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Nuclear News - 02/10/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 10 February, 1999

  1. USA Wants to Discuss ABM and NMD Problems with Russia, Itar Tass(02/09/99)
  2. Start-2 Ratification Accords with Russian Interests, Ivanov, ItarTass (02/09/99)
  3. Start-II on Agenda For March. State Duma Security Committee, RFE/RLNewsline (02/10/99)
  4. CIA Concerned about Chinese, Russian Weapons Sales to Iran, Syria,Associated Press (02/10/99)
  5. Duma to Think Over Suspension of Russian-US Uranium Deal, Itar Tass(02/10/99)

USA Wants to Discuss ABM and NMD Problems with Russia
Itar Tass
February 9, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- The United States wants to discusswith Russia in detail all the problems linked with the ABM treaty andthe American program to set up a limited national missile defense system(NMD), Pentagon Spokesman Michael Doubleday told Itar-Tass.

We want to discuss with the Russians the treaty itself as well as ourown program in order to agree on whatever is necessary, Doubleday added.He denied assertions that Washington would deal with the NBM treaty,irrespective of Moscow's stand, and would make a decision to deploy thenew system as soon as it was ready.

The stand of the Russian Duma and the Russian government is veryimportant for us. This is precisely why we want to discuss with theRussians the ABM treaty and our NMD program, the Pentagon spokesmannoted.

He found it difficult to answer the question of whether Moscow's firmor negative attitude to the amendment of the ABM treaty would preventthe deployment of the American NMD system when it was ready, statingthat this was precisely the subject that should be discussed during thenegotiations between the United States and Russia.

Doubleday explained the choice of January for making the statement onPentagon's new approach to the ABM treaty, which Secretary of DefenseWilliam Cohen made a couple of weeks ago, by the latter's desire tooutline his position before the draft budget for the 2000 fiscal yearwas submitted to the Congress.

It was decided to earmark additional funds in the future budget forfinancing our missile programs. We decided that it would be right forthe defense secretary to make this statement a few days before thebudget was be submitted to the Congress in order to exactly outline ourstand on the missile defense problem, Doubleday stated.
Start-2 Ratification Accords with Russian Interests
February 9, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The ratification of the START-2 corresponds to the nationalinterests of Russia, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in the NTV Heroof the Day television program on Tuesday.

"We would not have submitted the document to the State Duma be thereany doubts," he stressed.

A number of Duma deputies "have their own considerations not aboutthetreaty, but about the provision of national interests related to thetreaty: how the national interests will be ensured in the light ofratification and implementation of the treaty," he said. "Certainly,that is the key issue for us."

In the words of Ivanov, the government will resume active debateswiththe State Duma in the near future and return to the ratificationproblem. "No time can be wasted, that is a matter of principle," theminister said. "If we do not ratify (the treaty) in the near future, wewill give occasion to those who want to ruin the system we have createdon a basis of the ABM Treaty and our related efforts to reduce thestrategic nuclear armaments."
Start-II on Agenda For March. State Duma Security Committee
RFE/RL Newsline
February 10, 1999
(for personal use only)

Chairman and member of the Communist Party Viktor Ilyukhintold Interfax on 9 February that the Duma will start debatingratification of the START-II treaty in March. According tothe agency, Ilyukhin does not think that the treaty will beratified. Writing in "Novoye Vremya," Aleksandr Pikaev of theMoscow Carnegie Center says the chances of ratification forthe treaty have never been so small. According to Pikaev, theUS's suggested revision of the ABM treaty requires that thewhole process of nuclear arms reduction be rethought. Heconcludes that the U.S. has left Russia with little choice:"Either the U.S. quits the treaty unilaterally or Russiagives its consent and gets in turn at least a hypotheticalchance of influencing Washington's anti-ballistic missiledefense system policy."
CIA Concerned about Chinese, Russian Weapons Sales to Iran,Syria
Associated Press
February 10, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CIA is becoming increasingly concerned thatbusiness "entities" in China and Russia are trafficking weapons of massdestruction to countries such as Iran, Syria and India despiterestrictions imposed by their own central governments.

A report to Congress on Tuesday by the CIA's Nonproliferation Centerpoints to the emergence of independent or quasi-government entities inRussia and China as exporters of chemical, biological and nuclearweapons technology. The report lauds Moscow and Beijing for expandingtheir commitments to restrict export of deadly technologies.

