or her personality as well as interaction with the EU president. Potentially, the high representative could take the lead in representing EU member states collectively in arms control negotiations, such as in the talks with Iran.

According to press reports, Solana will continue to serve as high representative at least during an interim period when the Lisbon Treaty is being put into practice, which some say could last from months to a few years.[27]

Another novelty under the Lisbon Treaty is the European External Action Service (EEAS), which will consist of EU Council and European Commission staff as well as diplomats seconded from member states. The EEAS will assist the high representative but potentially also represent the EU as a whole abroad and in international organizations, including nonproliferation regimes. Although many details of the service's funding, role, and composition remain to be worked out, it is likely to create at least some bureaucratic pressure toward a more coherent EU foreign and security policy. An early indication of the bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome is the fact that the European Council Secretariat and the European Commission are preparing separate proposals on the EEAS. Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty will also help to consolidate the complex EU funding structure on arms control and nonproliferation, although the European Commission and the EU Council will continue to operate separate budgets.

Meanwhile, some unlikely connections appear between entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and arms control. Liska indicated that there have been signals from elements of the Czech Conservative coalition party that it would link ratification of the Lisbon Treaty to the ratification of the bilateral agreement between Washington and Prague on the construction of a missile defense radar site. "I personally would consider that as a form of unacceptable blackmail," Liska said.

A New Security Strategy?

Against the background of the upcoming fifth anniversary of the ESS, EU member states are currently considering whether to update Europe's security strategy. The idea of revising the ESS had originally been put forward in August 2007 by Sarkozy, who wanted to push for a "bolder" EU.[28] On December 14, 2007, the EU Council asked Solana "to examine the implementation of the [ESS] with a view to proposing elements on how to improve the implementation and, as appropriate, elements to complement it, for adoption by the European Council in December 2008."[29]

That process, which could likely result in an annex to the ESS, is ongoing. According to the EU official, several proposals have been floated following Sarkozy's statement, but member states have not formally agreed on any specific course of action. The official also stated that no concrete preparations are currently taking place for an updated WMD strategy. Decisions on a revision of an ESS, including a possible update of the WMD strategy, are likely to be taken under the French EU presidency during the second half of 2008.

Several decision-makers support such a review, echoing the point made by Poznanski that "a review or an update of the [ESS] might be opportune because we will have a new institutional setting for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Strategy after the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, with the new position of high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and the [EEAS]." Such a review, however, may not necessarily lead to a more ambitious text. The senior official cautioned that a revision may not be in the interest of those that support the goals in the ESS because discussions may not result in a more ambitious document.

A New Division of Labor With NATO?

The EU's role on arms control issues will also be influenced by the future division of labor between NATO and EU. The relation between the two Brussels-based organizations on foreign and defense issues has always been competitive. A new push to realign the two institutions may be facilitated by the intention of the French government to rejoin NATO's integrated military structure. Given the interest of some within NATO to give the alliance a stronger role in nonproliferation and counterproliferation issues, such a development may also force the EU to reassert its role on nonproliferation and arms control issues.

So far, attempts to raise NATO's arms control profile seem not to have borne fruit. On December 7, Steinmeier and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Støre called in a bilateral statement for NATO countries "to do more for disarmament."[30] In reaction, the NATO council launched a review, of which the Bucharest summit took note. Yet, NATO leaders merely tasked the NATO council to keep the alliance's contribution to arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation "under active review."[31] The goal apparently is to prepare another report on arms control for NATO's 60th anniversary summit next year.

During that summit, NATO is also expected to launch a long-planned review of its 1999 Strategic Concept. A new Strategic Concept would have to address the role of nuclear deterrence in alliance strategy, a topic with implications also for European nonproliferation policies. Not only would the two European nuclear-weapon states have to be part of such an agreement, the United States still deploys nuclear weapons in three EU non-nuclear-weapon states-Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Liska argues that this is an issue where Europe should act. "The EU should go ahead with disarmament initiatives even alone and set an example to the rest of the world," he said. "It should negotiate the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from its territory and start reducing its own arsenal."

In the end, Europe's ability to become a more effective actor on nonproliferation and disarmament will depend first on overcoming internal divisions and reducing the role of nuclear deterrence. Second, the EU will have to develop joint arms control agendas with Russia and most importantly with the United States. As a new administration takes over in Washington, the old diplomatic chestnut that the EU will have to become more effective and the United States more multilateral will gain new urgency.

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Oliver Meier is the Arms Control Association's international representative and correspondent based in Berlin and a researcher with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg.


1. See Oliver Meier and Gerrard Quille, "Testing Time for Europe's Nonproliferation Strategy," Arms Control Today, May 2005, pp. 4-12.

2. In the EU-3+3 talks, negotiators representing the EU's three largest countries (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) plus the EU's high representative on foreign policy have been negotiating on behalf of the EU together with permanent Security Council members China, Russia, and the United States.

3. Senior official from an EU member state, telephone interview with author, April 14, 2008.

4. "U.S.-Geheimdienstbericht zum iranischen Atomprogramm," Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Fraktion BÜNDNIS90/Die Grünen, Printed matter 16/7702, January 10, 2008.

5. EU official, telephone interview with author, April 14, 2008.

6. "France Warning of War with Iran," BBC News, September 17, 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6997935.stm.

7. "Brief Remarks by Javier Solana," European Council Press Release S348/07, November 30, 2007.

8. "Solana Hopes to Meet Iranian Negotiator for Talks," Xinhua, March 16, 2008.

9. Grzegorz M. Poznanski, telephone interview with author, April 17, 2008.

10. "HR Solana Interview for Adevarul," April 3, 2008, www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/sghr_int/99717.pdf.

