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Nuclear News - 11/03/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, November 3, 2000
Compiled by Ethan Penfield and Christopher Ficek

A. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Strategic Rocket Forces To Retain Present Status Till At Least2006, RFE/RL (11/3/00)
    2. No Status Change for Russia Rocket Forces till 2006, Reuters(11/2/00)
    3. Russia Test-Fires Another Old Missile, RFE/RL (11/2/00)
    4. November Security Council Meeting Expected To Determine ForceCuts, RFE/RL (11/1/00)
B. Russia - Iran
    1. State Told to Turn Over Data on Deal, Joyce Howard Price,Washington Times (10/30/00)
    1. Science Panel Says Nuclear Test Ban Is Verifiable, PaulTaylor, Reuters (10/30/00)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. Worst Ever Radioactive Leaks Found in Siberia, Ian Traynor,The Guardian (11/3/00)
    2. Scientists Warn Of Ecological Catastrophe In Siberian RegionAs Questions Raised About Source Of Radioactivity In Local Rivers,RFE/RL (11/3/00)
E. U.S. � Russia General
    1. Interview: Under Secretary Holum Discusses Arms Control Issues[excerpts], Jacquelyn Porth, Washington File, Office of InternationalInformation Programs, U.S. Department of State, (10/2000)

    2. [Editor�s note:  This article includes excerpts of the interviewpertaining to nonproliferation, downsizing the Russian nuclear complex,and export controls.  The full interview can be found at www.]

A. Russian Nuclear Forces

Strategic Rocket Forces To Retain Present Status Till At Least 2006
        November 3, 2000
        (for personal use only)

In his interview with the 3 November "Vek," Security Council SecretaryIvanov also said that the Strategic Rocket Forces will remain a separatebranch of the armed forces for at least another six years. "A possiblechange in the [forces'] status will be considered only after 2006," hesaid. At the same time, Ivanov noted that over the next six years the forces'arsenal will decrease as missiles are decommissioned. Earlier this year,Defense Minister Igor Sergeev and Chief of the General Staff Anatolii Kvashninhad engaged in a public battle over the fate of the Strategic Rocket Forces.Sergeev was in favor of leaving the forces' status intact, while Kvashninwanted the forces to be merged with armed forces in order to save scarcefunds (see "End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 2000). Putin had orderedthe Security Council to decide the matter.
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No Status Change for Russia Rocket Forces till 2006
        November 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior Russian official said in an interview releasedThursday there would be no change of status before 2006 for Russia's strategicrocket forces, at the center of an embarrassing public row over their future.

Sergei Ivanov, secretary of the increasingly influential Security Council,said in an interview to be published in Friday's issue of the weekly Vekthat strategic rocket forces would remain a separate army branch for atleast six years.

"Only after 2006 the issue of a possible change of status of StrategicRocket Forces will be discussed," he said.

The force, which manages Russia's vast but largely obsolete arsenalof land-based nuclear missiles, came under scrutiny after top brass publiclyquarreled over whether it should remain independent or be merged with anotherbranch of the military.

President Vladimir Putin had to personally intervene to cool the passionsof his defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, a staunch proponent of keepingthe force intact, and army chief of staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, who wantsmore money for ground forces.

Putin charged the Security Council with settling the issue.

In the interview, Ivanov said until 2006 the force would gradually shrinkas older missiles were decommissioned.

