1. The Big Payoff - How US non-proliferation funding has shaped post-Soviet science
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With the collapse of communism in 1992, the bottom dropped out of the Soviet weapons labs. The US, worried that newly destitute weapons researchers would sell their skills to unsavory regimes, initiated an effort to direct scientists' wartime skills to more peaceful endeavors. Financial support for former Soviet weapons scientists was written into disarmament programs. Russian researchers who had lived in secret cities were suddenly invited to tour Los Alamos. The Russian space program was soon invited to participate in the International Space Station to keep ballistics experts working for the good guys and later, microbiologists were paid to work on drugs and basic research to keep them from lucrative work developing bioweapons.
"American assistance was extremely useful in helping Russian scientists and engineers to find ourselves in new fields," said Boris Ryabov, director of engineering at Sarov, once the USSR's largest nuclear weapons lab.
Nearly 15 years after the end of the arms race, the focus of these programs has shifted from supporting fundamental research to encouraging former weapons scientists to develop marketable technologies with Western partners&emdash;the goal being the development of a self-sustaining R&D infrastructure.
"Commercialization has become a mantra, and in part, that's been forced by the US Congress, which wants to see exit strategies. They're not interested in long-term, welfare-type support for Russian science," said Laura Holgate, vice president of the Russia program at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Private programs like NTI, as well as government-supported initiatives like the International Science & Technology Center (ISTC) and US Department of Energy programs (both funded, in part, through the US's Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991), have worked to disarm the former Soviet Union using a variety of means. ISTC alone has funded tens of thousands of former weapons scientists&emdash;in a given year, the ISTC pays more researchers than work at all the US nuclear weapons laboratories combined.
The focus on commercialization has had major impacts on sectors that have received more funding. Former Soviet weapons scientists have designed much of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner; longer-lasting plasma torches for industrial use; next-generation wind-power and art-restoration technologies; special gyros for oil drilling; the list goes on. "To see [former weapons scientists] engaged in some of these very exciting, very cutting-edge, very internationally collaborative areas, I think really is a testimony to the long-term impact that these programs have had," said Anne Harrington, director of the US National Academies Committee on International Security and Arms Control.
But the new emphasis has also resulted in scaled-back funding for basic research. Indeed, the landscape and culture of Russian research and science has shifted&emdash;and, in places, been dismantled&emdash;to make way for Western approaches to R&D. Funding has moved from government institutes to tech startups. Science in former Soviet countries is now much like the rest of the post-Soviet economy: driven for short-term profit, and partnered with support from the West.
"The purpose of these programs was never to save Russian science," said Harrington. "If other people wanted to do that, that was fine. The purpose of these programs was to keep key people who could provide important or critical information on weapons science from doing that."
How successful the programs have been at their original goal of nonproliferation is ultimately unknowable, both because so much of the intelligence is classified, and because it's difficult to prove a negative. "There is no Russian equivalent of A.Q. Kahn as far as anyone knows," said Holgate. On the other hand, the Russian government has certainly been threatened with sanctions because of suspected (non-nuclear) proliferation.
The golden age of nonproliferation funding for science may be reaching its terminus. "I think that these programs will be greatly winding down [within 10 years]," said Boris Mislavsky, vice president of the National Industry Coalition in Moscow, which helps form American research partnerships in Russia with Department of Energy funds. And whether a national R&D infrastructure can exist for long without basic research is a worrisome question for many.
"Fundamental science continues to replenish the people and the topics that then become, in essence, the underpinnings of an economy," said Sig Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. "What [my Russian colleagues] are concerned about is that those underpinnings are not being supported."
"In the end, Russia is going to have to make the decisions on what it's going to invest in pure science," said Vic Alessi, president of the quasi-governmental US Industry Coalition, who serves on the board of the ISTC. "The rest of the world can't do that. At some point, they have to belly up to the bar and [put funds toward] infrastructure and education and creating long term prospects for their country."
2. U.S., Russia Break Impasse on Plan to Keep Arms From Rogue Users
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The United States and Russia reached a last-minute agreement saving a program to secure or destroy Soviet nuclear warheads, chemical weapons and killer germs, U.S. officials said yesterday, breaking a long logjam and averting a rupture weeks before President Bush travels to St. Petersburg.
The program, a multibillion-dollar effort designed to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists or rogue states, was set to expire Friday amid a stubborn disagreement over legal provisions. But U.S. and Russian officials cut a deadline deal in Moscow on Friday that will extend the program for seven years and effectively take the issue off the table for Bush's trip.
Although overshadowed by disputes with Iran and North Korea, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program with Russia represents the most expansive disarmament effort in the world and the prospect that it could be halted deeply worried arms-control specialists. The program, which began 14 years ago after the Cold War ended, has deactivated thousands of warheads, missiles and bombers and made progress toward securing biological and chemical weapons.
But the work has gone slower than hoped and Russia still maintains thousands of additional aging nuclear warheads as well as vast stockpiles of other weapons that specialists fear are vulnerable to theft or sale on the international black market. U.S. contractors in Russia would have had to shut down activities if Friday's agreement had not been signed by U.S. Ambassador William J. Burns and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak.
"The extension of the umbrella agreement is critical," said Raphael Della Ratta, a weapons specialist at the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council. Without it, "nuclear weapons delivery systems would not be dismantled, chemical weapons would remain unsecured and undestroyed and biological pathogens would remain unsecured as well."
At the same time, he and other experts have complained that the Bush administration has not shown sufficient urgency about eliminating Russian arms. "We are in a race against time to secure these materials before they're lost, stolen or get into the wrong hands," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "This is a necessary but insufficient step. The administration needs to push down the accelerator in terms of the pace of work."
A senior administration official said the extension should help propel efforts to eliminate old Soviet weapons. "This reinvigorates and strengthens the ongoing cooperation we've been doing with Russia," said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
The extension had been held up for years mainly by a dispute over liability. Under the original agreement, Russia was responsible for any mishaps, even accidents or negligence by U.S. contractors. Russia has balked at that provision. The renewal keeps the original language for current projects but will address Russian concerns for future projects. It does not affect a separate plutonium-disposal program announced in 1998 but never started because of a similar dispute.
A collapse of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program would have marred Bush's visit to St. Petersburg next month for the Group of Eight summit. The meeting will be the group's first held by Russia, which is eager to use the occasion to showcase its reemergence on the world stage as a major power.
Critics say Russia has no business hosting an organization of industrial democracies at a time when President Vladimir Putin has constricted political freedoms at home and used energy resources to flex muscles abroad. Bush has maneuvered to avoid the image that he is endorsing Putin's course by attending the summit.
Vice President Cheney recently criticized Russian actions, and the administration will send two assistant secretaries of state, Daniel Fried and Barry Lowenkron, to a pre-summit meeting to discuss human rights in Russia. Bush also announced yesterday that he will host Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the White House shortly before the summit as a statement of solidarity with Russian neighbors under pressure from Moscow.
The Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement was reached in 1992 at the instigation of Sens. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and was renewed in 1999. Since then, it has deactivated or destroyed 6,828 nuclear warheads, 612 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 885 nuclear air-to-surface missiles, 577 submarine-launched missiles, 155 bombers and 29 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, among others, according to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
But it still has much to do. About half of the nuclear warheads, ICBMs, ICBM silos, submarine-launched missiles and nuclear submarines targeted by the program have yet to be eliminated, according to the agency. A chemical-weapons destruction facility is more than 60 percent unfinished and the Government Accountability Office reported that it may not open by 2009.
Lugar hailed the extension but called on Congress to remove other conditions that threaten the program: "If the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the number one national security threat facing our country, we cannot permit any delays in our response."
3. Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement with Russia Extended
White House Website
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The United States and Russia have signed a Protocol to extend for another seven year period the U.S.-Russia Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Umbrella Agreement. The Agreement was concluded in 1992 under the leadership of President George H. W. Bush and Senators Lugar and Nunn, and first extended in 1999. CTR programs are a key tool used to deal with one of the gravest threats we face-- the danger that terrorists and proliferators could gain access to weapons or materials of mass destruction.
Under the CTR programs, thousands of missiles and warheads have been deactivated. The CTR program is also assisting efforts to complete upgrades to Russian nuclear warhead sites in accordance with the Bratislava Nuclear Security Cooperation initiative announced by the President and President Putin last year. By working to secure, eliminate, and account for weapons and materials of mass destruction, CTR programs support the President's National Security Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. In addition to CTR work in Russia, CTR programs have assisted Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine to become free of nuclear weapons and strategic delivery systems, and helped many states to prevent the proliferation of sensitive materials.
4. US experts end inspection Russian strategic arms base in Bryansk
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Pentagon experts on Monday completed the inspection of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Troops facility.
“Pentagon specialists watched the destruction of ground-based solid fuel ballistic missiles in the settlement of Bershet, Perm Territory, for three days under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1),” the Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass.
The Pentagon officials also inspected three other facilities in Perm Territory where (RS-22 and RS-12M Topol) missiles are scrapped. Every year up to 15 solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles are destroyed at these facilities.
“The missile engine disposal technology is based on the pyrolysis reaction, which is burning in high temperature without oxygen. The resultants then go through multi-stage fine filters, which make them completely harmless,” the ministry official said.
“Funding for the disposal programme comes both from the Russian budget and from the joint risk reduction programme, financed by the U.S. (Nunn-Lugar programme),” he said.
The United States provides about 450 million U.S. dollars every year under this programme to assist Russia in getting rid of its nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological weapons.
START-1, which became effective on December 5, 1994, requires Russia and the U.S. to have no more than 1,600 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based ballistic missiles, and ballistic missiles on heavy bombers. They are allowed to carry no more than 6,000 warheads.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon experts inspected a base in Bryansk, where Russia scraps its strategic weapons, under the START-1 treaty, the Defence Ministry said.
“The experts are watching the destruction of a combat railway-based missile system (CRMS),” the ministry official said.
“The inspection was carried out at the central repair plant in Bryansk, where the destruction of this year’s fifth CRMS launcher has begun. Under the Americans’ supervision, the system, used for the transportation, storage, and launching of RS-22V (SS-24 Scalpel by Western classification) intercontinental ballistic missiles will be destroyed within a week. The system has been in operation for 15 years and fully extended its service life,” the official said.
The CRMS were deployed outside Krasnoyarsk, Perm, and Kostroma, Thirty-six RS-22V missiles were in operation since 1989. The last CRMS was removed from combat duty in Kostroma in August 2005.
The destruction of combat railway-based missile systems started at the end of 2002. Last year, nine of them were destroyed in Bryansk. The missiles and their warheads have been stored at the base to be destroyed by a special technology in Perm.
1. Georgia And USA To Implement Agreement On Biological Threat Reduction
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The Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the US Department signed a Joint Requirement and Implementation Plan of Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) for 2006.
As Prime-News was told by representatives of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia, representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labour, Healthcare and Welfare and Ministry of Agriculture were attending the Overarching Integrated Product Team Meeting.
Invited guests were Endrew Weber, Policy Adviser of the Office of the Secretary of Defence, Paul Boren, Acquisition Adviser of the Office of the Secretary of Defence and Shawn Cali, Biological Threat Reduction Program Manager.
BTRP Joint Requirement and Implementation Plan was initialled by Mamuka Kudava, first Deputy Minister of Defence and John T. Byrd, Director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program at Tbilisi Marriott on Tuesday.
Biological Threat Reduction Program envisages establishment of the Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Alekseevka and establishment of the Threat Agent Detection and Response System (TADR).