11. Ondrej Liska, e-mail communication with author, April 22, 2008.

12. Karl von Wogau, e-mail communication with author, April 16, 2008.

13. "Bucharest Summit Declaration," NATO Press Release 2008(049), April 3, 2008.

14. See, for example, "Speech by Javier Solana at the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy," Munich, February 10, 2008.

15. French diplomat, interview with author, April 4, 2008.

16. "Address by Javier Solana," Council of the European Union, S129/08, April 8, 2008.

17. "Speech by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic at the Presentation of Le Terrible in Cherbourg," March 21, 2008.

18. Des Browne, "Laying the Foundations for Multilateral Disarmament," Speech at the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, February 5, 2008.

19. "EU Aide Worried by Calls to Drop India WMD Clause," Reuters, March 2, 2007; Council of the European Union, "Speech by Mrs. Annalisa Giannella at a Seminar on Nuclear Proliferation," Madrid, November 6, 2007.

20. "Das deutsch-französische Verhältnis pflegen wir nicht aus bloßer Tradition," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 17, 2007 (interview with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier).

21. Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, "Multilateralization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle/Guarantees of Access to the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy," NPT/CONF.2010/PC.I/WP.61, May 9, 2007.

22. "Communication Dated 31 May 2006 Received from the Permanent Missions of France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America," IAEA, GOV/INF/2006/10, June 1, 2006.

23. "Communication Received from the Resident Representative of Germany to the IAEA With Regard to the German Proposal on the Multilateralization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle," IAEA, INFCIRC/704, May 4, 2007.

24. Oliver Meier, "News Analysis: The Growing Nuclear Fuel-Cycle Debate," Arms Control Today, November 2006, pp. 40-44.

25. See Paul Walker, "Looking Back: Kananaskis at Five," Arms Control Today, September 2007, pp. 47-52.

26. "EU Strategy Against the Proliferation of WMD," Council of the European Union, 16694/06, December 12, 2006.

27. See Mark Beunderman, "EU Faces Raft of Open Questions Over Diplomatic Service," EUobserver.com, November 27, 2007.

28. John Thornhill, "Sarkozy in Drive to Give EU Global Role," FT.com, August 28, 2007.

29. "Brussels European Council 14 December 2007 Presidency Conclusions," Council of the European Union, 16616/1/07 REV 1, February 14, 2008.

30. "Germany and Norway Call for NATO Disarmament Initiative," Federal Foreign Office Press Release, Berlin, December 7, 2007.

31. "Bucharest Summit Declaration."


France Upgrades, Trims Nuclear Arsenal

Wade Boese

Showcasing France’s newest nuclear-armed submarine March 21, French President Nicolas Sarkozy extolled the enduring value of nuclear weapons to his country’s security while he also vowed to reduce their numbers. The French president further called on other states to dismantle their nuclear weapons testing facilities and forswear certain missiles.

Sarkozy, elected last May, delivered his first major speech on France’s nuclear weapons and nuclear policy at the Cherbourg shipyard where the country’s newest ballistic missile submarine, Le Terrible, was on display. That vessel is the fourth of the Le Triomphant-class and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2010 and armed with France’s newest ballistic missile, the M51.1. The submarine will carry 16 of the missiles, which have an estimated range of at least 6,000 kilometers and are capable of carrying six nuclear warheads.

Sarkozy noted that the addition of Le Terrible and the M51.1 ballistic missile, which will be retrofitted on the other three Le Triomphant­-class submarines, is only part of France’s effort to modernize its nuclear forces. He also said that the Rafale combat aircraft this year will start carrying the upgraded, nuclear-armed ASMP-A cruise missile. The Rafale is replacing the Mirage 2000N and Super Étendard as France’s nuclear delivery aircraft. France previously eliminated all of its ground-launched nuclear-weapon systems.

Nonetheless, Sarkozy announced that France would reduce its force of air-delivered nuclear warheads by one-third. He said the move would lower the overall French stockpile to less than 300 warheads, a total that Sarkozy said was “half of the maximum number of warheads we had during the Cold War.” Although nuclear-armed states jealously guard details about their arsenals, public estimates suggest France would still field the third-largest nuclear arsenal behind Russia and the United States, which both possess several thousand nuclear warheads.

Although declining in numbers, Sarkozy emphasized that French nuclear weapons were not diminishing in importance. He described the weapons as the “ultimate guarantee” of France’s independence and “decision-making autonomy.”

After singling out Iran as a growing threat, Sarkozy warned that “all those who would threaten our vital interests would expose themselves to severe retaliation.” He also claimed a European role for France’s nuclear weapons, declaring, “By their very existence, French nuclear forces are a key element in Europe’s security. Any aggressor who might consider challenging it must be mindful of this.” Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, in a similar 2006 address had invited other European states to discuss a “common [European] defense that would take into account…existing deterrent forces.” (See ACT, March 2006 .) There was little response.

Sarkozy indicated a decision to use nuclear weapons would not be taken lightly. He argued French nuclear weapons were “strictly defensive” and that their use “would clearly be conceivable only in extreme circumstances of legitimate defense.”

Turning to other nuclear-armed powers, Sarkozy urged them to follow France’s lead by dismantling their nuclear weapons testing facilities. He also specifically called on China and the United States to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the two countries have signed. France in April 1998 ratified that accord, which outlaws nuclear explosions, and three months later completed dismantlement of its nuclear testing center.

Sarkozy also asked China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to join France in “transparency measures.” He did not specify what those measures were, but he invited foreign experts to verify the dismantlement of France’s two military fissile material production plants, Pierrelatte and Marcoule. In 1996, France announced it had ceased producing fissile material, plutonium and highly enriched uranium, for weapons purposes. In his Cherbourg speech, Sarkozy reiterated French support for starting long-stalled talks on a global fissile material production ban for arms.