Russia, which has no money to maintain or replace nuclear arsenals inheritedfrom the Soviet Union, hopes to strike a START-3 deal with the United Statesto drastically reduce the number of its strategic missiles without compromisingsecurity.
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Russia Test-Fires Another Old Missile
        November 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces test-fired an SS-19 missile on 1November, reporting that it reached its target in Kamchatka from the Baikonurcosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The SS-19 missile has been part of the forces'arsenal for 25 years. A spokesman for the forces told Reuters the previousday that the missile is likely to be removed from service to join the SS-18rocket as a booster for commercial satellites. Under the START-2 treaty,the SS-18s and SS-19s are to be decommissioned. Last month, a 16-year-oldTopol ballistic missile was successfully test-fired, and a Strategic RocketForces spokesman said that while Russia is upgrading to a newer versionof the missile, the Topol-M, it will also extend the original life serviceof the old Topol (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 2000).
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November Security Council Meeting Expected To Determine Force Cuts
        November 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Interfax reported on 31 October, citing unidentified sources in theDefense Ministry, that the size of reductions in the armed forces personnelwill be finalized at a session of the Security Council in November, whichwill be chaired by President Putin. In September, Defense Minister IgorSergeev announced that by 2003, Russia's armed forces will be trimmed byabout 350,000 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 September 2000). According tothe agency's sources, some 365,000 troops could be cut, including 240,000officers. Thirty percent of those officers would be majors, lieutenantcolonels, or colonels, and more than 380 generals would lose their positions.JAC
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B. Russia - Iran

State Told to Turn Over Data on Deal
         Joyce Howard Price
         Washington Times
         October 30, 2000
         (for personal useonly)

Ten senior U.S. Republican senators have ordered the State Departmentto turn over "all the relevant documents" relating to a secret deal VicePresident Al Gore made with Russia on arms sales to Iran by noon today.

If they don't, the Senate will subpoena the documents.

The senators sent the letter to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albrighton Thursday. The documents they demand are about a 1995 agreement Mr. Goremade with Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, who was prime minister of Russia, inwhich the vice president exempted Russia from a law requiring that economicsanctions be imposed on countries that sell arms to nations that sponsorterrorism, including Iran.

One of the authors of the letter to Mrs. Albright, Senate Majority LeaderTrent Lott of Mississippi, referred to the senators' demands in an interviewyesterday on ABC's "This Week."

"When you look at what happened there with that Iranian-Russian agreement,that goes to the fundamental question of judgment by Vice President AlGore. What he did with the Russians involving the shipment of those weaponsto Iran questions his judgment and, in my opinion, is illegal," Mr. Lottsaid.

"If they don't give us the documents we've asked for, we're going tosubpoena those documents next week. That is wrong. And that's the kindof thing that people need to know about Vice President Gore that hasn'tbeen fully developed yet."

State Department officials denied claims that Mr. Gore made secret dealsin allowing Russia to sell submarines and other advanced weapons to Iran.

But in the Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement, a copy of which was obtainedby The Washington Times, Mr. Gore said the United States would not imposesanctions on Russia, as required under U.S. law, in exchange for Moscow'spromise to end arms sales to Iran by Dec. 31, 1999.

The Times also obtained a letter in which Mr. Chernomyrdin asked Mr.Gore not to tell Congress about Russia's secret nuclear cooperation withIran, and it reported that the vice president complied.

In addition, Mrs. Albright sent a third letter last January to RussianForeign Minister Igor Ivanov, in which she complained that Russia was continuingto ship arms to Iran beyond the Dec. 31 deadline.

In the "Dear Igor" letter, Mrs. Albright said that "without the aide-memoire,"meaning the agreement between Mr. Gore and Mr. Chernomyrdin, Russia's armssales to Iran "would have been subject to sanctions based on various provisionsof our laws."

These documents and others are sought by the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, which is investigating the matter. Investigators say the Gore-Chernomyrdindeal appears to violate a provision of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act,which requires the Clinton administration to keep congressional oversightcommittees fully informed of all issues related to nuclear weapons proliferation.

"In the last several weeks, the administration has made many excuses"for why it has not produced the documents the Foreign Relations Committeehas requested, Erik Hotmire, spokesman for Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican,said in an interview yesterday. Mr. Brownback is chairman of Foreign Relations'Near Eastern and South Asian affairs subcommittee.

Like Mr. Lott, Mr. Brownback was among the 10 Republican senators whosent the letter last week, demanding that the requested documents be surrenderedby noon today.

Others who signed the letter are Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina,chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Sen. Gordon H. Smith of Oregon,chairman of Foreign Relations' European affairs subcommittee; Sen. RichardG. Lugar of Indiana, a member of the foreign relations and intelligencecommittees; Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma; Sen. John W.Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Sen. FredThompson of Tennessee, chairman of the Government Affairs Committee; Sen.Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Judiciary Committee; and Sen. John McCainof Arizona, a member of the Armed Services Committee and chairman of theCommerce Committee.