2. The Role of the New Russian Anti-Bioterrorism Centres
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This authoritative new 66-page report by Kristina Westerdahl and Lena Norlander is scheduled to be released shortly by FOI (the Swedish Defence Research Agency). It notes that in the 1990s, Russian concern with terrorism in general, led to the unfolding of counter-measures to bioterrorism. These included the establishment in 1999 of two designated lead centres: The Centre of Special Laboratory Diagnostics and Treatment of Especially Dangerous and Exotic Infectious Diseases (CSDT) at the Russian Ministry of Defence Scientific-Research Institute of Microbiology's Virology Centre in 67-i km settlement (Sergiev Posad raion) and the Federal Interagency Centre (FIAC) at the Volgograd Anti-Plague Institute, subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Health & Social Development. Westerdahl and Norlander report that the base institutes of the new anti-bioterrorism centres are well-established research facilities and were among the foremost Soviet institutions engaged in research on dangerous diseases. They also contributed to the protection against natural outbreaks and preparedness for biological weapons attacks.
In order to gain a better understanding of the framework of the new centres, the report reviews the scientific publications of the base institutes in depth for the past two decades and the areas of competence are described for each facility. Westerdahl and Norlander note that the two anti-bioterrorism centres are independent from one another, established by separate orders and subject to separate funding streams. The aims and areas of activities are different and could be viewed as complementary, and only one example of cooperation between the centres was identified. The Virology Centre is a military facility and “closed”, in the sense that there are no foreign visitors, nor do the staff of the Centre have any collaborations with foreign organisations, but it does have a wide network of contacts within the Russian Federation with many co-authored scientific papers. The Virology Centre has continuously produced open papers, resulting in a certain degree of transparency. However, additional research results are classified as this institute is subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Defence and is engaged in work on developing protection against biological weapons. The FOI survey of over 100 scientific publications and presentations from the Virology Centre/CSDT reveals that it has an impressive knowledge base in some of the most dangerous viruses known, and also with regard to methods and equipment for studying such viruses. The Virology Centre is engaged in the investigation of a broad range of viral pathogens, including the Marburg, Ebola and Lassa viruses. The resources of this facility - a high technical competence, modern equipment, and techniques in molecular biology - have also been assigned to the CSDT. Meanwhile, the report notes that the Volgograd Anti-Plague Institute is an open facility and collaborates with a number of institutions both within the Russian Federation, and in Bulgaria and Ukraine. A review of more than 120 papers reveals that the facility employs more traditional research techniques for studies of bacteria. This, it is argued, most likely reflects a staff of skilled classical microbiologists, albeit with knowledge of a limited set of bacteria. The institute's scientists have an adequate experience in areas that are relevant for the FIAC.
The report reveals that the two base institutes have routinely used animals infected by aerosols. This requires special equipment and know-how. There is also a marked interest in aerosol techniques and stability of aerosol particles, e.g. use of carriers. The facilities for animal experiments seem to be extensive and suited for various species, at the Virology Centre also including primates. A new aerosol laboratory was built at the Volgograd Anti-Plague Institute in the mid-1990s.
Westerdahl and Norlander evaluate the degree to which the new anti-bioterrorism centres have fulfilled the objectives as outlined in the decrees under which they were established. The CSDT performs laboratory diagnostics, isolates, characterises and stores pathogens, and there are several examples of laboratory and research work. The CSDT can also provide hospital care for patients having dangerous diseases. In contrast, little is known on its evaluation of epidemiological measures and improvements in prevention and liquidation of especially dangerous diseases. Reportedly, the CSDT has processed many pathogen samples, and has had the opportunity to create an impressive strain collection of new and re-emerging pathogens. A corresponding assessment of the FIAC is not possible due to the lack of information on its activities, possibly because of the strong focus on educational activities that would not be widely reported in media or scientific publications. Underfunding could also contribute to the lack of published information.
The research directions for the two anti-bioterrorim centres and their base institutes have not changed significantly since 1990, although bioterrorism is now a high priority in Russia. The authors argue that there is more of a continuous interest in viruses and bacteria that have been in focus for decades. Only two viruses and one bacterium from the Russian priority lists of bioterrorism agents are among the most frequent organisms in the publications from the two institutes: Variola and Marburg virus and Burkholderia mallei. According to the publications, the Ebola, Variola and Marburg viruses as well as the two Burkholderia species causing glanders and melioidosis are aming the five organisms most likely to be used as biological warfare agents by non-state or state actors. Neither of these pathogens is a real domestic problem in Russia, with the possible exception of Burkholderias that could be a concern in veterinary medicine.
The report notes that the new anti-bioterrorism centres are engaged in civil activities. However, the authors argue that it cannot be completely ignored that, during the late Soviet period, their respective base institutes were involved in the world’s largest offensive bioweapons programme. Russia is a states party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and has denied the existence of any offensive programme and biological weapons. In this context, the unchanged focus regarding the range of pathogens studied, and the expertise in aerosol and research that can contribute to both defensive and offensive aims at the two new anti-bioterrorism centres and their base institutes, is notable.
The report concludes that it was a logical measure to incorporate the new centres in well-established institutes with experience in development of measures to prevent diseases caused by natural and deliberate spread of bacteria and viruses. Resources in terms of qualified staff, equipment and strain collections were already in place. The know-how of these institutes is unique and thus a splendid source for the development of counter-measures to bioterrorism. However, it is not possible to make a full evaluation of the outcome of the activities of the anti-bioterrorism centres because there is insufficient information to hand. The available information indicates that it is primarily the CSDT which takes an active part in the control of domestic infectious disease outbreaks. This provides valuable experience for the handling of potential future outbreaks, both natural and as a consequence of the deliberate spread of infectious agents. The authors argue that it is more doubtful whether FIAC fulfils its role. It would be of interest in future studies to determine the research priorities of the anti-bioterrorism centres and whether any changes in these have taken place. In addition, more information is required with regard to the achievements and funding of the FIAC in order to elucidate its role and level of activity within the Russian system to combat bioterrorism.
1. CSTO to adopt declaration on higher efficiency at Minsk summit
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The Collective Security Treaty Organization will adopt a declaration on the CSTO higher efficiency at its summit due in Minsk on June 23, 2007, the organization's Secretary-General, Nikolai Bordyuzha, said on Tuesday.
The delegates will also approve some documents reflecting the CSTO member-countries' common stand on global security problems and nuclear non-proliferation.
``The CSTO will also adopt a statement initiated by Belarus in the UN on the proliferation of light small arms,'' Bordyuzha said.
The collective rapid deployment forces in Central Asia will be also on the agenda, he said.
On June 21, a group of experts will begin work on forming a collective security system, he said.
Bordyuzha pointed out that the issues on the agenda would ``give a strong impetus to the CSTO's futher development and the creation of a collective security system.
The CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia.
2. NATO: The NATO PA Science and Technology Committee's Sub-Committee on the Proliferation of Military Technology visits the United States
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The implications of Iran's nuclear policy, the future of the global WMD non-proliferation regime, prospects for nuclear disarmament and the challenges of net-centricity were the major topics of discussion during the visit of the Science and Technology Committee Sub-Committee on the Proliferation of Military Technology delegation to New York and Monterey from 12-15 June 2006. The sixteen members of the NATO PA delegation, led by sub-committee Chairman, Jerme Rivire (France), and Committee Chairman, MichaelMates (UK), met with several key ambassadors to the UN, senior UN officials, academics and representatives of defence technology companies.
With regards to Iran, most of the speakers hoped that the package of incentives recently submitted to Iran by the European Troika, the US, Russia and China, will be accepted by Tehran and will serve as a basis for the settlement of current disagreement. The "E3" ambassadors emphasised that if the package of incentives is declined by Tehran, the International Community will run out of options and will have to introduce a package of sanctions (or disincentives). Iranian ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Javad Zarif, stated that it would have been easier to reach an agreement between the West and Iran had Iranian representatives been involved in the preparation of such a package.
From the meeting in New York, the sub-committee delegation gained the rather pessimistic impression that the UN system as a whole is in a serious crisis. Nobuaki Tanaka, UN Under Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, observed that the existing stalemate both in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation is a result of certain groups of countries preferring one solution to another. . Mr. Tanaka, however, called for a balanced approach and exponential progress in both areas.
In Monterey, experts from the Center for Non-proliferation Studies discussed issues including the impact of synthetic biology on international security, the assessment of the US-India nuclear deal and the problem of eliminating highly enriched uranium from the civilian sector. The delegation visited the Cisco Systems Headquarters in San Jose and discussed the outstanding challenge of net-centricity. The Lockheed Martin officials briefed the delegation on missile defence and space weaponisation issues in the LM Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale.
3. Putin Asks Security Council To Find Answers To Security Challenges
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the Security Council "to clearly identify the interests of Russia in the sphere of nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament and of preventing an arms race in outer space."
The head of state told the Security Council, which met in session earlier on Tuesday for the first time this year "there must be convincing answers to the modern challenges, such as measures for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Putin asked the Cabinet to finalize a special (words indistinct) defense-industrial complex by the end of September.
"I suggest all measures along these lines should be completed in the third quarter and the program's financing begin as of 2007," Putin said.
"Analysis of the state of affairs in the defense-industrial complex indicates that it does not guarantee the armaments supply tasks will be coped with," Putin said. "The reasons for this are many. The equipment's wear and tear and lack of diversification in the major defense-industrial complex structures are the main ones."
"In a number of industries, such as shipbuilding, munitions production, special chemistry and parts and components manufacturing there is no development and reform strategy," Putin said.
He called for urgent measures in this sphere and criticized the government "for not being in a hurry."
Putin said the process of the army and the navy's rearmament was too slow and Russia still lagged behind other countries in providing advanced weapon systems for its armed forces.
The president believes that "in the interests of effective distribution of budget resources rules of spending must be established and development and day-to-day maintenance of the armed forces financed separately. In his opinion it might be a good idea to introduce a new entry to the classification of budget spending, entitled Upgrading of the Armed Forces and Other Troops.
He recalled that a decision on the guidelines of developing the military structure of the state till the year 2015 was made back a year ago, adding that "a number of measures have been implemented since."
As an example, Putin mentioned the stable support for the strategic nuclear force and the continuing creation of permanent combat readiness units within the general-purpose force. Many of these units have been shifted to contract manning.
"The financial component of the military organization of the state has been stabilized. The problem of housing for the military is being addressed better and a mortgage system for the military has been created," Putin said. "In general there is the obvious trend towards overcoming the prolonged crisis in the armed forces."
The head of state stated what he described as "the general positive dynamics" but at the same time called for faster re-armament of the army and the naval forces.
Putin said, "The complicated demographic situation as it is, planning must begin for hiring sergeants, non-commissioned officers and crews of naval ships as of 2009."
Simultaneously, "the system of mobilization logistics must be adjusted."
"It is extremely important to pay special attention to pre-conscription training and military and patriotic upbringing of youth," Putin said. "This is not the task of any specific department. Regional and local bodies of power and non-governmental organizations must pool their efforts."
4. PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ALEXEI ARBATOV, HEAD OF THE CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, EXPERT OF THE MOSCOW CARNEGIE CENTER RIA NOVOSTI
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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Moderator: Good day, deal colleagues. Welcome to the RIA Novosti press club. We are starting our press conference. It is devoted to the presentation of a report on mass destruction weapons by Hans Blix. Our guest today is Alexei Arbatov, the head of the International Security Center at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, who is also a member of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Arbatov: I am pleased to see you here and I am particularly grateful to you for coming, because the topic is very important. Mass destruction weapons are a multifaceted problem in the sphere of global security and the Russian Federation's security. It concerns our foreign and internal policies, security and economy, control over military organization. It is hard to find spheres of life having nothing to do with this problem.
