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Nuclear News - 01/29/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 29 January, 1999

  1. Top Military Officials Calls For New All- Encompassing Treaty,RFE/RL Newsline (01/28/99)
  2. UN Arms Talks Still Split On Nuclear Disarmament, Reuters (01/28/99)
  3. Iran Recruits Engineers for Nuclear Training in Russia, AgenceFrance Presse (01/29/99)
  4. Washington Is Making It Hard for Russia to Help Itself, BusinessWeek (2/8/99)

Top Military Officials Calls For New All- Encompassing Treaty
RFE/RL Newsline
January 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

Strategic Rocket Forces Commander Colonel-General VladimirYakovlev suggested that the U.S. and Russia launch talks on anew "global strategic stability treaty" that would attempt to resolvethe two countries' differences over the ABM treaty and lower thenumber of nuclear warheads envisaged by all the START treaties,Interfax reported on 27 January. Yakovlev also called for anagreement "on the inviolability of space." Eventually, according toYakovlev, France, Britain, and China would join the globalstability treaty.
UN Arms Talks Still Split On Nuclear Disarmament
Stephanie Nebehay
January 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

GENEVA -- The Conference on Disarmament (CD) remains divided on whetherto launch negotiations aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons, itschairman reported on Thursday.

But U.S. ambassador Robert Grey, who currently chairs the United Nationsbody in Geneva, accepted a proposal by South Africa for him to name a"special coordinator" within two weeks to try to hammer out a consensuson the long-running issue.

South Africa won formal backing in the debate from other non-alignednations including Mexico and Brazil for setting up a negotiatingcommittee aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons.

However, Grey said some of the CD's 61 members were opposed.

"Presidential consultations indicate that South Africa's proposal doesnot enjoy consensus at this stage," Grey said.

"I will try to identify a special coordinator to assist with carryingout informal consultations with a view to establishing a subsidiary body(on nuclear disarmament)," he added.

But Western diplomats said the five official nuclear powers -- Britain,China, France, Russia and the United States -- would not waver fromtheir long-standing refusal to accept a U.N. negotiating body with amandate to eliminate nuclear arms.

The five powers argue that Russia and the United States are alreadytaking steps towards nuclear disarmament by making deep cuts in theirnuclear weapons under bilateral pacts, including the Strategic ArmsReduction Treaty (START). That process should continue and eventually bewidened to include the arsenals of the other three powers, they add.

At most, the five may agree to the naming of a CD special coordinator orto holding "open-ended consultations" on nuclear disarmament -- so asappease the non-aligned nations, diplomats say.

South Africa, which chairs the Non-Aligned Movement, has led the callfor nuclear disarmament at the world's only multilateral disarmamentnegotiating body.

The South African envoy, Peter Goosen, said in a speech that a new CDmechanism to debate nuclear disarmament "would not and will notundermine or threaten the nuclear disarmament negotiations betweenRussia and the United States, but would in fact support and reinforcethese negotiations."

"The nuclear disarmament issue and the concerns that revolve around itcannot be brushed under the carpet and forgotten. The issue willcontinuously rise up and complicate our work," he said.

Mexico's ambassador Antonio de Icaza declared: "The Conference onDisarmament cannot systematically ignore the great threat whichcontinuously weighs on mankind, the possible use of nuclear weapons."

Brazil's delegate Ricardo Ayroso also backed South Africa's proposal,endorsed earlier this week by non-aligned Egypt.

The CD began a 10-week session last week amid calls to resumenegotiations to halt production of nuclear bomb-making fissile material-- plutonium and highly-enriched uranium.

A fresh mandate is required to relaunch the fissile talks agreed lastAugust by the body, whose members include India, Pakistan and Israel,which also have nuclear capabilities.
Iran Recruits Engineers for Nuclear Training in Russia
Agence France Presse
January 29, 1999
(for personal use only)

TEHRAN -- Iran is recruitingengineers to receive training in Russia for its controversial Bushehrnuclear plant, just weeks after Washington stepped up pressure onMoscow to end its nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

Advertisements published in the Tehran press by the Iranian AtomicEnergy Organization said a total of 225 engineers were needed withexpertise in the fields of nuclear physics, physics, mechanicalengineering and computer science.

The adverts said that the applicants must be Iranian nationals and thatthe successful candidates will be sent to Russia for training after ashort period of preparation in Iran.