Mr. Hotmire said that as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee preparedfor a hearing last week on the secret Russian-U.S. agreement, State Departmentofficials requested a private meeting with committee members because ofconcerns about discussing classified documents in public.

Mr. Hotmire said the closed session was held immediately after the hearing."The bottom line," he said, "was that the administration did not hand overthe documents."
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Science Panel Says Nuclear Test Ban Is Verifiable
        Paul Taylor
        October 30, 2000
        (for personal use only)

LONDON (Reuters) - A global nuclear test ban can be reliably verifiedwith existing technology, creating a powerful deterrent against any attemptto cheat, an international panel of scientists said in a report issuedMonday.

The commission was established by VERTIC, an independent arms controlpressure group, after the U.S. Senate last year refused to ratify the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty, partly due to concerns over possible cheating.

The multinational panel, including experts from the United States, Russia,Britain, France, Japan, Germany and Israel, found that a combination ofinternational and national, public and non-governmental resources madeit virtually impossible to evade detection of an underground nuclear test.

``When fully in place, these resources will be capable of meeting theinternational community's expectation that relevant events will be detected,located and identified with high probability,'' the report concluded.

VERTIC director Trevor Findlay, who chaired the panel, said he hopedthe study would contribute to a better-informed, less polemical, new debateon ratifying the treaty after next week's U.S. presidential and congressionalelections.

More than 150 countries have signed the CTBT but it can only come intoforce when 44 potentially nuclear-capable countries ratify it, includingIndia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea (news - web sites).

Democratic Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) is committed toworking for ratification while Republican candidate George W. Bush (news- web sites) backs a continued U.S. national moratorium on nuclear testingbut opposes ratifying the CTBT.

``Verification Gauntlet''

The panel said a dense global network of verification assets, includingseismography, hydroacoustic and infrasound monitoring, satellite imagingand radionuclide detectors created a ``verification gauntlet'' which anypotential violator would be reluctant to run.

``Together they will serve as a powerful deterrent,'' the IndependentCommission on the Verifiability of the CTBT said.

Findlay said critics of the treaty had failed to take into account thewealth of national intelligence and scientific resources available to detectnuclear explosions in addition to an international monitoring system beingestablished by the CTBT and based in Vienna.

``Together, these resources in total provide a very good basis for verifyingthe treaty,'' he said.

``There is no 100 percent guarantee, but the treaty provides a highlevel of confidence, that acts as a powerful deterrent against any attemptto violate,'' Findlay said.

Commission secretary Oliver Meier said that while the panel had notincluded irreconcilable U.S. opponents of the treaty, it had involved tworespected American scientists familiar with both classified and publicevidence on verification techniques -- Gregory van der Vink and Terry Wallace.

Several other studies are under way aimed at reopening the U.S. ratificationdebate on a more scientific and less partisan basis.

Among them is one by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GeneralJohn Shalikashvili, commissioned by outgoing President Clinton (news �web sites), aimed at taking account of concerns raised during the Senatedebate in October 1999.
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D. Nuclear Waste

Worst Ever Radioactive Leaks Found in Siberia
        Ian Traynor
        The Guardian
        November 3, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Condemned weapons plants still spewing out poisons, say experts

Radioactive contamination of rivers around a top-secret Russian nuclearweapons complex in Siberia has reached "staggering" levels, the worst evermonitored, and is out of "rational control", a joint team of Russian andAmerican radiation monitors said yesterday.

Following a monitoring expedition in July and August to the closed plutoniumcomplex at Seversk, near Tomsk in western Siberia, the Russian and Americannuclear watchdogs said they had registered alarming levels of radioactivityin tributaries of the River Ob, a key Siberian waterway.

"We've never encountered such radiation. It's the worst contaminationwe've found," said Sergei Pashchenko, a Novosibirsk professor and atmosphericpollution expert who headed the Russian side of the survey carried outby Siberian Scientists for Global Responsibility and Government AccountabilityProject.