We have met many times here to discuss various issues, including those related to mass destruction weapons. This meeting was prompted by the presentation of a report prepared under the guidance of a prominent diplomat and political figure Hans Blix, who is known as an individual who opposed the United States' military action against Iraq, who headed the UN inspection and who insisted that Iraq had not possessed nuclear weapons. He believes that the right approach to dealing with the problem would be to continue inspections.
As you know, under the United States' pressure, those inspections were discontinued. That was followed by a military action with all the consequences we have felt and will have to deal with for many years to come. Blix deserves public praise even for this alone. But he also accomplished lots of other things. In particular, he used to be Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He dedicated his life to diplomatic activities, and he was asked to head this commission.
Why was it set up? It was set up as recommended by the United Nations leadership. The recommendation was conveyed three years ago to the leadership of Sweden, in particular, to the late Foreign Minister Anna Lind, who was murdered in Stockholm, as you know. The idea was to create a new international commission that would proceed with efforts made by several commissions before.
The first and best known commission of that kind was the Palme commission, which was also established by the Swedish parliament's and government's decision in the Cold War years, in the 1980s. It issued a whole range of recommendations which have eventually been implemented and which actually put an end to the Cold War. The commission dealt with global security. I am not going to recall all of its recommendations, but it played a very big role in its time, as well as its leader Olof Palme who also died tragically -- such a sinister fate, and I hope Hams Blix will avoid this fate.
The Palme commission, which issued its recommendations in Cold War years and helped put an end to it and accomplish breakthroughs in the disarmament sphere, was followed in the mid-1990s by the so- called Canberra commission or the Australian commission. It was set up on the Australian government's initiative and dealt with ways to modify military political relations and the disarmament system after the Cold War.
It issued a whole range of recommendations which provided a basis for most important decisions, including those related to extending, forever, the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1995, and the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996.
Unfortunately, many of the Canberra commission's recommendations related to the restructuring of military political relations and the disarmament system to adapt them to post-Sold War realities have not been implemented. On the contrary, the situation developed in a negative direction.
This served as grounds for the creation of a new commission that would evaluate the situation in this decade and issue recommendations on the most acute problem on the agenda, namely, mass destruction weapons.
Hans Blix has been commissioned to head it, as an individual having great authority, experience and flawless reputation in the world. The reputation, as I have said already, was confirmed by the gloomy results of the US campaign in Iraq. By the way, Blix is a very reserved, yet very witty individual. When asked about his view of the results of the American action in Iraq, he said the US army, having accomplished this action, has attained the same result as the commission, yet the price was much higher -- the result is that they failed to find mass destruction weapons there.
So, what has provided the foundations for the commission's activities? The understanding that there existed certain incredibly paradoxical things after the Cold War ended more than 15 years ago. It looked like the end of the Cold War would put an end to the arms race, in particular, in what concerns nuclear weapons, with which the Cold War had been closely associated for decades. This has not happened, though.
The first, very important paradox is that the states no longer see each other as enemies. The states regard each other as strategic partners, strategic allies. They have started cooperation in many spheres of common interest. Yet the arms race continued.
Naturally, its pace was not as high as in Cold War years. Still, the problem has not been resolved. There still are thousands of nuclear warheads, including in the arsenals of the former enemies, now partners, and those weapons are still targeted at each other. The arms race has shown a surprising feature: it has lived through Cold War years, it outlived one of the key Cold War players, the Soviet Union and the Communist system, and it has gained its own dynamic. We can see this today: there is no international crisis of a scale comparable to the 1962 Caribbean crisis which put the world on the brink of catastrophe. We can see that Russia and other countries have paid increasingly more attention to nuclear weapons as a basis for security, new systems, new programs. And this is happening in a situation, where countries no longer officially see each other as enemies.
This is a strange paradox. This is what required understanding and certain recommendations.
The second paradox is -- well, on the first one, I also have to say that the arms race continues, even though its pace is slow and its scale is low, the arms race between nuclear states, and the process of proliferation of nuclear weapons was given a strong impetus.
After the end of the Cold War, two countries officially joined the nuclear club in 1998, India and Pakistan. Two other countries are on the threshold, and which side of the threshold they are is not clear: North Korea has stated that it possesses nuclear weapons and pulled out of the non-proliferation treaty, Iran is suspected of an intention to cross the line as soon as it gets technological opportunities, even though it has denied its intention.
Moreover, growing scale of international terrorism brought to the agenda the issue of acquisition of mass destruction weapons, particularly nuclear weapons, by terrorist organizations, which could have disastrous effects for our civilization.
The second paradox is that nuclear states, after the end of the Cold War, have grown more pragmatic and I would say that their attitude to issues related to the use of nuclear weapons has become more negligent. Naturally, I have used this word in quotes, meaning that in the past the use of nuclear weapons was regarded as an extreme measure, a catastrophic measure, which is only possible in an emergency situation. The attitude to this has now become more pragmatic, so to say. That is, it is believed that nuclear weapons could be used not just when there is a threat of catastrophe, but also to perform certain military missions.
Everyone knows that the United States used to develop a program which has now been suspended. It is a program of nuclear mini charges, which could be used for penetrating deep into the ground, attacking underground hidings of certain terrorists and rogue countries. Naturally, other states considered this threat and thought: what if the United States decides to use those weapons against us. In particular, Russia was concerned a lot.
The program has been suspended now, but there is no guarantee that it will not be resumed in the future, because there are no accords to that effect in place. Russia has increasingly made a focus on nuclear weapons. Its attitude to the use of nuclear weapons has become less sophisticated.
In 1982 the Soviet Union pledged not to be the first party to use nuclear weapons, but in 1993 Russian said it would not observe this commitment any longer and could use nuclear weapons in case of emergency, if there is a threat to its national security.
In 2003 and 2005, it was stated in official documents of Russia's military political leadership that nuclear weapons could be applied selectively, in a limited manner for the purposes of de- escalation of conflicts. Clearly, this is something different than an emergency situation posing a threat to national security. So, following the United States example Russia to a certain measure reviewed its approaches to the application of nuclear weapons.
Similar things could be said about other nuclear powers. In other words, strangely enough, now that the Cold War is over, the nuclear threshold tends to go down, rather than become higher. For the first time after 1945, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threshold has gone down. Nuclear powers tend to treat this more pragmatically now.
The third paradox is that the end of the Cold War has not put an end to the arms race, while having destroyed the regime of weapons cuts and restrictions. No one could have expected this to happen.
We do not have anything left of the regime of limitation and reduction of nuclear weapons. Well, along with nuclear weapons, mass destruction weapons include chemical and bacteriological weapons. We have hit a deadlock in the sphere of chemical weapons, because the funds that have been provided for elimination of chemical weapons are insufficient. They are much smaller than stipulated by the agreement on liquidation, convention on liquidation of chemical weapons.
There is a convention on biological weapons, but there is no inspection system in place. That is, we have actually relied on goodwill of other countries and our own intelligence capabilities.
In the sphere of nuclear weapons, after the United States pulled out of the ABM Treaty, the START-2 Treaty has been impaired. The START-3 framework agreements signed in 1997, which called for reductions to substantially lower levels, the accords on delimitation between strategic and tactical anti-missile defense, also signed in 1997 in an attempt to save the ABM Treaty -- it was signed but it has not been ratified by the United States and China; the nuclear test ban treaty has also been impaired. Negotiations in Geneva on discontinuing the production of fissile materials for military purposes have been stalled.
The latest conference that reviewed the non-proliferation treaty, held last year, ended with catastrophic results. For the first time over the period of existence of the NPT Treaty, no final statement or declaration was made. The parties resolutely disagreed on a whole range of key issues. So, the non-proliferation regime has also gone along the same path and it is on the verge of collapse now.
This range of problems has prompted countries, has served as an incentive for the United Nations' initiative, which was perceived by the Swedish leadership, that a new commission should be set up to consider those issues, analyze them and issue recommendations.
The commission's logic with respect to mass destruction weapons was formulated by Australia's representative and former foreign minister Gareth Evans: as long as a number of countries have mass destruction weapons, other countries will certainly want to have similar weapons. There still is the probability in the world that mass destruction weapons will be used, intentionally or incidentally. Any such use would have catastrophic consequences for our civilization. This is a very important point which has rather a philosophical than practical or political meaning, but it is important. Why? Because over decades of the existence of weapons of mass destruction societies, the world, and the governments have become used to them and obviously think that this may go on forever/
However the starting point in the commission's work was that this will not go on forever. Sooner or later these weapons will be used either in a local conflict between new nuclear states or by a terrorist organization against major powers. And this will undermine the very foundation of civilization as we know it.
A few words about the commission's work. Over the two years of its existence the commission has met 10 times in different countries, including those that used to be called third world countries like India and Egypt. Under the commission's auspices more than 30 studies have been conducted by WMD research centers, including Russian ones. These studies were conducted and published for the commission.
The commission consists of 15 members, in addition to Hans Blix, who represent all continents of the planet. All major countries were represented, including almost all nuclear powers, nuclear both de jure and de facto. For example there is a representative from India, which is a nuclear state de facto. And there are representatives from all five nuclear powers, as well as many other countries. As I said, there are 15 of them. Each member of the commission acted in his personal capacity and did not represent the official position of his government. Otherwise, the commission would have turned into a small version of the UN or a small version of a disarmament conference. The idea was to bring together specialists from different countries and develop proposals that would not be related to official positions and that would be free of political considerations but could offer something new compared to what has been offered by existing and official international bodies.
The commission prepared a report. This is what it looks like. The report is called Terror Weapons. It exists only in the English language for the time being, but we plan to translate it into other languages, including Russian. Once it is translated into Russian, many of you, those who do not read English, will be able to read it in Russian. Those who want to read it in English can come to the center, the Moscow Carnegie Center, where Hans Blix will present the report on June 23 and speak about the commission's work and conclusions. And copies will be available there. those who are on the standard list of persons invited to the Moscow Carnegie Center can call it and ask people there to put them on the list so they could come. But I think most of you are invited anyway.
Over two years of its work the commission issued 60 recommendations. I want to say a few words about the nature of those recommendations. As I said, these recommendations are based on a premise that the situation where the world sits on a powder keg of weapons of mass destruction, cannot continue forever. But at the same time the commission did not issue even one recommendation that could be rejected as absolutely unrealistic. A very important balance was observed. On the one hand, the commission seeks to reduce the world's dependence on weapons of mass destruction and minimize the probability of their further accumulation and modernization, let alone their use or possession by terrorist organizations.
On the other hand, the commission avoided recommendations that could have been surely regarded as ideological, rhetoric or symbolic. All recommendations were thorough analyzed from a strategic and technical point of view. They contain no calls for immediate and complete nuclear disarmament. They contain no calls for stopping the nuclear arms race once and for all. The commission approached this from a solely professional point of view, and its recommendations are concrete and substantive. On the one hand, they will not put an end to weapons of mass destruction overnight, but if they are accepted, they will eventually reverse the dangerous trend and eliminate the effects of the paradoxes in the post Cold War era and will make it possible to reorganize the world on a more reliable basis than fear and a balance of weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time the commission involved people who were closely connected with the political situation, both at the international and national level, and they have no ungrounded illusions that the commission's recommendations will be accepted tomorrow and the world will change for the better. We understand that the current political situation, primarily in the US, because the US leadership bears the bulk of responsibility for the WMD crisis in the world, a crisis in the reduction and limitation of these weapons.