In addition, Sarkozy endorsed negotiations to ban short- and intermediate-range surface-to-surface missiles. Such a prohibition would not affect the M51.1, which is a long-range missile, or the air-launched ASMP-A cruise missile. Sarkozy’s call follows a February Russian proposal to institute a global ban on ground-launched short- to intermediate-range missiles, which the United States and Russia have already forsworn through the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. (See ACT, March 2008 .)

Sarkozy’s nuclear agenda resembles that enunciated over the past year by the United Kingdom. The British government decided early last year to explore developing a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines while it touted a decision to cut its operational nuclear forces to fewer than 160 warheads. (See ACT, January/February 2007 .) Des Browne, the British defense minister, also recently invited American, Chinese, French, and Russian nuclear weapons scientists to participate in a future conference on verifying nuclear disarmament. (See ACT, March 2008 .)

Bring the Adapted CFE Treaty into Force


International Appeal

This appeal was initiated by former diplomats and senior research associates from different nations and research institutions in Europe and North America in order to support the ratification of the Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The treaty is a key element of the European security structure and an indispensable political symbol of security cooperation which should not be destroyed.

It is with great concern that we, the undersigned, note the Russian Federation’s announcement that it intends to suspend implementation of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty on December 12, 2007. We fear that such a move could not only doom the CFE Treaty, but that it also could prevent the entry into force of the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty, thus risking a collapse of the entire CFE regime. Such a development would undermine cooperative security in Europe and lead to new dividing lines and confrontation.

The CFE Treaty is a cornerstone of European security and the key element of the cooperative approach to security as agreed upon in the Charter of Paris of November 1990. The accord’s invaluable verification regime, including regular information exchanges and on-site inspections, has shown that confidence and security can be better achieved through cooperation and openness than by competition and secrecy. Additionally, stability throughout Europe is increased by adherence to specific limitations.

But now, due to disagreements between NATO and Russia,the whole regime is in serious danger. Russia asserts that the combination of NATO expansion and the alliance’s failure to ratify the Adapted CFE Treaty threaten Russian security. NATO states claim thatthe continued presence of Russian forces in Georgia and Moldova, despite a prior commitment by Moscow that they will be withdrawn, does not permit ratification of the revised accord. We firmly believe thatall the states-parties should abide by the core CFE principles and that current disagreements must not be allowed to erode or destroy a regime fundamental to the security of the whole of Europe.

The CFE Treaty made a substantial contribution to ending the Cold War, enabling the peaceful unification of Germany and the peaceful transformation of the states of Central Europe and the successor states of the Soviet Union, and preventing inter-state conventional war in Europe. Indeed, the treaty resulted in the destruction of more than 60,000 heavy conventional weapons and the eliminationin Europe of capabilities for large-scale offensive action and surprise attack. Conventional stability also contributes to making nuclear weapons in Europe unnecessary.

Beyond that, the CFE Treaty has contributed to stabilizing sub-regional military power relations and to limiting sub-regional arms races. The treaty also has provided a model for regulating the military aspects of violent conflicts in Southeast Europe. If the CFE regime is maintained, it can serve as a model for other regional peace and stability processes.

Bringing the Adapted CFE Treaty into force is an important means to include more states in an integrated European arms control regime and thus maintain and extend key elements of security cooperation in Europe. Entry into force of the Adapted CFE Treaty also is necessary to ensure that the instruments of European security cooperation keep pace with the global challenges to European security today, including the new threats posed by transnational terrorist actors. Its loss will resurrect past problems and yesterday’smistrust.

We therefore appeal to the governments of all CFE states-parties to preserve the CFE regime and bring into force the Adapted Treaty as early as possible. Ratification by those who have not yet done so should go hand in hand with constructive new approaches to resolve current disputes.

All states and peoples of Europe would lose if the CFE regime, an unprecedented instrument for the preservation of peace and with greatest importance to Europe’s future, would now be destroyed.

Signatures (As of November 28, 2007)

Altes, Edy Korthals, Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Beach, Sir Hugh, General (ret.), The United Kingdom

Bertram, Christoph, former Director of The International Institute of Strategic Studies, London,
and former Head of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin

Boden, Deiter, Ambassador (ret.), Deputy Head of the CFE Delegation of the Federal Republic
of Germany (1989-1992)

Boese, Wade, Research Director, Arms Control Association, Washington

Brzoska, Michael, Director, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of

Croll, Peter J., Director, Bonn International Center for Conversion

Czempiel, Ernst-Otto, former Executive Director of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Dean, Jonathan, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions
Delegation of the United States

Dorn, Walter, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group

Dunay, Pal, Faculty Member, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and former Legal Advisor of
the CFE Delegation of Hungary

Dunkerley, Craig G., Ambassador (ret.), former Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for CFE, The
United States

Ekéus, Rolf, Chairman, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Finney, John, British Pugwash Group

Gärtner, Heinz, Austrian Institute for International Affairs

Gessenharter, Wolfgang, Helmut Schmidt University of the German Armed Forces, Hamburg

Goldblat, Jozef, Vice President, Geneva International Peace Research Institute, and Resident Senior
Fellow, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva

Gyarmati, Istvan, Ambassador, Director, International Centre for Democratic Transition, and
former Head of the CFE Delegation of Hungary

Hartmann, Ruediger, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the CFE Delegation of the Federal
Republic of Germany and former Federal Government Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament

Hippel, Frank von, Professor, Princeton University, The United States

Joetze, Guenter, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the OSCE Delegation of Germany and
former President of the Federal College of Security Studies, Berlin

Keeny, Jr., Spurgeon M., former Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency,
and former Head of Theater Nuclear Forces Delegation of the United States

Kelleher, Catherine McArdle, Professor, Watson Institute, Brown University and University of
Maryland, The United States