The director of the American watchdog, Tom Carpenter, said: "We wereshocked at the levels of contamination."

The environmentalists said they found levels of caesium and strontium-90vastly exceeding safety levels in the rivers Tom and Romashka close tothe "Siberian Chemical Complex", a sprawling facility established by theformer Soviet Union in the 1950s to make weapons-grade plutonium for warheads.

But even more disturbingly, said Mr Pashchenko, plant life in the riverscontained high levels of phosphorus-32 which decays within a couple ofweeks, meaning that the radioactive effluent was of very recent originwhereas the strontium and the caesium could date back to the 1960s.

"The phosphorus-32 is a very short-lived isotope and this means theyare very fresh," said Mr Pashchenko.

The closed nuclear town of Seversk is effectively a suburb of Tomsk,a city with a population of half-a-million in western Siberia. Severskwas born in 1949, at the very onset of the superpowers' nuclear arms race.

It ranked among the top three sites for the manufacturing of weapons-gradeplutonium and uranium enrichment for the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenalthroughout the cold war.

The plutonium was manufactured from five nuclear reactors commissionedbetween 1955 and 1967. "They are very old reactors and very unsafe," saidIgor Forofontov, radiation specialist with Greenpeace in Moscow.

The three oldest reactors were closed between 1990 and 1992, and, undera 1992 agreement between Moscow and Washington aimed at halting plutoniumproduction, all five reactors should have been closed down by this year.

But two reactors are still operating, providing heating and electricityto Tomsk. "The authorities have no intention of closing them," Mr Forofontovsaid.

An explosion ripped through the plant in 1993 which resulted in largeamounts of radioactivity being emitted. Mr Forofontov also said lethalamounts of radioactivity were leaking into the soil and the water in theregion because of the practice of storing waste from the reactors in liquidform which is then pumped deep below ground.

Last summer, the Russian monitors spent two months touring the mostsensitive nuclear materials production installations - one of the mostdangerous legacies of the Soviet era � at Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk,and Tomsk.

But the environmentalists' findings in Tomsk were the most alarming."The nuclear waste is being piped straight into the environment," saidNorm Buske, one of the American researchers and an oceanographer and physicist."This has not been done anywhere in the world since the cold war."

The monitors were unable to pinpoint the source of the pollution becausethey were not granted access to the secret plant. Mr Pashchenko and 10of his colleagues were detained for six hours questioning by the FSB, thesuccessor to the KGB, while carrying out research around Novosibirsk lastsummer.

At Seversk they were told the town was closed but that they could carryout research in the rivers a few miles away. The environmentalists foundcontaminated fish with radioactivity more than 20 times the safety level,they said.
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Scientists Warn Of Ecological Catastrophe In Siberian Region AsQuestions Raised About Source Of Radioactivity In Local Rivers
        November 3, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russian and U.S. environmental groups have discovered dangerous levelsof radioactivity in the Tom and Romashka Rivers near the site of a formersecret nuclear weapons development plant in Tomsk Oblast, AP reported on2 November. A report by the U.S.-based Government Accountability Projectsaid the magnitude of beta activity in the River Tom is "staggering." Fishtaken from the area showed levels of radioactivity 20 times above normal.According to the website, scientists from the Russian and U.S.groups believe that the rivers could cause serious damage to the healthof local residents. Elena Pashchenko, chairwoman of Siberian Scientistsfor Global Responsibility, told reporters in Washington that Tomsk Oblastalready is showing signs of an approaching ecological catastrophe. Theincidence of cancer among children is higher in that oblast than in surroundingregions.

The U.S. and Russian groups link the radioactivity to the former secretcity of Tomsk-7, or Seversk, but argue that the levels of radioactivityare so high that they cannot come from a nuclear power plant or have beengenerated in normal reprocessing, according to AP. Instead, they suggestthe possible presence in Seversk of "an unacknowledged nuclear weaponsgrade reactor or a giant nuclear accelerator," the agency reported.
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E. U.S. - Russia General

Interview: Under Secretary Holum Discusses Arms Control Issues [excerpts]
        Jacquelyn Porth
        Washington File, Officeof International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
        October 2000
        (for personal use only)

[Editor�s note:  This article includes excerpts of the interviewpertaining to nonproliferation, downsizing the Russian nuclear complex,and export controls.  The full interview can be found at www.]