By the way, the report makes it clear, it doesn't say it in a roundabout way, who bears the brunt of responsibility. It's the US leadership, although many other countries bear their share of responsibility as well. So, the commission has no illusions that these recommendations will be accepted immediately and translated into life. But on the other hand, those 60 recommendations will create a system of coordinates which the states could use if they decide that the world needs new serious efforts in the field of weapons of mass destruction.
We think that even though these recommendations cannot be implemented quickly, their professional solidness will guarantee that if the political situation improves the can be implemented. We believe that our position, the position of the commission members on weapons of mass destruction is a much more realistic position than the official position of the military and political leadership of some countries that still think that nuclear weapons and WMD, but nuclear weapons in the first place, can guarantee their security for all times.
Before we move on to Q and A, let me comment on some of the recommendations. I certainly cannot mention all 60 of them because we are short of time, and there is probably no need for that. For you to have some idea of recommendations, let me speak about some of them.
It took us hours or even days, a lot of time to formulate those recommendations, agree them with various countries, make their wording precise. We proceeded from the assumption that it is not necessary to think of something very unconventional. As Hans Blix said, it is better to repeat a sensible proposal ten times, than voice anything silly for the first time ever.
So, in terms of nuclear weapons, the key recommendation of the commission is immediate ratification by the United States and China of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and bringing it into effect, because this treaty concerns both the nuclear arms race between nuclear powers and proliferation of nuclear weapons. This is sort of a link. It is fully in line with Article 6 of the NPT Treaty, which links non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, that is, refusal of countries to obtain nuclear weapons, with moves by nuclear powers aimed at limiting and reducing nuclear weapons.
Just imagine, had the Treaty been in effect, a whole range of countries would have to adhere to it. Naturally, possibilities for further proliferation of nuclear weapons by such countries as North Korea would be substantially limited. The United States' refusal to ratify the treaty does harm to the whole non-proliferation regime, which cannot be offset even by US proposals on particular issues such as those they have voiced on the full nuclear cycle and other.
Ratification of the NPT Treaty, and before this ratification, before it takes effect, the observance of a moratorium on nuclear tests would be the starting point. This is what concerns non- proliferation of nuclear weapons.
There is a recommendation on universalization of the additional protocol of 1997, which grants the IAEA the authority to conduct virtually unlimited inspections on the territory of non-nuclear states to make sure that they are not engaged in undeclared activities in the sphere of nuclear weapons.
For example, had such protocol been in effect 15 years ago, North Korea would have been unable to advance its program aimed at the development of nuclear weapons.
This would allow lifting suspicions concerning Iran, because those inspections would be able to detect certain programs and facilities and Iran would be obligated to discontinue them to avoid being charged with the intention to violate the non-proliferation treaty.
There are particular recommendations on Korea and Iran. They are based on the assumption that Korea, North Korea would get security guarantees, would get economic aid, would get a peace treaty that would establish peace on the Korean peninsula, would get the ability to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes by using safe nuclear light water reactors such as Russia used to build and such as the United States and Japan planned to build, which has been frozen, as you know, under the KEDO project. In exchange, North Korea would return into the NPT Treaty, liquidate all the facilities, materials and devices, if it has them, and would cooperate with the IAEA in the framework of an additional protocol. That is, this would allow removing suspicions of unauthorized activities.
It was clearly stated that one should approach those problems separately. Some people may dislike the North Korean regime, but this is a different problem. Measures aimed at the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime, should not be mixed up with measures aimed at replacing the regime in that country. This certainly should not be done as this leads into an impasse. Therefore, the recognition of North Korea, economic aid to it -- this should all be done for the sake of removing the nuclear threat. As for the change of its regime or evolution of that regime, they are different problems. They are problems related to North Korea's internal development.
The same approach has been applied in recommendations on Iran. One should not have plans to replace the ruling regime under the pretext of protection of the non-proliferation regime. They are different things. One of them should be removed from the agenda. This is the issue for the Iranian people to decide. Iran should itself decide what regime it wants to have. As for nuclear weapons, this is the issue of concern for the international community, and Iran should cooperate with it.
So, on Iran, it has been proposed to introduce a protracted moratorium on potentially dangerous activities related to the full fuel cycle. Dangerous means bigger scale activities than those Iran is engaged in today, those going beyond the framework of the experimental facility they have today. This recommendation includes ratification of the additional protocol of 1997, resumption of full- scale cooperation with the IAEA and, in exchange, guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel to Iran, the recognition of Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, economic cooperation and Iran's security, with appropriate international commitments.
It is important to note here that with respect to Iran, the idea, as the first step towards a nuclear-free zone in the greater Middle East, is a concept which Iran once initiated when it proposed that a zone free from the nuclear fuel cycle, free from uranium enrichment and plutonium processing enterprises should be established in the greater Middle East, and it would apply to all countries in the region without exception, including Israel.
This is a new idea which deserves serious attention. A nuclear- free zone and liquidation of nuclear weapons already available in the region -- in particular, Israel possesses undeclared nuclear weapons -- this would be the next step. It requires serious negotiations on a whole range of Middle Eastern problems. But as the first step, a zone free from uranium enrichment and fuel processing for plutonium separation, this step could move us forward far enough along this road and remove a whole range of concerns related to Iran's energy program.
Several words on nuclear weapons possessed by key states. What are the recommendations by the Blix Commission? First, it is the recommendation that the United States and the Russian Federation should observe their commitments of 2002 and the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. That is, the procedure for liquidation, inspection systems, and schedules for reduction of nuclear weapons which, as you know, should be accomplished by 2012 to reduce the limits from 4,000-6,000 warheads today to about 2,000 warheads in 2012. Well, the actual figures are 1,700-2,200, this is the actual level.
But at the moment, there are no inspection systems in place, there are no procedures for liquidation, that is, there are no instruments that are usually outlined in documents on reduction and limitation of strategic weapons. Still, the commission believes that reducing the potentials to 2,200 would not be enough. Both the US and Russia must start negotiations on another treaty, SOR-2, so to speak, that would provide for cuts to about half of the SOR treaty levels, which is about 1,000 nuclear warheads. The commission does not propose to cut further Why? Because this level -- and I am saying this to prove that the recommendations were well prepared and are professionally done -- because anything below 1,000 nuclear warheads and strategic forces would raise a series of big additional questions.
First of all, third nuclear powers, and the limitation of their capabilities. Now France, Britain, and China have 200-300 strategic nuclear warheads. In other words, great powers can painlessly cut their arsenals to 1,000. But further reductions could not be made unless the nuclear capabilities of third countries are limited.
Second, anti-missile defense systems. What the US is doing and what Russia has are very limited systems that can intercept several warheads at best. But if we are talking about a period of 15-20 years, more effective systems can be created. In this regard, further cuts to below 1,000 warheads in each country would require certain AMD restrictions, which don't exist now.
Next, cuts below the level of 1,000 warheads would require certain measures with regard to high-precision conventional weapons that are being actively developed now. As you know, long-range systems can carry conventional high precision weapons which can hit targets that experts thought only strategic nuclear weapons could hit. The US has suggested arming some of its submarines with nuclear weapons. As long as the two countries have about 1,000 nuclear warheads, these high-precision conventional weapons won't pose any big threat. But it would be impossible to make further cuts without certain restrictions on high-precision conventional weapons.
Finally, tactical nuclear weapons. In addition to strategic forces, the countries have tactical nuclear capabilities. For example, the US has forward-deployed nuclear systems in Europe -- 400-500 nuclear aerial nuclear bombs that can be delivered by attack aviation. As NATO goes eastward, these systems' range goes all the way up to the Urals and beyond, and thus gain more and more strategic value for Russia.
And again, as long as there are no measures in place for these systems, it would be wrong to cut nuclear warheads below 1,000. I have spent so much time talking about this one issue in order to show that by proposing radical measures, what would seem another double reduction, the commission is firmly committed to strategic and technical realities and does not propose anything that would sound great at the UN or street demonstrations but would be immediately rejected by specialists as unfeasible from the technical point of view.
Another example of such approach is tactical nuclear weapons. Russia avoids talking about this, and the US has kept silent too. Why? There is some sort of strange and unofficial understanding. Russia thinks it's weakness in the field of combined forces can be made up for by mass deployment of nuclear tactical systems. The US thinks that their forward deployed systems in Europe consolidate NATO politically and give the country greater military supremacy over Russia because this is basically a free of charge addition above the ceilings set for strategic intercontinental systems. Although these weapons virtually are aimed against each other, both countries, strange as it is, prefer not to speak about them.
The Blix commission thought it was a paradoxical situation and suggested that in addition to reducing strategic nuclear weapons, measures should be taken with regard to tactical weapons, also because tactical nuclear weapons are more vulnerable in terms of theft by terrorists. As a rule, tactical nuclear weapons don't have effective systems that would prevent their unauthorized use. These weapons exist in great numbers and they are not protected as thoroughly as strategic weapons are or centrally stored weapons.
Given all this, the commission had a long discussion and came up with the following recommendation: All tactical nuclear weapons must be removed from the armed forces to centralized storage facilities and removed from all foreign territories. Russia and the US have tactical nuclear weapons in the first place. So, this recommendation is 99 percent for them. What would be the result of that? On the one hand, this would eliminate a destabilizing factor, which is tactical nuclear weapons. On the other hand, Russia could continue reasonable modernization of these systems, train personnel in operating them, and keep them at arms depots. In case of a serious threat to the country, these weapons could be quickly returned from the depots to the armed forces to be used for protecting Russia, given the weakness of its combined forces.
On the other hand, they would not be deployed permanently, which would eliminate questions related to insufficient control and possible theft by terrorists. At the same time American weapons would be removed from Europe, which would benefit Russia because they can be stored only within the national borders. In other words, the US would lose this addition to its strategic nuclear forces. This compromise would benefit both Russia and NATO and would to a certain extent be acceptable for the US as well.
I will not talk about recommendations concerning biological and chemical weapons. But I will say only a few words about recommendations for the UN. First of all, they recommend the UN security officials to create a separate center or a structure to do with weapons of mass destruction. No such structure exists now. If suspicions arise that weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical or bacteriological weapons have been used, or that a country breaches its obligations, the Security Council could quickly send its permanent and trained inspectors to check things out and make conclusions. In Iraq a commission of this type was called UNMOVIC and it fully justified itself. If it had been allowed to carry out its mission to the end, there would have been no war in Iraq. So, there is a proposal that security officials should create a permanently functioning small body of qualified experts who could quickly respond to threats in this field.
The UN has also been recommended to call an extraordinary session on weapons of mass destruction to discuss the issues that worry so many people, including the Blix commission. No such session has been held for years, but the question has long been acute.
Next, at the disarmament conference in Geneva, which is in an impasse now because all issues have to be solved by consensus, it has been proposed to give up the principle of consensus and solve all issues related to the program of work, administrative and procedural aspects by a qualified majority of two-thirds, including in order to make progress in dialogue on the termination of the production of fissile materials for military purposes, which has been not going anywhere for many years because the countries have been trying to link it to other issues and have not provided an opportunity to start the talks.
Actually that's all I want to tell you. As you understand, there are 60 recommendations and I could talk on and on, but our time is limited, and I am ready to take your questions.
Q: You didn't say you are a member of the commission. If I remember it correctly, you are, are you?
Arbatov: I am.