Kimball, Daryl G., Executive Director, Arms Control Association, Washington

Klein, Jean, Professor, Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and Research Associate, French
Institute for International Relations

Kryvonos, Yuriy, Colonel (ret.), Senior Officer, Conflict Prevention Centre, OSCE Secretariat, and
former Head of the Conventional Arms Division of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lachowski, Zdzislaw, Senior Researcher and Project Leader of the Conventional Arms Control
Project, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Lever, Sir Paul, Ambassador (ret.), Chairman, Royal United Services Institute, and former Head
of CFE Delegation of the United Kingdom

Lodgard, Sverre, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

McCausland, Jeffrey D., Visiting Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Penn State
Dickinson School of Law, and former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council Staff, The United States

Meerburg, Arend J., Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Mendelsohn, Jack, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University and American University,
and former U.S. Representative on NATO’s Special Political Committee for Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions

Mueller, Harald, Director, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Mutz, Reinhard, former Acting Director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the
University of Hamburg

Neuneck, Götz, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy,
University of Hamburg, and Germany Pugwash Group

Resor, Stanley R., Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions
Delegation of the United States

Rhinelander, John, former Legal Advisor to U.S. Strategic Arms Limitation Delegation

Sharp, Jane, Kings College, The United Kingdom

Schmidt, Hans-Joachim, Senior Research Fellow, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Staack, Michael, Director, Department of Social Sciences, Helmut Schmidt University of the German
Armed Forces, Germany

Steinbruner, John, Director of the Center for International and Security Studies, University of
Maryland, and Chairman, Arms Control Association, Washington

Tetzlaff, Rainer, Board of Trustees, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of
Hamburg, and Lecturer, Europe College, Hamburg

Trenin, Dmitri, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Deputy
Director, Carnegie Moscow Center

Wagenmakers, Henk, Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Zagorski, Andrei, Senior Research Fellow, Center for War and Peace Studies, Moscow State
Institute of International Relations

Zellner, Wolfgang, Deputy Director, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University
of Hamburg, and Head, Centre for OSCE Research

Country Resources:

Europe Eager to Preserve CFE Treaty

Wade Boese

Many European governments are increasingly anxious about the future of a treaty limiting conventional arms in Europe, but officials say there should be no cause for immediate alarm if Russia suspends implementation of the accord. The Kremlin maintains support for an updated version of that treaty and, in a related move, recently withdrew some Russian military forces from Georgia.

Completed the year before the Soviet Union’s 1991 disintegration, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty placed equal caps on the battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that the two superpowers and their allies could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Aiming to avert massive surprise attacks by either bloc, the treaty limited how many forces could be stationed in central Europe and concentrated in Europe’s northern and southern regions, the so-called flanks.

Referred to as a “cornerstone” of European security, the CFE Treaty is typically hailed for leading to the destruction of more than 60,000 weapons and building confidence and trust among its states-parties through an extensive verification regime. Last May, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice deemed the accord “one of the most important treaties of the 20th century.”

But with the Soviet Union’s collapse and NATO’s expansion to include 10 new members, including former Soviet allies and republics, the treaty’s value has waned in some eyes, most notably in Moscow. Consequently, CFE states-parties in 1999 negotiated an adapted version of the treaty, which among other things replaces the bloc arms limits with national weapons ceilings. (See ACT, November 1999. )

All 30 of the original treaty’s states-parties must ratify the adapted treaty for it to take effect, but only four have done so. The 22 CFE Treaty states-parties that are NATO members have been linking ratification of the adapted treaty to Russia fulfilling military withdrawal commitments regarding Georgia and Moldova. Russia made those pledges at the same summit at which the adapted treaty was completed.

Moscow contends the issues should not be linked and that the adapted treaty must be brought into force as quickly as possible to supplant the original treaty. One of Russia’s many criticisms of the older pact is that four NATO members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia) are not party to it and therefore do not have any arms limits. The four cannot join the original treaty because it lacks an accession provision, but they will be able to accede to the adapted treaty after it enters into force.

With U.S.-Russian tensions escalating over a Bush administration plan to install strategic anti-missile systems in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin in July announced Russia would stop implementing the original CFE Treaty in six months unless NATO addresses Russia’s raft of concerns with the accord. In November, the Russian parliament’s two chambers approved the possible Dec. 12 suspension.

Contemplating a Suspension

The United States and its European allies are urging Russia not to carry out its threat. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier co-authored an article published Oct. 29 in the newspapers Le Figaro and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warning that “an erosion of the CFE Treaty could spark new arms races and create new lines of confrontation.”

Several government officials from different European states told Arms Control Today in November interviews that the two foreign ministers’ concerns were principally of a long-term nature and that NATO members would work to prevent further confrontation even if Russia ceased implementing the CFE Treaty. Almost all of the officials asked not to be named and requested their country not be identified because of the sensitivity of the current situation.

All the officials agreed that the best result would be if Russia opted to “suspend its suspension.” A minority expressed hope that Russia might not act on its threat, but a majority seemed resigned that Moscow would not apply the brakes.

Russia has not been clear on what a suspension might entail. Russian officials have suggested that participation in inspections and data exchanges would cease, but they have not said whether Russia will stop attending meetings of the Joint Consultative Group, the treaty’s Vienna-based forum for implementation discussions. Moreover, Kremlin officials previously stated a suspension would not lead Russia to exceed its limits or redeploy its forces, but more recent media reports have quoted General Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff, as saying that such options would be kept open.

All the European government officials interviewed by Arms Control Today said NATO members likely would continue initially to provide data exchanges and notifications if Russia stopped. The purpose of doing so, they said, would be to maintain those channels for Russia to resume cooperation and to signal to other countries that one country’s choice not to abide by the treaty does not provide leeway for other states-parties to eschew their legal obligations. Aside from Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine are the other seven non-NATO CFE states-parties.