Q: What proliferation issues should the Russians be concerned aboutand watching?

A: The problems that bear watching involve missile technology transfersfrom Russia to Iran, which carry sanctions implications, as well as certaindual-use technology transfers to countries such as Syria and Libya andother countries of concern to us. Our principle concern, in terms of Russia'simmediate activity, is in the nuclear area.

Longer term, there are some issues we are working collaboratively: goodand promising programs to deal with the transfer of technological know-howfor weapons of mass destruction. But, there is a lot more to be done. Ourconcern is that the deliberate transfer of relevant technology, eitheras a matter or government policy or as a result of enterprising individualscircumventing controls, could have a large and negative impact on WMD (weaponsof mass destruction) programs in Iran and elsewhere.

There is a gap between the Russian government's policy pronouncementsand its actions. Why? Partly, it has to do with the end of the Soviet stateand the end of controls. Part of it is related to the interests of specificentities and the need for resources. Part of it has to do with the capabilityto control versus the willingness to control.

Q: What can you say about U.S. efforts to persuade Russia not to provideadvanced conventional weapons to Iran?

A: Russia agreed in 1995 not to make new contracts with Iran, and tophase out such transfers by the end of last year. No judgment has beenmade on how to address the fact that this phase-out has dragged on, asdistinct from the question of no new contracts. Time, arguably, is notthe key question. What is key is that Russia refrains from new sales. It'ssomething that we've been talking to them about over a long period of time.

Q:  Do you want to say something about Iraq?

A: The core issues with Iraq center around the UN resolutions. We didn'tsay that Iraq must be sanctioned for a set period of time. Now, the issueis how to convince Iraq to comply with the resolutions. Saddam Husseinis still there and has said no to the entry of weapons inspectors, andthat is prolonging the sanctions.

Q: Do you think the Russian people have a real sense of the amount offoreign currency that has been spent in the past eight years to reducethe Russian WMD proliferation threat? Would you please give the issue somedimension?

A: Since the end of the Cold War, the amount invested in these programshas been rather dramatic. When you consider the International Science andTechnology program, the various programs in Cooperative Threat Reduction(CTR), the Energy Department Labs -- it comes to more than $3 billion dollarsfrom the U.S. alone.

Not all of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program funds are aimedat curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Some of thismoney is used for military dismantlement. As the Russians dismantle theirnuclear weapons, the resulting fissile material could be useful to someoneelse. Therefore, a new program will purchase the blended down product of500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from their weapons program.And over the life of the program, that will yield about $12 billion dollarsto the Russians. This is not government money; most of it is private money.The Russians have twin incentives: one is clearly financial and the otheris their own interest in a world in which proliferation is contained.

Q: Does this apply to a broad spectrum of proliferation activities?

A: It applies across-the-board. Our aid appropriately links our willingnessto cooperate and permit commercial opportunities in the space launch areawith their behavior on non-proliferation. It doesn't make any sense forthe U.S. to be in commercial relationships with Russian companies if Russianentities are at the same time dealing with Iran. I think we are makingsome headway, but we're not satisfied yet. I think the head of the RussianSpace Agency, Mr. Yuriy Koptev, is taking this issue seriously. He knowsthat the resources that can be made available for the Space Agency throughcooperation with the U.S. aerospace industry are many times what can begained from technology transfers to Iran.

Q: Why is the U.S. promoting the conversion of nuclear weapons plantsin Russia?

A: This is really the only secure outcome to the dilemma produced bythe success of disarmament. We are more secure if they are no longer producingweapons of mass destruction and, instead, are occupied doing other things.Then the risk of proliferation is diminished. So there is an immediatebenefit.

It is not in our interest for the Russian economy to fail. There isenormous expertise that is wrapped up in their missile programs, in nuclearprograms, and in chemical and biological weapons programs, that can beapplied to civilian profit-making enterprises. Some of the most creativescientists are former weapons producers who could use their talents forcommercial development to help build the Russian economy from the groundup. This is an important part of our purpose.