Q: I just wanted to get a confirmation. And I have another question too. You said in the very beginning about pre-threshold states and post-threshold states, but didn't mention Israel. And then you said kind of in passing, sorry for using this word, that Israel has nuclear weapons although the existence of nuclear weapons in Israel has spurred a lot of disputes among experts. For example, Viktor Mikhailov, former nuclear industry ministry, claims that Israel does not have nuclear weapons. It used to have them but they have fallen out of order. Sergei Rogov and his aides and deputies say -- you could read it in the press not so long ago, just as I did -- that Israel has nuclear weapons.
So, my question is, what arguments and proof does the Blix commission have to say that Israel has nuclear weapons or Israel does not have nuclear weapons? And there is also a question about the proof. You said that tactical nuclear weapons are in the Russian Armed Forces. But a man by the name of Volynkin, you probably know him, says, and others do too, when a rare discussion on nuclear tactical weapons begins, that all tactical nuclear weapons are in storage. But then there was the Kursk submarine tragedy. As you know and as many other people know, the submarines are armed with Granit systems, that can carry nuclear warheads. At the time of the tragedy, there was no nuclear warheads on the Granit systems.
So, my question is, how much proof does the Blix commission have, and what kind of proof, that both exist?
Arbatov: On Israel, Israel has not carried out nuclear tests, and there is no absolute proof that it doesn't have nuclear weapons. This differs Israel from other de jure or de facto nuclear powers. The five nuclear powers have carried out such testing, and there are no doubts there. India and Pakistan which are nuclear powers de facto because they are not parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but have nuclear weapons have also tested them officially. Israel has not. Israel's policy is neither confirm nor deny the existence of nuclear weapons.
However, there are numerous indirect proofs from various sources that is quite sufficient to say with confidence that Israel has nuclear weapons even though it has not carried out any testing. In other words, we can say with a probability of 99.99 percent that it has nuclear weapons. This follows from the testimonies of those who were involved in the program and those who left Israel, as well as numerous indirect data. This is why the Blix commission -- this is what differs Israel from North Korea that has not carried nuclear testing but said it has nuclear weapons, but there are serious doubts about that.
For example, analyzing information from different sources and indirect data that are evaluated by experts, they come to a conclusion that Korea may have several nuclear explosive devices that have not been tested and North Korea itself does not place a lot of confidence in them, but it is absolutely certain that Korea does not have nuclear weapons or nuclear warheads that can be put on carriers and used against targets, be it a plane or a missile.
This is why the Blix commission's position was that there is considerable uncertainty about North Korea and it is still possible to bring it back to the NPT, just as South Africa did. It created six nuclear warheads, then joined the treaty, and the warheads were dismantled and destroyed under international control.
As far as Israel is concerned, Israel is an undeclared nuclear state. Based on that, some proposals were formulated, like taking the first step to create a zone free of the fuel cycle that has direct access to nuclear weapons because it poses a threat. Uranium enrichment can lead to the production of a uranium weapon, and plutonium separation can lead to the production of plutonium weapon. And this is why it proposed a measure that may be accepted by Israel and in the future by Iran and other countries in the region. The creation of a nuclear free zone, which requires the regulation of numerous political and territorial problems, including the Palestinian problem, as well as issued related to combined forces, has been delayed until later.
The second question was about Russian systems. Nothing was said as to whether there were nuclear weapons aboard the Kursk or not. We remember that. But it was said clearly that the Komsomolsk carried nuclear torpedoes. When the head of the 12th main directorate says that everything is in storage, he is not misleading anyone because there can be different storage possibilities. There can be centralized storage controlled by the 12th main directorate, where weapons are guarded and maintained, and all weapons, strategic and tactical are disassembled. That's one thing. Another thing is when we talk about arms depots at air bases or naval bases where they keep tactical nuclear weapons that can be quickly deployed on planes or ships or submarines. They are also in storage, and they were also put under the control of specialists and the 12th main directorate not so long ago, while before they were under the supervision of Air Force and Navy officers.
So, he is not misleading anyone. But storage facilities can be different, and we suggest that all weapons should be brought to centralized storage under better control and protection. Besides, I want to refer you to parallel commitments made by the Soviet Union, and then Russia, and the US in 1991-1992, which say very clearly how many nuclear weapons are to be destroyed and how many are to be returned to centralized storage. If you compare these percentage points, the rest should logically remain in the armed forces. If it is said, for the example. that half of the nuclear weapons of such and such type are to be returned to centralized storage it would be logical to assume that the other half remains in the field.
Q: I am sorry but it says that one half will be destroyed.
Arbatov: I am talking about those that are not to be destroyed, I am talking about those that are to be returned to centralized storage. There have been several statements, official statements, that some of these commitments were not fully implemented for technical or financial or some other reasons or their implementation would be stretched in time, which also means that the weapons will remain in the field.
Q: Could you speak a bit more about a zone free of uranium enrichment operations? How many uranium-enriching countries are there? And how are you going to disarm them?
Arbatov: In the greater Middle East, whatever you understand by that, but it includes North Africa, the Middle and Near East all the way to Pakistan, the area from Morocco to Pakistan, and we can call that the greater Middle East, there is not a single state there that has uranium enrichment enterprises, except Iran, which as you know, has created an infrastructure for such operations in Natanz and has already built there the first 164 first-generation centrifuges that may as well be regarded as a pilot plant. This plant cannot quickly enrich uranium to the weapon-grade level even if such a decision is made because these centrifuges are not powerful enough and there are not enough of them.
According to specialists, if theoretically such a decision were adopted, Iran would need more than 10 years to enrich a sufficient amount of uranium in those 164 centrifuges and bring it to the weapon-grade level, that is to enrich it to uranium-235 in order to build several nuclear weapons. This is why it can be regarded as a pilot plant.
Other countries don't have such facilities, including Israel. Israel is not enriching uranium. According to indirect data, Israel built its first nuclear weapon by processing irradiated fuel using a research reactor and a plutonium charge. Since intelligence reports have not confirmed any such activity there lately, we can assume that Israel has created a certain number of nuclear weapons on the basis of plutonium and stopped there, and is not creating more because it simply has not such need. It doesn't have carriers for the weapons. And it doesn't need to do that because it created these weapons for regional purposes. So, Israel may agree to join this zone. In other words, it will freeze the processing of irradiated fuel and plutonium separation operations, and Iran will suspend or will not further modernize its pilot facility at Natanz. All other countries do not have facilities for enrichment or the processing of irradiated fuel in order to separate plutonium.
So, technically accession to such zone now is not complicated. It may be complicated politically because many may say that Israel has nuclear weapons but other countries don't. But this can easily be dealt with because other countries in the region do not use the existence of nuclear weapons in Israel to justify their own nuclear weapons programs. Iran says it is not going to create nuclear weapons. So, the fact that Israel may have nuclear weapons would not be an obstacle to creating such a zone.
But before a nuclear free zone can be created as the next stage, it will be necessary to find out if Israel has nuclear weapons and destroy such weapons, provided other countries in the region do not create such weapons. But this is a matter of a more distant future. As you understand, this is a more challenging task from the strategic, technical and political point of view.
Q: What does the report say about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Russia? And how does the report assess this situation in Russia?
Arbatov: The report says very much about that. A great deal of the report is devoted to that. The report's underlying concept is that there are three threats related to nuclear weapons. The first and the most important one is that international terrorism and international terrorists may get access to nuclear explosive devices or nuclear weapon material that can be used to build a primitive explosive device in the basement of an abandoned warehouse or building in Moscow, Washington, Paris, London or New York and then issue an ultimatum or simply explode the device that will put an end to the world with all its political, social and other features as we know it. This is the first and the main threat.
The second threat is that nuclear weapons may continue to spread across the world. If North Korea does not return to the treaty, if it carries out testing and becomes a nuclear state not hypothetically but de facto, it is quite possible that Japan, South Korea and even Taiwan may create nuclear weapons too. In response to that China will start building up its nuclear capabilities because it has all economic and technical possibilities for that. This will also affect India that will change its plans and start building up its nuclear forces. This will affect Pakistan that will follow India's suit. And this will also affect Russia and the US that will build up their own capabilities. And this is likely to prod Iran into creating nuclear weapons openly. This in turn may start a chain reaction in the Middle East among even such countries as Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria. Now they have very limited possibilities, but as you understand, they are not limited financially, especially Saudi Arabia, and can create such weapons even collectively.
Some states that are far away from this explosive Eurasian region have already said that they may revisit their stance on nuclear weapons. These are Brazil and Argentina that were working on nuclear weapons but then stopped their work and joined the NPT, but they may secede from the treaty and resume this work in the interests of national security. And even Indonesia and Vietnam have said they may change their mind.
In other words, we may enter a world where there will be not eight but twenty nuclear powers. We all remember the Cold War period when there were only two major nuclear powers but several times we barely escaped nuclear confrontation and war. Now imagine a world with 20 nuclear powers. It's an appalling picture where the probability of their using nuclear weapons among themselves and between them and great power will increase exponentially.
Besides, these new states will certainly not have the kind of early warning systems or control systems or unauthorized launch control systems that the US or Russia have. And therefore the probability of a nuclear strike by mistake or because of technical defect or unauthorized actors who are not controlled by the state will be much higher, especially since many of these countries are not internally stable and are in conflict with each other.
Finally, the protection of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in those states is much less reliable than the existing official five nuclear powers. Therefore, the threat that those materials could be stolen, seized or purchased by terrorists in those countries are substantially high, including for ideological reasons -- for example, in Pakistan those having access to nuclear materials and weapons may decide for ideological reasons, to share them with international terrorists. This is the second threat.
The third threat is the arsenals, the biggest arsenals in the United States and in Russia. The fact that strategic nuclear stability is now observed does not mean that this is guaranteed for the foreseeable future. It may be undermined, and recent debates over Russian deterrence forces have confirmed that this is a disputable problem. This means, along with other things, that no serious progress has been made in the sphere of reductions and limitations of those weapons, which stirs up processes of proliferation of nuclear weapons, which makes it quite possible that international terrorists could get access to them.
Those three issues are interrelated. The United States now puts it the following way. What we have does not concern anyone. It is good that we have the right to what we have, and we are not going to do anything in this respect. But we can deliver a strike against any other country which may want to obtain nuclear weapons.
Q: Mr. Arbatov, if countries engage in uranium enrichment under the IAEA's control, if they are parties to the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, but if they are banned to do this, does not that mean monopolization of the market of nuclear fuel?
Arbatov: It is a serious and interesting question. I understand the implications. I can tell you that the process has advanced in a different direction, and the Blix Commission has voiced a number of proposals which are quite in line with the official course of the Russian Federation and the United States. Namely, there is a trend towards moving away from national uranium enrichment complexes to international uranium enrichment complexes, which would guarantee supplies of low enriched uranium for peaceful purposes to all countries having refused to have their own national complexes, so they would have enough fuel for their peaceful energy needs, and this also includes moving out recycled fuel for further processing and storage. That is, this means moving towards an international basis.
Continuing to do this on a national basis becomes too dangerous. This does not concern Iran only. This also concerns Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, which have their national facilities, as well as a whole range of other countries, including great nuclear powers.
The strategic course is aimed at shifting to international facilities dealing with full nuclear fuel cycle. If Iran agrees to do without its own enrichment, this will be in line with this course. If it insists on having its own enrichment facilities, even under the IAEA's control, even as a party to the NPT Treaty, this will encourage other countries, more and more countries, to create similar facilities. As you certainly understand, if they are developed enough, there is just one step to nuclear weapons.