The officials generally downplayed possible Russian force buildups, at least in the short term, but acknowledged that concerns are greater for countries nearer Russian borders, such as the three Baltic countries, Norway, and Turkey. Several of the officials stressed, however, that “security cannot be divided.”

A Norwegian official interviewed Nov. 19 by Arms Control Today said his country has both “political and practical reasons” for preserving the CFE framework. But he noted that if Moscow were to increase its forces anywhere, it would most likely be in southern Russia.

A prolonged Russian suspension, some of the officials said, eventually could compel NATO countries to re-evaluate their defense planning. Michael Wyganowski, a former Polish diplomat who worked on CFE Treaty issues and is now executive director of the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis, told Arms Control Today Nov. 15 that absent data from Russia and arms limits on Russia, other European military planners would have to alter their “assumptions.” He speculated that if Russia walks away from the CFE regime, it could be a sign that Moscow sees military power playing a bigger role in its policy “toolbox.”

Still, the European government officials stressed the importance of not overreacting to a Russian suspension. In such a case, one official stated there would be no need to “panic,” while another official said it would be crucial to keep the “dialogue and doors open” with Russia.

During the past several months, the United States and its NATO allies have sought to persuade Russia to stave off the suspension, but some say the dialogue has been mostly one way. At multilateral meetings near Berlin and in Paris and at U.S.-Russian bilateral meetings in Moscow and Geneva, U.S. and European officials say the West offers proposals while Russia reiterates its problems and adds to its demands. One European official familiar with the talks told Arms Control Today Nov. 15 that there was “no sign that the Russians were seeking solutions to avoid a suspension.”

Georgia and Moldova

NATO members maintain they have insisted on conditioning the ratification of the adapted CFE Treaty in order to avoid having Georgia and Moldova feel abandoned. Both those governments want Russia’s forces to depart their two territories, and a key principle of the adapted treaty is that foreign deployed troops must have host-state consent.

Russia’s withdrawal from Moldova stalled in 2004, leaving approximately 1,200 Russian troops and about 21,000 metric tons of ammunition behind. But the Kremlin has been slowly reducing its forces in Georgia. In mid-November, Russia finished withdrawing its forces from the second of two bases it promised in 2005 to vacate. (See ACT, July/August 2005. ) With that step, only about 200 Russian troops, which Moscow says are peacekeepers, remain in Georgia.

A complicating factor in completing the withdrawals from Georgia and Moldova is that the remaining Russian forces are located in separatist territories. NATO members have volunteered financial assistance to facilitate the withdrawals and proposed that international peacekeepers replace the Russian troops. Moscow has declined these offers, claiming in part that the local ethnic Russian populations would not feel as safe with non-Russian soldiers.

Some NATO members in recent months have suggested starting ratification of the adapted treaty in conjunction with continued Russian withdrawal activities. On Nov. 5, David Kramer, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, testified to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe that the “goal” would be to “send a constructive signal to Moscow that NATO stands by this treaty.”

The Flanks

Despite its discontent with the original treaty, Moscow also is not entirely happy with the adapted treaty. For instance, Russia dislikes provisions that would allow some NATO members to host temporary deployments of foreign forces above their arms limits.

Another top Kremlin complaint is that the adapted treaty maintains modified versions of the original treaty’s flanks limits on Russia. Those caps constrain the amount of forces that Russia can deploy on its own northern and southern territory, including the unstable Caucasus region. Moscow is calling for the abolishment of its flanks limits.

There is no consensus among NATO members about what should be done with the flanks. But many of the officials interviewed by Arms Control Today said it would be impractical to “open up” the adapted treaty to deal with the flanks before the agreement entered into force. One official volunteered that a potential compromise could be a pledge by NATO to review the flanks issue after the adapted treaty’s entry into force.

Kouchner and Steinmeier appeared to hint at this option. Contending that all the current CFE Treaty disputes cannot be resolved in the short term, the two foreign ministers suggested governments should “proceed on the understanding that even after the entry into force of the Adapted CFE Treaty, the door will remain open for further amendments.”

U.S. Cuts Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Oliver Meier

The United States may have quietly removed all 130 nuclear weapons from its air force base in Ramstein, Germany. Before the withdrawal, Ramstein had been the biggest U.S. nuclear base in Europe. If true, the withdrawal means that there are probably about 350 U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, down from thousands at the height of the cold war.

In a July 9 report, Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists revealed that Ramstein is missing from a Jan. 27, 2007, list of NATO nuclear bases that are scheduled to receive a Nuclear Surety Staff Assistance Visit, a precursor for an inspection by a Nuclear Surety Inspection. Such an inspection must be passed every 18 month if nuclear bases want to remain certified for nuclear deployments.

If the weapons have been withdrawn, the German air force base at Büchel would be the only remaining U.S. nuclear base in Germany. Presumably, 20 U.S. B61 gravity bombs are deployed there under NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements. Under these arrangements, 140 weapons would still be assigned for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, none of which have their own nuclear arms. These weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime but can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.

Guy Roberts, NATO deputy assistant secretary-general for weapons of mass destruction policy and director for nuclear policy, told Arms Control Today Aug.1 that NATO “currently deploys a few hundred nuclear weapons in Europe.” In line with NATO custom, Roberts declined to provide any further information on NATO’s nuclear weapons practice or deployments.

The timing of a possible withdrawal and the reasons for it remain unclear. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported in 2005 that the weapons deployed in Ramstein may have been withdrawn for safety reasons during construction at the site. Kristensen now speculates that the bombs never returned.