Q: I have seen statistics that the United States has reportedly helpedfund the work of more than 20,000 former Soviet nuclear weapons specialistsas a disincentive for assisting rogue-like nations. How are these specialistsidentified? What is the scope of the program and do you expect it to continue?

A: That 20,000 figure is accurate. Some of them are brought in throughthe International Science and Technology Centers in Kiev and Moscow andare selected, in part, by the Russians and, in part, through our own knowledgebecause their work has become transparent.

In the near term, we are having a fair amount of success in terms ofpreventing leakage. There were many reports in the early 1990s of Russianproliferation marketing efforts -- some of which were false and some ofwhich resulted from sting operations. Such reports have now diminishedsignificantly. Progress has been made through cooperation with the Russianson better border controls and on export controls. A lot of these efforts,particularly those involving human expertise, have to become self-sustaining.Commercial spin-offs, through Department of Energy efforts and privatesector initiatives, are promising. We are on the threshold of success ina number of these efforts, but we need to make a difference over the longterm. There are a lot of potential opportunities. There is a lot yet tobe done to end proliferation as a profitable venture.

Q: What is your reaction to Russian press reports that attempted theftsof nuclear fissile material are down? Is any more anti-theft programmingneeded?

A: I have no basis to dispute this. I think it really comes down towhat are the controls at the individual locations where materials are kept.Reports are mixed. Two things are going on: nuclear materials are beingconsolidated at new locations, and then, once this is accomplished, theremust be better security. The process is not finished yet. Improvementshave to be made. There has to be a set of priorities for the areas withthe most vulnerabilities.

Q: How high a priority are U.S.-Russian efforts to prevent the lossor theft of nuclear materials from Russian submarines? And what is yourassessment of that process?

A: I think the problem with submarines is primarily one of safety: withnuclear reactors on board submarines that are sitting at the peer rotting.It is something that we and the Norwegians have worked on very closely.The Norwegians have provided a leadership role.

Q: What are some of the aspects of the Cooperative Threat Reductionand follow-on programs and what are the prospects for future funding inCongress?

A: Cooperative Threat Reduction programs have been generally well receivedby the Congress. The Cooperative Threat Reduction Initiative sought toaddress the troubled Russian economy and to generate economic activityin a useful way. Because they had fewer resources of their own, the Russianswere unable to spend more on such efforts. The Expanded Threat ReductionInitiative was developed as a way to be opportunistic and productive inall of the priority non-proliferation and disarmament areas we've identifiedand are discussing today.

For example, CTR funds are being used to help finance implementationof the START I agreement in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan through dismantlingmissiles and launchers, and to help build a secure facility for storingnuclear materials from dismantled warheads.

This is all very much in the interest of both Russia and the UnitedStates.

Q: What positive steps has the Russian government taken to control sensitivetechnology and equipment transfers? And what else needs to be done?

A: One of the most important things has been the adoption of their newexport control law that includes catch-all controls for particularly sensitivetechnologies as well as controls on nearly everything exported to an entityin a country that is actively engaged in developing long-range missiles,nuclear weapons, or WMD programs.

Their law is quite strong. We have set up seven different U.S.-Russianworking groups in various areas of technology to collaborate in implementingthe law and strengthening controls in specific areas. They are strengtheningexport control mechanisms at key companies that have missile and spacecapabilities. They're doing this using experts from those companies aswell as from the Space Agency that have come to the United States and goneto U.S. companies that are known for having strong internal controls. Onthe plus side these working groups are setting up a legal framework andaccumulating expertise.

On the negative side, they are not all working at an equal pace. Andwe have a number of areas where there has been an invasion of governmentpolicy. For example, it has been alleged in press reports that laser enrichmenttechnology will be transferred to Iran. The Russian government has suspendedthat while an assessment is under way, which is an important step. Thetransfer to Iran of sensitive technology that can provide weapons gradematerial is a very serious issue.

Q: What exactly does the U.S. mean by repeated references to the ABMTreaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability?