Had Iran deployed 54,000 centrifuges at its facility in Natanz, according to analysts, it would take it just several months to accumulate the required amounts of weapons grade uranium, if a relevant decision is made to develop nuclear weapons.
We have shared Iran's political intentions not to develop nuclear weapons, but technological capabilities of that sort would cause concerns in many countries. For you not to be misled, let me repeat that experimental facility, whose capacity is limited now, is lagging behind what is required for obtaining nuclear weapons by ten or more years. But if this program is implemented in full measure and the number of centrifuges for which that facility is intended in terms of its area and infrastructure, this would reduce that to several months. This is the difference.
I certainly understand that there are a whole range of countries, say, Japan, with full fuel cycle. This gives rise to the following question: Why should Iran treat it one way, and Japan in a different way? The answer is that with respect to Japan and all other countries having full fuel cycle, the course is towards internationalization of those facilities, hazardous facilities.
Q: There are several points in this report which directly concern the United States, such as new restrictions, tactical weapons, low capacity weapons and the like. I certainly understand that the current administration is not going to agree to those. But is there the hope that more sensible political movements in the United States will insist that the next administration would agree to that? Are there Americans on the commission?
Arbatov: Yes, the US is represented by former defense secretary Bill Perry, a very authoritative individual, as you know. You're right and I have said already that we are not too naive to think that what we have discovered will immediately be implemented by everyone.
But we have proposed a systemic approach, systemic measures which may be taken to radically reduce the threats that still exist due to availability of mass destruction weapons, the development of new types of mass destruction weapons. Having proposed this system of measures, we expect it to influence politicians, including those politicians who are not in power today, by those who will come to power in the foreseeable future. If and when they come to power, they will find that all measures have been prepared in advance. It will not take them many years to invent anything. We strongly hope that this will be the case.
Moderator: Thank you very much for your substantive discussion. Thank you, colleagues.
1. Russian nuclear submarine arrives for scrapping at northern shipyard
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The Perm nuclear submarine was delivered today to the Zvezdochka military shipyard in Severodvinsk to be scrapped. The work is to be paid for using funds allocated by Canada, the factory's press secretary Nadezhda Shcherbinina told ITAR-TASS.
According to her, a special crew from the factory was onboard the submarine while it was being towed from a base in the Polar region. "This is already the eighth decommissioned nuclear submarine which will be scrapped using Canadian money. Four nuclear vessels from the Northern Fleet have already been dismantled," Shcherbinina said. She said that under the Global Partnership programme, adopted by G8 countries in 2002, Canada will fund the scrapping of 12 Russian multipurpose nuclear submarines (not carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles - ITAR-TASS). Ottawa will allocate a total sum of around 100m Canadian dollars for this.
The Perm B-292 submarine, produced under project 671RTM Shchuka (NATO classification Victor III), was built at the Admiralteyskiy factory in St Petersburg in 1987. In total 26 such submarines, which have a displacement of around 7,000 tonnes, were launched.
1. Physical Protection System Operational At Former Northern Fleet Base
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A new physical protection system was put in operation at the Andreyev Bay, where liquid and solid radioactive wastes and used nuclear fuel are stored.
This project is the largest Russian-Norwegian undertaking, performed under the agreement between the administration of the Murmansk region, the SevRAO company and the Finnmark province in the framework of the ecological rehabilitation program of one of the most urgent radioactive threats in Europe.
A spokesman for SevRAO told Interfax that the Norwegian government earmarked 20 million Norwegian kroner ($3.2 million) for the project. Next year, it is going to sponsor the reconstruction of the pier and the development of engineering infrastructure at the Andreyev Bay.
Apart from Norway, the rehabilitation program embraces Great Britain that allocates three million pounds ($5.5 million) for the preparations for used nuclear fuel removal from the Murmansk region. By September 15, a radiochemical and radiometric laboratory will have been put in operation, the equipment for which has been bought. The building, where the lab will be deployed, is under reconstruction now. Another three million pounds will be earmarked to pull down the ruins.
The major construction work at the Andreyev Bay will start in 2007-2010. This will include the construction of a site for fuel loading into specialized transportation containers, as well as another site for container storing, a new pier and auxiliary systems for handling radioactive wastes.
The rehabilitation work will include removal of all radioactive nuclear fuel from the Andreyev Bay for processing at a factory in the Chelyabinsk region. Liquid wastes, solid waste decomposition into nature-friendly state and their subsequent removal to the regional burial are also in plans.
The Andreyev Bay is in the northwestern part of the Kola peninsula, five kilometers away from the town of Zaozersk and 40 km from the Norwegian border. Three dry storage tanks at the site hold about 21,000 nuclear fuel rods and 12,000 cubic meters of solid and liquid radioactive wastes. The total radioactive emission of the wastes is about 1,000 curie. The tanks are in dangerous condition.
1. St. Petersburg drills antiterrorism ahead of July G8 summit
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St. Petersburg will hold exercises Wednesday on counteracting terrorist attacks involving biological and chemical weapons in the run-up to a summit of the Group of Eight most developed nations in July.
The exercises, which will be conducted by the emergencies and interior ministries, will be staged in the Gulf of Finland and the seaport buildings, where law enforcers will practice dealing with poisonous substances being sprayed into air, the aftermath of a powerful explosion, extinguishing fires and recovering the injured people from under rubble.
They will also have to practice putting out fire on a tanker carrying chemical substances and containing a spill after an onboard explosion.
Aerial reconnaissance, airlifting rescuers and the injured, are among other events on the program of the exercises.
The leaders of the eight industrialized nations, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Russia, the G8 president in 2006, will gather in the city July 15-17.
G8 summits and some other international forums are traditionally a focus of anti-globalization protests and are therefore heavily guarded by police. Protests sometimes end in clashes, the most violent of which occurred during the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001, when a young protester was killed.
2. New York Subway Plot and al-Qaeda's WMD Strategy
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This week's issue of Time Magazine has caused a spike in U.S. and Western worries over al-Qaeda's intentions and capability to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. Prompting the concern is Time's excerpt of journalist Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, which describes al-Qaeda's apparently successful development of a portable device that can be used to disperse cyanide gas. The gas kills upon inhalation, and Suskind claims that a cyanide gas attack on New York City's subway system was within 45 days of occurring when al-Qaeda's deputy commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called off the attack. Media coverage of the book excerpt so far has focused on how many casualties such an attack might have caused—first estimates are in the September 11 range of 3,000 dead—and whether or not the dispersal device would have actually worked .
Suskind's book will provide grist for the media mill and WMD experts for weeks, but the more important issue to consider is why al-Zawahiri decided to call off the attack. Suskind's sources suggest that al-Zawahiri decided that the subway operation was not a sufficient follow-up to the September 11 attacks . This judgment seems to be on very solid ground. Since declaring war on the United States in 1996, Osama bin Laden has repeatedly underscored his preferred method of operation. Al-Qaeda, he says, will incrementally increase the pain that its attacks cause the United States until it forces Washington to change its policies toward Israel and the Muslim world. While the graphing of al-Qaeda attacks since 1996 would not display a straight ascending line, the clear trend of the line would be upward; each attack has indeed been more destructive to U.S. citizens and material interests than the last.
If 3,000 Americans killed by chemical weapons in the New York subway system were not enough for al-Qaeda, what sort of attack did al-Zawahiri—and, implicitly, Osama bin Laden and his shura council—decide to patiently wait for? The answer, unfortunately for Americans, may well be the detonation of a nuclear weapon of some sort. While there is no definitive evidence that al-Qaeda has such a device, the group has had a specialized unit—staffed by hard scientists and engineers—that has sought one since at least 1992, and events over the past year suggest that such a possibility remains current.
Nuclear Knowledge Continues to Proliferate
In the mid-1970s, the U.S. Congress's Office of Technology Assessment found that "a small group of people, none of whom have ever had access to nuclear material, could possibly design and build a crude nuclear device" . Media reporting and scholarly writings since the 1970s have reinforced this finding, and just in the past year the full-range of proliferation activities of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan have come to light. Some reports suggest that Khan and/or some of his senior engineers have met with senior al-Qaeda leaders . In addition, the availability of unemployed nuclear-weapons-related scientists and engineers has increased exponentially since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Iraqi state in 2003. Indeed, some Iraqi WMD scientists were released from custody by U.S. authorities in 2005 when no charges could be brought against them . Al-Qaeda's supporters, too, have played a hand in the proliferation of nuclear knowledge by mounting a website on the al-Firdaws Forum dedicated to providing detailed instructions on how to make nuclear "dirty and biological bombs." First appearing on the internet in October 2005, the site had 57,000 hits just one month later, and a physics professor at the Imperial College in London said, after studying the site, that it was "more like a proper instruction manual" than the other more generic sites he had reviewed .
Nuclear Weapons and Materials are Unsecured
When asked by Congress in February 2005 whether he could assure Americans that no nuclear weapons were available to terrorists, then-CIA Director Porter Goss replied, "No, I can't make that assurance. I can't account for some of the [Former Soviet Union's (FSU) nuclear] materials, so I can't make the assurance about its whereabouts." In the spring of 2005, the U.S. National Intelligence Council also categorically assessed that "undetected smuggling [of nuclear materials] has occurred, and we are concerned about the total amount of material that could have been diverted or stolen [from the FSU] in the last 13 years," and a former Soviet military officer said that "small tactical nuclear loads" had been found missing from the Soviet army's inventory in the 1990s . Bin Laden himself has made clear that al-Qaeda has been nuclear shopping in the FSU. "It is a fact," bin Laden wrote to Mullah Omar on June 5, 2002, "that the [FSU's] Islamic Republics region is rich with significant scientific experiences in conventional and non-conventional military industries, which have a great role in the future jihad against the enemies of Islam" .
Al-Qaeda has Religious Authorization to use Nuclear Weapons
Since May 2003, al-Qaeda's intention to use nuclear weapons against the United States has had religious sanction. In that month, a respected Salafi Saudi cleric named Sheikh Nasir Bin Hamd al-Fahd concluded that the use of nuclear weapons in the United States was theologically justified on the basis of reciprocity. "Anyone who considers American aggression against Muslims and their lands during the last decades," al-Fahd wrote, "will conclude that striking her [with nuclear weapons] is permissible merely on the rule of treating as one has been treated. Some brothers have totaled the number of Muslims killed directly or indirectly by their weapons and come up with a figure of nearly 10 million." More recently, the respected cleric and spiritual leader of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiya, Sheikh Abu Bakar Ba'asyir—who was freed from prison last week—said that Muslims must embrace nuclear weapons "if necessary" because "in places like London and New York there must be other calculations [than conventional attacks]. In battle it is best to cause as many casualties as possible" .
With the necessary nuclear knowledge and materials available, and with religious approval in hand, Suskind's book also suggests that al-Qaeda still possesses the discipline and command-and-control capabilities that would be required to stage a sophisticated, 9/11-type attack, such as one that would include the use of WMD. The New York subway operation was scheduled for spring 2003, at a time when many Western authorities were asserting that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were completely isolated and cutoff from their fighters stationed outside South Asia. Suskind, however, describes the January 2003 secure travel of the operation's commander—Yusef al-Ayeri, then head of al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula—from Saudi Arabia to al-Zawahiri's location, where al-Zawahiri listened to the description of the proposed attack and decided that it should be canceled. Al-Ayeri then returned to Saudi Arabia and ordered the operation terminated. Suskind's book also shows that the al-Qaeda fighters tasked with executing the subway operation beat U.S. immigration-and-border controls and easily entered New York City from North Africa in the fall of 2002, more than a year after the 9/11 attacks.