NATO is currently conducting an internal debate on the future role of nuclear deterrence. A June 15 Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) communiqué welcomed discussions on “deterrence requirements for the twenty-first century.” Roberts explained that the alliance is reviewing its nuclear posture “as NATO goes through the process of agreeing on a new Strategic Concept possibly by 2009 or 2010.” Roberts expressed hope that a decision could be taken to report findings of those discussions during NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008 or no later than the 2009 spring defense ministerial. He said that the NATO secretariat would prefer an early agreement on a new nuclear doctrine.

Little detail about the scope or direction of those discussions is publicly available. Roberts said that, in ongoing discussions on NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture at the NPG and other NATO bodies, there was unanimity among NATO allies that nuclear deterrence, a U.S. nuclear presence in Europe, and burden sharing will remain vital. The NPG communiqué reiterates alliance doctrine that “NATO’s nuclear forces are maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability” and that the purpose of NATO nuclear weapons is “to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.” NATO member states, according to the statement, continue to view nuclear sharing as an “essential political and military link between the European and North American members” of the alliance. Roberts, however, conceded that there were different perceptions among allies on a range of other issues related to NATO’s nuclear posture.

Mixed Reactions

German officials declined to comment on the reports about a possible withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein, citing the government’s policy of not confirming or denying details of NATO nuclear deployments.

The two ruling parties of Germany’s governing coalition, the left-of-center Social Democrats and conservative Christian Democrats, reacted differently to the news. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, arms control spokesperson for the Christian Democrats, told the German online magazine stern.de July 13 that a partial withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons would not contribute necessarily “to departure of others, such as Iran, from their nuclear ambitions.”

Uta Zapf, Social Democrat and chair of the Bundestag’s subcommittee on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation, told Arms Control Today Aug. 10 that the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein is good news but “by itself does not signify a change in policy” because U.S. nuclear weapons remain deployed at Büchel and in five other European countries. “I think we should use the opportunity to push for a more fundamental debate about nuclear deterrence,” Zapf said.

German opposition parties are going further and are demanding a quick withdrawal of the remaining nuclear weapons. This debate is taking place against the background of persistent differences between the governing parties on the role of nuclear weapons. (See ACT, July/August 2006. )

Conventional Arms Treaty Dispute Persists

Wade Boese

Russia and NATO are still at odds over a European conventional arms pact despite an emergency meeting June 11-15 to discuss their differences. Russia is complaining that its long-standing concerns are still being ignored but has not suspended implementation of the treaty as it previously warned it might.

Anatoly Antonov, who heads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Security and Disarmament, asserted that other states paid only “lip service” to Russia’s positions at the Vienna gathering. The 26-member NATO alliance issued a statement expressing “regret” that no agreement could be reached.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had said in April that Russia might halt implementation of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which caps the number of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft that 30 countries can station between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Antonov said June 15, however, that a possible suspension was now “closer.”

Under a suspension or moratorium, Antonov explained, Russia would stop treaty inspections, notifications, and data exchanges. It would also consider moot weapons limits on Russian arms deployments in its northern and southern regions, or so-called flanks. But he said Moscow did not intend to increase its weapons deployments or withdraw from the treaty, which requires at least a 150-day advance notice.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, who led the U.S. delegation to the conference, told reporters June 12 that Russia had not indicated that a possible suspension was “imminent” but acknowledged that “it is certainly on the table.” A U.S. government official told Arms Control Today June 20 that “everybody is waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Citing “serious problems” with NATO behavior under the CFE Treaty, Moscow called May 28 for the “extraordinary conference” on the accord. Russian negotiators arrived at the Vienna gathering with a half-dozen “problems” to discuss.

Russia’s main complaint is that NATO countries are refusing to ratify a November 1999 revision of the agreement, known as the Adapted CFE Treaty. Entry into force of that updated accord requires ratification by all the original treaty states-parties. Thus far, however, only Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine have done so.

NATO members are postponing ratification of the adapted treaty, which replaces bloc and geographic arms limits with national weapon ceilings, until Russia withdraws its military forces from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova. Moscow pledged to do so in documents concluded in parallel with the revised accord at a summit in Istanbul. (See ACT, November 1999. ) Kremlin officials charge the NATO linkage is “artificial.”

Moscow is eager for the adapted treaty to take effect because it loosens Russian flank restrictions, enabling larger Russian force deployments in the volatile Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya. The Kremlin wants to eventually negotiate away the flank limits entirely, but NATO countries have not agreed to do so.

The adapted treaty also contains an accession clause not included in the original treaty. Russian officials are unhappy that NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia are outside the treaty and without weapons limits. The four states have pledged to join the adapted treaty when the option becomes available.

NATO governments maintain that Russia holds the key to making this happen by ending its military presence in Georgia and Moldova.

Russia is working to close two remaining bases in Georgia by the end of 2008. But Georgia charges Russia has not fully abandoned another base, Gudauta, as claimed. This base is located in Abkhazia, a separatist region in Georgia.

The Kremlin’s withdrawal from Moldova has been stalled since 2004. Approximately 1,300 Russian forces remain inside the breakaway region of Transdniestria, where some of the troops are guarding a 21,000-metric-ton ammunition stockpile.

At the June conference, NATO members reiterated proposals to help Russia exit the two states. They suggested that multinational peacekeepers replace Russian forces in Moldova and that a voluntary international fund help pay for the destruction and removal of the ammunition. They also reaffirmed a German offer to lead a fact-finding mission to Gudauta to assess its status.

The Russian delegation dismissed the NATO proposals as nothing new and said the Georgian and Moldovan situations were being handled bilaterally. It insisted that NATO members should start ratifying the adapted treaty or that all CFE states-parties should provisionally apply the updated accord no later than July 1, 2008. NATO opposes this proposal.