Once trained the Iranian technicians will take delivery of a 1,000megawatt pressurized water reactor Russian engineers are building atBushehr on Iran's Gulf coast.

Iran and Russia insist that the plant is solely for civil purposes andconforms to all international laws and non-proliferation accords.

But Washington is strongly opposed to Moscow's technologicalcollaboration with Tehran, charging that it has resulted in the transferof nuclear and missile technology.

Earlier this month it slapped sanctions on three Russian researchinstitutes and warned that it would also cut space cooperation if Moscowfailed to end technology transfers to the Islamic republic.

"The economics of working with the U.S....are better than with Iran,"U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin said in a stark warningthat Moscow would have to choose between its lucrative nuclearcooperation with Tehran and its even more lucrative space cooperationwith Washington.

Under a cooperation accord it signed with Iran in 1995, Russia agreed tobuild two pressurized water reactors at Bushehr. Under a new accordsigned last November, Moscow agreed to speed up completion of theplants.

The project was originally started in the 1970s by the KWU nuclearsubsidiary of giant German combine Siemens but they withdrew underpressure from Bonn following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Washington Is Making It Hard for Russia to Help Itself
Stan Crock in Washington, with Carol Matlack in Moscow
Business Week
February 8, 1999
(for personal use only)

When Defense Secretary William S. Cohen unveiled a plan on Jan. 20 topump an extra $6.6 billion into U.S. missile-defense programs, theRussian response was a loud "Nyet!" Such a move would require Russia toagree to make big changes in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, acornerstone of arms control for nearly three decades.

In fact, Moscow is in no mood to make concessions of any sort.Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright downplayed the growing tensionsduring a Jan. 25-26 visit to Moscow. But ongoing bitter rows over issuesfrom U.S. air strikes against Iraq to weapons proliferation and Russianeconomic reform have sunk U.S.-Russian relations to the frostiest sincethe end of cold war. And contradictory American policies are only makingmatters worse.

Now, analysts fret, domestic instability in nuclear-armed Russia andthe growing rancor over foreign policy could provoke Moscow into a muchmore aggressive stance in hot spots around the globe, from Kosovo toIraq. Besides, Washington's unsubtle mix of threatening punishments andpromising rewards is alienating Russians of all political stripes. U.S.actions "make Russia's liberals and democrats very uncomfortable," saysAlexei G. Arbatov, a reformer and deputy chairman of the Duma's DefenseCommittee. "And they are provoking our right-wingers, hawks, andnationalists."

BACKLASH? It's a dangerous situation. Since ailing President Boris N.Yeltsin appointed him four months ago, Prime Minister Yevgeny M.Primakov has worked to restore political stability, but at the cost ofabandoning economic reform. As a result, Russians have even less hopethan ever that their economy will improve anytime soon. The risk is thatdesperation could provoke a serious backlash. "We have to hope that anuclear weapon doesn't get smuggled out," says Michael McFaul of theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Russia badly needs financial aid and debt restructuring. Washingtonis happy to pay Russia for dismantling nuclear weapons or for programsto help small businesses and banks. But, along with the InternationalMonetary Fund, it balks at another huge government bailout. Both wantgenuine reforms in return for a rescue.

Unfortunately, Washington is making it harder for Russia to helpitself. The Administration may, for example, curb imports of low-pricedRussian steel because U.S. producers allege that it is being dumped. AndClintonites oppose Russian sales of conventional arms, which couldgenerate hard currency to service debt, to countries such as Cyprus. Tosanction Russia for selling weapons technology to Iran, Washington mayshelve plans to increase to 30, from 16, the number of U.S. satellitesthat Russia can launch through 2000.

But actions to punish Russia for unacceptable behavior in one domaincan stymie efforts to moderate unwelcome conduct in another. HammeringRussia's world-class space-launch business, for example, is a blow tomoderates who want to stop Russia's defense industry from peddlingweapons to terrorist regimes and rely instead on commercial sales. "TheU.S. is basically pressing Russia into an alliance with Iran," saysPavel Felgenhauer, a defense expert at Moscow's Segodnya newspaper.

American policy seems to rely on the hope that time and the need formoney will bring Moscow into the Western economic orbit. Meanwhile,though, the contradictory signals coming out of Washington arepenalizing Russia in the very areas in which it can compete in globalmarkets--and help itself in the process.

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