All told, Suskind's book appears to present a gripping account of a viable WMD attack that was canceled by al-Zawahiri. More importantly, however, the book suggests that several judgments about al-Qaeda that are now accepted in the United States and the West as common wisdom—such as al-Qaeda's inability to stage large, complicated attacks in the United States; that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are isolated and cannot exercise command-and-control over al-Qaeda; and that U.S. border security is greatly improved since 9/11—need to be reexamined and debated.
1. "Al-Qaeda cell planned to attack subway with poison gas, says new book," Time, June 18; Mark Thompson, "Interview: And then what happened?" Time, July 18; Al Baker, "U.S. feared cyanide attack on New York subway," New York Times, June 18. 2. Ibid. 3. Quoted in Kevin O'Neill, "The nuclear terrorist threat," Institute for Science and International Security, August 1997. 4. "Paks Khan and Mehmood met Osama—Report," Press Trust of India, April 3, 2005; Saul Hudson, "U.S. wants full break-up of Khan nuclear network," Reuters, March 17, 2005; Syed Mohammad Amin Shah, "Jihad, nuclear program, and democracy," Islam, May 21, 2003. 5. Stephen Farrell, "Saddam's scientists freed as U.S. house of cards starts to tumble," Times Online, December 20, 2005. 6. Uri Mahnaimi and Tom Walker, "Al-Qaeda woos recruits with nuclear bomb website," Times Online, November 6, 2005. 7. David Morgan, "Senate examining intelligence on nuclear terror," Reuters, February 18, 2005; "U.S. intelligence council concludes that theft of Russian nuclear material 'has occurred'," Agence-France Presse, February 23, 2005; "Nuclear devices disappeared from 14th Army inventory in 1990s," Nezavisimaya Moldova, April 25, 2005. 8. Osama bin Laden to Mullah Omar, June 5, 2002, USMA Counterterrorism Center Website, Document #AFGP-2002-600321. 9. Nasir Bin Hamd al-Fahd, "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels," May 2003; Samantha Maidan, "Embrace N-Weapons: Bashir," The Australian, October 4, 2005.
1. Putin insists on returning Iran's nuclear dossier to IAEA
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is certain that the Iranian nuclear dossier can still be returned from the UN Security Council to the IAEA.
"In fact, the essence of the Iranian nuclear programme is already being considered by the UN Security Council, but our objective is to use the negotiation process involving the six (mediator) nations and Iran in order to bring this process back into the IAEA framework," Putin said at a news conference following his talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. "Judging from what I heard from the Iranian partners at the (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) meeting in Shanghai, this is quite a possibility," he said. Putin held talks with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad in Shanghai on 15 June.
"The most pressing international issues were discussed during the talks. I informed the Italian prime minister of my talks with the Iranian president in detail, and we agreed to hold consultations on this issue in the future," Putin said. "An in-depth discussion was also held on other matters," he added.
"Italy is one of Russia's most important partners in the world and cooperation with Iran is very important for Italy because the volume of trade and economic relations is very significant. Proceeding from the important nature of Russian-Italian relations, we will take into account Italy's position when formulating our position at the talks, and we agreed to set up an appropriate mechanism for consultations," Putin said.
Prodi said that he and Putin had discussed the Iran problem in depth. "We established a system for reciprocal consultations in order to act in concert and to resolve the crisis," he said. Prodi said that "certainly, Iran is commercial partner number one for Italy, and (even) if Italy is not part of the group of six, we have vital interests in this country. And we are positive about the fact that we are going to be kept updated on the negotiation process," he said.
"I am very grateful to President Putin for his intention to continue with a regular exchange of opinions on the subject," Prodi said.
The summit of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation that took place in China; The summit of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation: messages to the international community.
The summit of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation that took place in China on June 15-16 sent a number of messages to the West, the ones it would find it difficult to come up with adequate responses to.
First, those present at the summit made plain their resolve to stick to the "spirit of Shanghai" henceforth and that they would not put up with "new international organizations with duplicate functions" on the territory of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation. It means that Central Asia with all its problems including security and nonproliferation is proclaimed the zone of influence of this particular structure which Vladimir Putin said was representing "half of the mankind".
Second, Russian and Chinese leaders essentially confirmed in Shanghai that these two countries do not intend to join the embargo Tehran is threatened with for refusal to put an end to uranium enrichment.
Third, an energy alliance between Russia and Iran is taking shape, with China, India, and Pakistan its potential members too.
Gas and atom
Putin and Hu Jintao have not lived up to some observers' expectations of persuading Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran to accept a compromise on the central issue (uranium enrichment). As a matter of fact, Putin did speak of Tehran's positive response to the offer from the international community and of its readiness for talks, but the statement in itself does not really mean anything.
The nuclear issue hanging in balance, Ahmadinejad suggest that Iran and Russia establish a new OPEC. In the gas sphere, that is. Ahmadinejad wants these two countries to set up gas prices and determine its routes together. Putin said in Shanghai that he was not regarding the future alliance as an alternative to OPEC but announced that "companies from our countries are discussing the idea of pooling efforts in the oil and gas sphere and particularly the idea of a joint venture." According to the Russian president, this Russian-Iranian joint venture will enable both countries "a more energetic expansion into the markets of the third countries."
It was reported practically at the same time that LUKoil and the national Iranian company drew an accord on commercialization of Azar gas field and that Gazprom was prepared to invest in and provide technological assistance to construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India.
According to the Iranian president, the future gas alliance with Moscow will serve the interests of global security. The only catch is that Tehran and the West entertain wholly different notions of stability and security...
There is another hypothesis as well. Accepting the gas alliance idea and making Iran a full member of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation (Ahmadinejad counts on it, he has even suggested a conference of energy ministers in Tehran), Moscow is going to demand from Tehran cooperativeness in the nuclear sphere. On the other hand, this particular term is unlikely to be formulated categorically.
Twists of gas diplomacy
How will Washington react? Pooling their efforts with other major gas exporters (Turkmenistan and Algeria), Russia and Iran as owners of nearly 50% of the global stocks of gas will manage to build energy cooperation bridges with major consumers (European Union, China, India) and cause a rearrangement of the whole geopolitical map of the world. The United States is already compelled to mitigate its position.
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation advised George W. Bush's Administration to "keep an eye on Iran's rapprochement with the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation." According to the specialist, "it might indicate the growing coordination between Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran." "It will become particularly noticeable if Tehran turns down the latest package of stimuli and refuses to suspend uranium enrichment," Cohen said.
If Putin and the Chinese succeed in at least reducing some Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions and therefore facilitate a compromise over the Iranian nuclear issue, rapid normalization of relations with Tehran will be the only way out for US Administration. (In fact, even the situation in Iraq requires it as it cannot be normalized without Iranian assistance and its clout with the Shi'ah majority in the neighbor country." Experts say that Moscow's "gas diplomacy" will lead Russia into a geopolitical trap. "If Iran normalizes its relations with American, then it won't need any gas accords with Russia because the two countries are rivals," Fyodor Lukianov said. "And if the relations are not normalized, than political risks of all and any projects will be all too high."
Do North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad have anything in common? It is hard to find any similarity at first sight. One lives according to Juche doctrine, another—to Mohammed’s teaching, one builds Korean socialism, another—Islamic democracy. One, “chief, chief’s son” Kim Jong-il, lives like a Celestial; another, unknown until recently Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, on the contrary, presents himself as a plain fellow out of the masses. Here again, they are just the opposite of each other. Besides, unlike dear leader Kim who rules without a backward glance to anyone, president Ahmadi-Nejad must look up to Islamic revolution leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Still, these two absolutely different men are political twin-brothers. What unites them, outweighing all differences, is their manner of political interaction with that part of the world which is concerned about North Korean and Iranian “threat”. Playing cat-and-mouse with that part of the world, both like to assume vague significancy, act on the verge of foul, and dupe the opponents. They also think they can twist anyone round their finger. Yet, no matter how cunning they are, both Kim Jong-il and Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad are quite predictable. Moreover, their behavior may be easily foreseen.
What is peculiar to that behavior? First of all, both are men of their word. Meaning that once they give their word, they can easily take it back. It belongs to them, doesn’t it? So why not take it back, should the situation demand it.
It is notable that Kim Jong-il timed the launching of Tepkhodon-2 to the 6th anniversary of his declaration that he is ready to give up missile programs, which will remain in the history of modern diplomacy as “Kim Jong-il’s joke”. It was Russian president Vladimir Putin who announced the good news that Kim Jong-il came to reason and began considering to give up missiles. Putin said that in summer 2000, en route to the G8 summit in Okinawa, after he talked privately with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. A couple of months later, Kim Jong-il said he just joked when he spoke to Putin. He added that North Korea will not give up its missile programs—and the events of recent days have proven it. Another explanation exists, where the blame is shifted on interpreters who have allegedly distorted Kim Jong-il’s words when he spoke to Putin. Yet, the story repeats again. Before the next G8 summit, Putin talks privately to Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad in Shanghai, and announces the good news that Iranian leader received positively the offer to settle Iran’s nuclear crisis. Meaning that Ahmadi-Nejad sort of promised to behave well. It is easy to guess that when the time comes, he will not keep his promise, as a true owner of his word. So, he will demonstrate once again the worth of words of such world diplomacy grandees as Kim Jong-il and Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad.
1. Megaports Program Coming to Jamaica - NNSA Port Security Program Works to Install Radiation Detection Monitors to Check for Smuggled Nuclear Cargo
National Nuclear Security Administration
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The United States signed a Declaration of Principles (DOP) today with the government of Jamaica to help thwart smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. The DOP was cosigned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The document covers implementation of CBP’s Container Security Initiative and NNSA’s Megaports Initiative, as both programs continue working together to stop nuclear material from being smuggled to U.S. ports. Two other joint DOE-CBP declarations of principles have been signed with the Sultanate of Oman and the government of Honduras.
The Declaration of Principles is aimed at detecting and deterring illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials by smugglers and terrorists. Similar partnerships exist with the Netherlands, Greece and other nations. Representatives from Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East and the Caribbean are in active discussions with the United States to install radiation detection systems at key port facilities worldwide to further international nonproliferation efforts and provide useful evidence to support prosecution efforts.
NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks stated, “Protecting global shipping lanes from being used by terrorists to smuggle nuclear materials is critical for U.S. national security and the national security of our international partners. Cooperating with the government of Jamaica will enable our countries to further international nonproliferation efforts and better protect our countries and our allies against nuclear terrorism.”
NNSA’s Megaports Initiative is aimed at preventing illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material through the global maritime system. Under this important nonproliferation program, NNSA works with foreign partners to install specialized radiation detection equipment and enhance the capabilities to detect, deter and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials at international ports. The Megaports Initiative is currently operational in six countries, and at various stages of implementation and negotiations with approximately 30 other countries around the world.
Under the Container Security Initiative (CSI), CBP stations multidisciplinary teams of U.S. officers from CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to work with their host government counterparts to establish security criteria to identify high-risk containers. Their mission is to target and pre-screen containers destined for the United States.
“Preventing the smuggling of illicit nuclear weapons and radiological materials remains CBP’s highest priority,” said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “CSI is a brilliant idea that serves the interests of both business and security. Through the workings of CSI, we must and will achieve our collective twin goals of security and trade facilitation.”
CSI is operational in 44 ports in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North, South, and Central America. Approximately 75 percent of cargo containers headed to the U.S. now originate in or are transshipped from CSI ports.