The Russian and NATO delegations left the conference saying they were open to further talks, and Germany offered to host another conference for that purpose this fall.

U.S. Reaffirms Europe Anti-Missile Plan

Wade Boese

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 7 proposal to share radar data on missiles with the United States might be an earnest offer, a cynical ploy to undercut U.S. plans to base anti-missile systems in Europe, or both. Regardless, U.S. leaders say they will continue their current missile defense approach despite strong Russian opposition.

Meeting with President George W. Bush in Heiligendamm, Germany, Putin volunteered the “joint use” of the Russian-leased Gabala radar in Azerbaijan. Putin implied the radar could be used to peer south into Iran, which the United States estimates could develop long-range missiles to strike all of Europe or the United States before 2015. Washington claims its plan to station 10 strategic ground-based midcourse interceptors in Poland and an X-band radar in the Czech Republic is to protect against a growing Iranian threat and poses no danger to Russia.

Putin further suggested that if an actual threat materialized, interceptors could be deployed in southern Europe, Iraq, or on naval ships instead of in Poland, where Moscow contends interceptors could reach into Russia. The interceptors endorsed by Putin would be technically different than those planned for Poland. Instead of aiming to collide with warheads in space, the alternative interceptors would be designed to destroy missiles in their boost phase, when a missile’s rocket engines are still burning shortly after launch.

Although U.S. officials expressed surprise at Putin’s proposal, this is not the first time he has made it. Putin floated essentially the same concept in June 2000 when President Bill Clinton was weighing deployment of a nationwide U.S. defense. (See ACT, July/August 2000. )

Washington rejected the proposal then, in part, on the basis that the technology was not available. The United States currently has programs that might produce ship- and land-based interceptors for boost-phase testing around 2014. (See ACT, June 2007. )

Bush welcomed Putin’s ideas as “interesting.” The two leaders agreed experts from both sides will explore the Russian proposal.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials maintain they will not pause their current effort. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal June 8 that “we’re going to continue to work this with Poland and the Czech Republic.” Engaging with Russia, she added, “doesn’t mean that you are going to get off course on what you’re trying to do.”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates informed reporters June 14 that the United States saw Putin’s proposal on the Gabala radar as “an additional capability” and not a substitute for the proposed Czech-based radar. The Gabala radar is a Soviet-era early-warning radar designed to spot and track missiles shortly after launch, while X-band radars are supposed to provide more precise flight-tracking data and pick a warhead out of a target cluster flying through space.

The U.S. reaction was not what the Kremlin wanted. Talking to reporters June 8, Putin stated, “[W]e hope that no unilateral action will be taken until these consultations and talks have concluded.” Similarly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a Moscow press briefing the next day declared, “[I]t is necessary as a minimum to freeze all the actions in deploying missile defense elements in Europe for a period of at least the study of our proposals.”

Russian officials assert there is no urgency to field anti-missile systems in Europe. They project a long-range Iranian missile threat as at least 15 to 20 years away. Even if Tehran moved more rapidly, Putin claimed June 7 that a three- to five-year lag would occur between the initial test and deployment of long-range missiles, permitting time for defenses to be erected.

Indeed, Putin’s Gabala radar proposal is about sharing data with the United States in order to form a common or joint assessment of Iran’s capabilities. Before initiating any possible defense schemes, such as Putin’s boost-phase concept, there should be mutual agreement about the threat, a Russian government official told Arms Control Today June 14.

Putin suggested as much June 8. “We propose carrying out a real assessment of the missile threats for the period through to 2020 and agreeing on what joint steps we can take to counter these threats,” the president explained to reporters.

The same day, Anatoly Antonov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Security and Disarmament, stated, “Only after concrete answers are obtained to questions about the nature and trends of missile proliferation should it be decided whether and what military-technical means are needed to repulse this threat.” He later noted that missile defenses should be “the last resort…when all the alternative measures have been exhausted.”

Moscow’s apparent assumption is that data from the Gabala radar will support their position that Iran poses no near-term threat, obviating U.S. plans. “Joint use of the information which this radar station obtains makes it possible…to give up the plans of deploying missile defense elements in Europe,” Lavrov said.

If the United States does not abandon or alter its current missile defense plans for Europe, Russian officials say there will be consequences. On June 8, Putin reiterated warnings that Russia would “target” the Polish and Czech anti-missile sites if they are built.

Putin’s comments followed a May 29 flight test of what Russian officials claimed was a new multiple-warhead ICBM capable of penetrating defenses. Referred to as an RS-24 by Russian officials, the missile is apparently a modified version of Russia’s most modern missile, the single-warhead Topol-M.

In a Jan. 1 data exchange, Russia claimed a total force of 530 ICBMs, of which 44 are silo-based Topol-Ms and three are mobile Topol-Ms. The United States currently deploys 500 silo-based ICBMs but plans to cut 50 of these missiles. (See ACT, May 2007.)

Washington has sought to soften Moscow’s hostility by publicly expressing interest in missile defense cooperation with Russia. But Putin June 4 derided U.S. offers as empty, saying they entail Russia providing missiles “as targets [that the United States] can use in training.”

Putin asserted that day that if Washington did not change course, Moscow would be bound to respond and could not be held responsible for the result. “We will absolve ourselves from the responsibility of our retaliatory steps because we are not initiating what is certainly growing into a new arms race in Europe,” Putin said.


Nuclear Talks Waiting on the United States

U.S. and Russian negotiators have put on hold talks on measures to succeed a landmark nuclear weapons reduction treaty while the Bush administration figures out its positions. But U.S. lawmakers are already starting to volunteer their advice.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is scheduled to expire Dec. 5, 2009. It slashed deployed U.S. and Russian strategic forces from more than 10,000 warheads apiece to 6,000 each and established an extensive verification regime. U.S. and Russian experts met for the first time in March to share ideas on what to do after START’s expiration. (See ACT, May 2007. )

Neither side is advocating exercising START’s five-year extension option. However, Moscow desires a new agreement capping both nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, while Washington opposes such a formal approach, preferring a loose collection of confidence-building measures.