A: The ABM Treaty underpins a stable strategic relationship becauseit gives both the U.S. and Russia confidence that the other is not pursuinglarge-scale strategic nuclear defenses. Competition can be stimulated ifone side or the other pursues, or even maintains, large-scale offensiveforces and comprehensive defenses. Without such defenses -- defenses muchmore comprehensive than the U.S. has proposed -- neither we nor Russiahave concerns that the other side would even consider using strategic nuclearweapons -- it would be suicidal. By creating such assurances, the ABM Treatyhas enhanced stability and allowed deep reductions in strategic nucleararsenals to take place.

Q: What can you say about the ABM resolution the Russians are pushing?

A: They are proposing an ABM resolution in the United Nations that isthe same as the one they proposed in 1999. In essence, it argues that theTreaty should not be amended and that any national missile defense shouldbe ruled out. We think it is a mistake to bring this issue to the UN GeneralAssembly; the UN shouldn't be involved in what is a bilateral issue. Wethink that the best way to preserve the Treaty may be to amend it becauseit is a cornerstone of strategic stability.

Q: What are future expectations for START III? And what has to happento bring about a third round of strategic cuts?

A: Two things must happen: One is that we need to do as the presidentssaid in the Cologne Joint Statement issued at the 1999 G-8 meeting, andthat is to pursue START III and the ABM Treaty in parallel. It makes senseto proceed with both at the same time and to build on the 1997 Helsinkiframework. We have to take the first steps not only with respect to reducingmissiles and bombers, but the warheads themselves.

The Russian side has laid out their arguments. We have even gotten tothe point of exchanging treaty language. But we are not close togetheron how a START III Treaty should take shape. For example, the Russiansare arguing that the number of warheads should be 1,500 rather than 2,000to 2,500, as agreed by the two Presidents in Helsinki. I think the 2,000to 2,500 number is the right place to start.

I would not expect there to be an agreement on START III during thebalance of President Clinton's term. I think we have accomplished in boththe ABM and the START III discussions some understanding in detail aboutwhat the shape of an agreement might be, so if there is a political decisionto proceed to negotiations, that could happen fairly quickly.

Q: What has been the official attitude of Russia toward U.S. effortsto ensure that Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine became and remain nuclear-free?

A: They provided very strong support and were actively engaged becausea lot of this required bilateral agreements. All of the nuclear weaponshave gone back to Russia for dismantling and Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraineare all now members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclearweapon states. Russia and the countries involved all have collaboratedon that, I think, quite successfully.

Q: How are efforts proceeding to bring complete transparency to biologicalweapons efforts in the former Soviet Union?

A: Not as well as we'd like. The bilateral effort hasn't worked. Thefocus now seeks to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) throughmultilateral efforts.

In 1992 Russia admitted its biological weapons program had not beenterminated when it joined the BWC. One of the arguments for developinga Protocol to strengthen compliance with the BWC derives from statementsmade by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Q: Do you give any credence to Western press reports that some RussianDefense Ministry facilities are still closed to the outside because thereare ominous BW secrets concealed there?

A: My conclusion, based on a variety of press reports, is that the Russianshave the capacity, and apparently the interest, to pursue quickly biologicalweapons if they concluded that such weapons were needed.

Q: Where do you think the whole field of arms control is going in thefuture?

A: I have thought a lot about this subject. I think we need to do abetter job explaining the discipline. The CTBT vote in the Senate lastyear shows that the bipartisan consensus that prevailed in arms controlhas eroded. Because arms control officials spend so much of their timenegotiating agreements and treaties, there is less time to explain howarms control fits into the national security rubric. Arms control is vitallyimportant because it limits threats and makes the job of defense easier.Producing arms control agreements serves U.S. security interests, but thatpoint does not always come across.

The other issue is that as the field of arms control has grown, it hasalso become more technical and complex with the end of the Cold War. Withthat, many of the pre-existing restraints on technology transfers are gone,but they need to be replaced. We also need to build international constituenciesto continue the work of non-proliferation and arms control by doing a betterjob of explaining it and its benefits.
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