But in an illustration of the increasingly complex post-Cold War world,the report says those commitments may not be enough.

In May 1998, for example, Russia announced strengthened rulesrestricting business from exporting proliferation-related equipment andtechnology.

"These actions, if enforced, could help counter the proliferation ofweapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems," the CIAreported. "However, there are signs that Russian entities have continuedto engage in behavior inconsistent with these steps. Monitoring Russianproliferation behavior, therefore, will have to remain a very highpriority for some time to come."

Similarly in China the problem appears to have less to do with Beijing'swillingness to make commitments and cooperate as with the tendencies ofentities with newfound independence from the central government to makedeals with foreign countries seeking missile technology and otherweapons capability.

Over the first six months of last year, the period covered by thereport, "Chinese entities provided a variety of missile-related itemsand assistance to several countries of proliferation concern," the CIAreported.

Chinese organizations, some with direct ties to the Beijing government,others with more diverse organizational structures, supplied advancedconventional weapons to Iran, according to the report. Despite U.S.sanctions imposed in 1997 on seven Chinese entities, the CIA reported,some of these organizations continued to supply Iran and Syria withchemical weapons-related materials, including basic ingredients in somechemical weapons.

The CIA cited Russian companies for supplying "a variety of ballisticmissile-related goods and technical know-how to foreign countries"during the first half of last year. The agency said Iran relied onRussia's help in developing the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile,first flight tested last July. Russia was also "a key supplier forcivilian nuclear programs in Iran and, to a lesser extent, India."

India, which has long had nuclear capability, is less reliant on Russianhelp than Iran, according to the CIA.

The report lists Russia, China and North Korea as the key "suppliernations" for weapons of mass destruction and Iran, Iraq, India,Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and, again, North Korea, as the keyconsumer nations of these weapons.

"Throughout the first half of 1998, North Korea continued to exportballistic missile-related equipment and missile components and materialsto countries of concern," according to the CIA. "Pyongyang attaches ahigh priority to the development and sale of ballistic missiles,equipment, and related technology. North Korea has little else to exportto raise significant amounts of hard currency besides ballistic missilesand other weapons."

Egypt, a U.S. ally and beneficiary from billions of dollars in annualaid from Washington, was one of North Korea's key customers for missiletechnology and components, part of what the CIA termed a long-runningpattern of cooperation between the two nations.

Iraq is barred by an international arms embargo from importing weaponstechnology but continues to buy civilian equipment that could beconverted for use in chemical weapons production, according to the CIA.

"Since the Gulf War, Baghdad has rebuilt key portions of its chemicalproduction infrastructure for industrial and commercial use," the CIAreported. "Some of these facilities could be converted fairly quicklyfor production of (chemical weapons) agents. Iraq retains a CWcapability and intends to reconstitute its pre-Gulf war capability asrapidly as possible once sanctions are lifted."

The CIA identifies Iran as perhaps the most aggressive developer ofweapons-of-mass-destruction capability, seeking its own indigenousmissile capability, working to develop a nuclear capability, beginningwork on a biological weapons program, and expanding its alreadyformidable chemical weapons arsenal that includes stockpiles of"blister, blood and choking agents and the bombs and artillery shellsfor delivery them."
Duma to Think Over Suspension of Russian-US Uranium Deal
February 10, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The Russian lower house is thinking over the suspension of aRussian-U.S. Uranium deal, and will sit on Wednesday to discuss arelevant resolution.

They have already drafted the document -- the State Duma's address toRussian President Boris Yeltsin -- recommending that "the agreementbetween the Russian and U.S. governments about the use of high-gradeuranium withdrawn from nuclear weapons be suspended until the end of new(round) of talks and the ratification of a new agreement."

The agreement in question was signed on February 18, 1993 by the twogovernments.

The deputies decided to discuss this matter in Tuesday's meeting of theState Duma's Council (the lower house's body setting up its agenda andcourse of action).

The document was initiated by a group of deputies from theLiberal-Democratic Party (LDPR) and the Communist Party, includingGeopolitics Committee Chairman Aleksei Mitrofanov, Deputy Chairman ofthe LDPR faction Stanislav Zhebrovsky, Aleksander Filatov (LDPR), andthe Communists' Yevgeny Buchenkov.

The group argues that the United States was first to unilaterallyviolate one of the main clauses of the agreement as they stoppedpayments for the so-called "natural component" -- natural low-gradeuranium used to degrade high-concentration uranium from weapons.

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