Arms Control Today has learned, however, that the two governments have agreed to prepare positions for future discussion on at least four issues: information exchanges, facility visits, missile launch notices, and noninterference with national technical means such as satellites. A second U.S. and Russian experts meeting reportedly is waiting on the Bush administration to complete this process and put together a proposal.

A June 18 McClatchy Newspapers report attributed the delay to Washington infighting. The U.S. intelligence community is keen on preserving intrusive mechanisms to keep tabs on Russia’s nuclear arsenal. But this position conflicts with that held by administration officials who say such measures are burdensome and unnecessary because Russia is no longer an enemy.

In a June 21 statement, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, sided with the intelligence community. Recommending that START verification and transparency measures be extended, Lugar noted that “the predictability and confidence provided by treaty verification reduces the chances of misinterpretation, miscalculation, and error.”

Similarly, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, stated at a June 11 Arms Control Association event that “the intelligence community has expressed concern with losing the verification component provided by START.” Tauscher recommended that U.S. and Russian leaders approve a “bridge agreement that will extend START” until a new agreement can be negotiated.


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 7 proposal to share radar data on missiles with the United States might be an earnest offer, a cynical ploy to undercut U.S. plans to base anti-missile systems in Europe, or both. Regardless, U.S. leaders say they will continue their current missile defense approach despite strong Russian opposition. (Continue)

Russia Casts Doubt on Conventional Arms Pact

Wade Boese

President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian leaders recently ratcheted up warnings that Moscow might freeze or end participation in a treaty limiting conventional weapons in Europe if some long-running disputes with NATO are not soon resolved.

In an annual address to Russian lawmakers, Putin said April 26 that Moscow would “declare a moratorium on its observance” of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which restricts the number and location of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, and heavy artillery that states-parties can field in Europe. Putin added that if talks with the 26-member NATO alliance did not yield results, Russia will “examine the possibility of suspending our commitments” under the CFE Treaty.

For days and weeks after the speech, there was confusion about when the moratorium would take effect and whether Putin was threatening that Russia might pull out of the treaty.

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted a Kremlin source April 26 as saying Russia would withdraw from the treaty if nothing changed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov similarly told reporters the same day in Oslo, Norway, that Russia’s “withdrawal from [the] CFE [Treaty] will become imminent” if Moscow’s concerns go unmet.

Still, on May 9, NATO spokesperson James Appathurai told reporters, “I don’t think the full details of what President Putin meant are fully clear yet.”

Appathurai’s comment came a day before Russian General Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff, visited NATO headquarters in Brussels. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta quoted Baluyevsky as telling reporters there that lawyers in Russia’s foreign and defense ministries were analyzing “legitimate opportunities for a moratorium.”

A Russian official told Arms Control Today May 21 that the “moratorium is not immediate.” Without mentioning a possible treaty withdrawal or termination, the official further explained that Russia would “suspend implementation if NATO does not respond positively.”

U.S. and other NATO-member government officials said in May Arms Control Today interviews that Russia had not altered its behavior under the CFE Treaty since Putin’s speech. They noted Russia has made some regular treaty notifications and agreed to a treaty inspection.

The accord does not allow a state-party to suspend implementation. A treaty withdrawal option exists if a country feels that “extraordinary events…have jeopardized its supreme interests.” A minimum 150-day advance notice of an intended withdrawal is required by the treaty.

Consequently, a Russian move to suspend implementation would likely be judged by other states-parties as noncompliance. Compliance issues are supposed to be resolved in the treaty’s Joint Consultative Group.

Putin’s speech came amid increased sparring by Washington and Moscow over a U.S. plan to deploy 10 strategic missile interceptors in Poland (see page 30 ), but Russian officials deny any tie between the recent CFE Treaty policy and the interceptor base.

For several years, Moscow has been seeking to have the 1990 accord replaced by a November 1999 “adapted” CFE Treaty that imposes less stringent restrictions on Russia. Unlike the original treaty, the updated version also permits additional countries to join and adopt weapons limits. This appeals to Russia because it is upset that some newer NATO members, particularly Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, currently have no arms constraints.

The adapted treaty cannot enter into force and legally replace the original accord until all of its 30 states-parties ratify the revised version. Only four—Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine—have completed this step.

NATO members are refusing to ratify the adapted treaty until Russia fulfills promised military withdrawals from Georgia and Moldova. These pledges are known as the Istanbul commitments, after the summit at which they were made. The adapted CFE Treaty was finalized at the same gathering. (See ACT, November 1999. )

The Russian military is belatedly making progress in leaving Georgia, but a similar effort in Moldova halted unfinished in March 2004. (See ACT, January/February 2007. )

Kremlin officials frequently criticize the NATO linkage and complain about being bound by what they deride as an obsolete agreement. In his Oslo remarks, Lavrov stated that Russia “finds itself in a situation where it simply does not want to participate in a theater of the absurd.”

Washington and other NATO capitals are urging Russia to uphold its obligations. Referring to the CFE Treaty as “one of the most important treaties of the 20th century,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a May 15 interview with the Russian radio station Ekho Movsky that Russia should address its concerns “in the context of the treaty rather than trying to get out of the treaty.”

NATO governments also are reiterating that they will continue to delay ratifying the adapted CFE Treaty until the Russian military is out of Moldova and Georgia. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said April 26 that “the allies attach great importance to ratification of the adapted CFE Treaty, but we have things like the Istanbul commitments which have to be fulfilled.”


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