To expedite the inspection process, host customs administrations are required to provide non-intrusive technology to quickly inspect any identified high-risk containers before they are shipped to U.S. ports. The capabilities provided under the Megaports Initiative offer an additional targeting tool for customs officials supporting CSI.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.
1. Putin aide dismisses N.Korean missile reports as "psycho factor"
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A Russian presidential aide said Tuesday the "imminent" launch of a North Korean ballistic missile was largely a matter of psychology.
It is widely believed that Pyongyang is stepping up preparations to fire the Taepodong-2, a two-stage ballistic missile with a range of up to 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) that could in theory deliver a warhead to Alaska, USA.
"Let them launch it first and then we will see whether it will fly, where it will fly, and whether it can reach its target in the first place," Igor Shuvalov said.
Last month, a U.S. space satellite spotted a booster rocket and several fuel tanks on a launch pad in the east of the communist country, which has claimed it already has a nuclear capability.
According to regional media reports, the missile could be fired at any moment.
Pyongyang last tested a long-range missile in 1998, when it fired the Taepodong-1 missile, with a range of 2,000km (1240 miles), over Japan. The missile landed in the Pacific Ocean, causing a shock in Tokyo.
2. Eyes, launch! North Korea put old Soviet rocket on a new rocket stage
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North Korea held the whole world on tenterhooks yesterday. Launch of newest ballistic rocket Tepkhodon-2 was expected any minute. It is believed this rocket can reach the United States. Although it was not launched yesterday, experts think it will be launched soon. Washington and its allies have already threatened Pyongyang with sanctions, though they have excluded possibility of force measures for now. ITAR-TASS correspondent in Tokyo Vasily Golovnin gives the details, specially for Kommersant.
It has been too cloudy so far
Information that fuel had already been loaded into the rocket at Musudan base in north-east of North Korea appeared as early as Friday. American and Japanese spy satellites photographed several tens of fuel tanks around the rocket. If the fuel is really loaded, the rocket must be launched no later than Tuesday, informed sorces of national intelligence service in Seoul. Same sources later confirmed that the rocket will not be launched on Sunday due to bad weather conditions. The sky over Musudan base is too cloudy.
Meanwhile, leading South Korean TV company KBS announced it possesses the photographs of the two-stage rocket 35 meters long and 2.2 meters in diameter in its widest parts. It is painted in white color, and is placed on a square launching site. It is believed to be Tepkhodon-2 rocket, which is a result of using old Soviet developments, just like other North Korean technological achievements. Its second stage is a modernised version of a 1950s rocket that were massively produced in USSR and were called Skad in the West. Nowadays, North Korea uses their base to produce intermediate range missiles Nodon, which can strike South Korea and largest part of Japan. Experts estimate that North Korea has no less than 200 of them.
In order to produce Tepkhodon-2, the rocket was reinforced by a second stage, which is believed to have raised the rocket’s flight range up to 3,500-6,000 kilometers, depending on the weight of warhead. Thus, it can reach some regions of Alaska, though experts think it is not very accurate. in fact, a third stage can be attached to Tepkhodon, extending its range up to 15,000 kilometers. Yet, the rocket does not seem ready to test this kind of modification.
The rocket’s flight path will sure be above Japan after its launch, and then it will go in the direction of the Pacific ocean open waters. Experts predict North Korea will try to make Tepkhodon’s second stage fall as far as possible—somewhere between Alaska and Hawaii. No one knows what is inside the rocket’s head, but Japan’s Defense Ministry believes that North Korea announce after the rocket takes off that it has launched a satellite and give the data for its orbit. Sources in Beijing say the major part of North Korean rocket scientists is now busy making the estimations, trying to make them most probable.
A song about dear leader
North Korea already announced the launch of its first satellite in August 1998, when it tested a rocket of previous modification—Tepkhodon-1, range over 1,500 kilometers. That satellite allegedly flew above the Earth, transmitting a song about dear leader Kim Jong-il. Space tracking stations all over the world did not manage to find that satellite on the orbit. Yet, North Korea is quite likely to launch a real satellite now, so as to demonstrate its rocket achievements. This arrangement will allow to make Tepkhodon’s launch look peaceful, at least officially, and prevent Washington’s and Tokyo’s attempts to impose international sanctions on North Korea.
Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Aso consulted US Ambassador Thomas Shiffer on Saturday. They agreed upon joint actions should North Korea launch the rocket. Japanese minister spoke on a Tokyo TV channel on Sunday, saying that Japan will immediately demand an emergency session of UN Security Council in this case. It should discuss sanctions against North Korea, he said. Yet, sources at Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry admit that it will be nearly impossible to achieve: China, being North Korea’s ally, will block any attempts like that.
Thus, Tokyo believes it more realistic if the Security council adopts a declaration on behalf of its chairman, which will express general denunciation of North Korea. In 1998, for instance, after the test of Tepkhodon-1, a document was adopted which rebuked North Korea for not announcing the launch beforehand, and thus creating a threat to fishing and navigation. It should also be taken into account that international law does not prohibit testing rockets and launching satellites.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Aso reminded Sunday that Japan has already passed a law allowing to impose unilateral sanctions on North Korea. These measures include complete ban on North Korean vessels entering Japan’s harbors, and, what is more important, complete ban on money transfers from Koreans living in Japan to their ethnic homeland. North Korea receives nearly half of hard currency it has through this channel.
There is information that Seoul is also ready to impose sanctions. Last week it notified North Korea that the launch of the rocket will cause the closure of many inter-Korean cooperation projects. The U.S. has already taken nearly all possible measures of economic pressure on North Korea beforehand.
Resentment as the engine for military technical progress
Pentagon sources have made it clear, however, that American armed forces do not intend to shoot down Tepkhodon-2, unless its flight path becomes too dangerous. Japanese are more nervous, they are afraid the rocket will fall on their territory due to some mistake during the flight. Foreign Affairs Minister Aso has even said at first that the fall of the rocket “will be taken as armed attack.” The Tokyo suddenly recollected to explain it will not begin military actions against North Korea even in this case. “It is a different matter if two or three rockets more fall on Japan’s territory,” he added. Anyway, Tokyo has now sent two warships into the Japanese sea. The warships have Idjis systems of tracking and aiming, which can locate practically any targets in space and atmosphere. Two Japanese and one US satellites constantly watch Musudan base.
North Korea has undoubtedly achieved its purpose—it is now in the limelight of the world’s attention. “I think that Mr. Kim Jong-il is following the advice of Soviet leader Kruschev--he is persuading the world that he can show Americans the mother of Kuzma,” said an expert close to Japanese Foreign Ministry in good Russian. Tokyo thinks that North Korea is angered by Americans’ painfully hitting Korea’s financial transactions abroad by blocking its accounts in Delta Asia bank in Macao, where top North Korean officials kept their money, according to some information. Bitter resentment was also caused by Washington’s arrogantly ignoring North Korea’s call to settle peacefully all controversial issues, including the crisis with its nuclear program. Beginning from late March, Seoul, first unofficially, then openly, asked to send Christopher Hill, Secretary of State’s Assistant for Eastern Asia and the Pacific, to North Korea. This offer was rejected, and active preparations for Tepkhodon-2 launch began right after that.
3. Russian expert thinks North Korea could develop missile with 6,000km of range
Russia & CIS Diplomatic Panorama
(for personal use only)
North Korea is quite likely to test a ballistic missile with a flight range of up to 6,000 km, but with a non-nuclear tip only, thinks Colonel General Viktor Yesin, vice president of the Academy for Security, Defense and Law Enforcement roblems.
"Judging from the satellite photos retrieved by the U.S. intelligence, it seems that the U.S. is right when claiming a missile is being prepared for the launch, but it is impossible to answer the question what class of the missile it will be," Yesin said, commenting on media reports that North Korea is going to launch a ballistic missile.
He added that North Korea is developing Taepodong-1 and Taepodong-2 ballistic missiles.
"If this is Taphodon-2, this will be the first test launch. It is known that the missile is two-stage liquid-propellant one, weighing about 80 tonnes. It can carry an up-to 1,000 kg warhead to the range of 3,500 km, or 500kg tip to 6,000 km," Yesin said.
According to foreign military think tanks, the missile may be 30-32 m long and have 2.2 m in diameter.
"It is most likely that they use the modified sustainer of the Chinese DongFeng-3 ballistic missile as the first stage of their own rocket, while the second stage is most likely the sustainer of the North Korean Nodong-1 intermediate range missile. Three battalions equipped with three missile launchers each are deployed in North Korea," the expert said.
According to him, the DongFeng-3 missile has been decommissioned from service in China. Military experts believe that the production technology was handed over to North Korea.
Yesin added that North Korea has no nuclear warhead of the class sufficient to tip the Tephodon-2.
"Pyongyang declared that it has nuclear weapons, but even if this is true, this is most likely a nuclear explosive device, rather than a powerful nuclear munition. It is ever so likely, given North Korea has not held any nuclear tests so far," he said.
He added that first nukes of the U.S. and the USSR weighed about 5 tonnes.
"It is unlikely that North Koreans have managed to reach the required parameters and make a combat load weighing at least one tonne.
For instance, neither India, nor Pakistan, who tested their nukes long ago, do not have a nuclear warhead weighing more than 500 kg, although their technological capabilities are much better," he said.
According to Yesin, North Korea will not breach any international conventions, if it tests a new missile.
"No legal claims can be put to the door of Pyongyang. The country is not in the non-proliferation club, and that is why it is free from any commitments in this domain," he said.
He recalled that in March 2005 North Korea said that it withdraws from the 1999 missile test moratorium.
1. Russia Sets Its Energy Agenda Ahead of G8 Summit
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Russia is holding out against its European partners’ demand that it agrees to energy trading rules proposed by the European Union. The energy issue will become the crunch question for the G8 summit, which Russia is set to host in St. Petersburg next month.
Russia’s ambition to boost uranium exports to fuel nuclear power plants in the European Union is also shaping up as a new issue for the St. Petersburg gathering in mid-July that will cast the spotlight on Russia’s role as an emerging energy superpower.
The negotiation on a broad energy cooperation blueprint pits EU hopes of seeing free energy markets against Russian determination to keep control of the aces in its pack: world-class natural resources and a huge pipeline network.
The EU wants to lock Russia into the Energy Charter treaty to ensure a level playing field for energy players in Russia, where state gas firm Gazprom uses its monopoly to hold sway over 25 percent of EU gas supplies.
The Charter promotes transparent energy trade and guarantees “free transit” of energy across members’ territory. Russia has signed it. But its parliament, which usually acts on a nod from the Kremlin, has yet to ratify it and is not likely to do so before the summit.
The July 15-17 meeting brings together leaders of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Diplomats expect Russia to pay lip service to Charter principles at the summit, without giving anything away.
“You would have no ambiguity any more on the priority of rules applying in energy trade (if Russia ratified),” said Andre Mernier, head of the Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels. “That would tremendously increase confidence in Russia.” EU nations have rallied to demand Russian ratification since January, when Gazprom shocked Europe by briefly disrupting gas flows along a key pipeline to win a pricing row with Ukraine. Gazprom blames Ukraine for the crisis and says its actions, as a treaty member, are proof the treaty is no use.
President Vladimir Putin, likely also to face attack from some G8 states for his record on democracy, added to controversy on Tuesday, June 20. He suggested observing the Charter would depend on Russia’s relations with a country at any particular time. “We are ready to do this (observe the Charter), but not for each and everyone, but only with those of our partners who meet us half way and with whom we can reach agreement on cooperation based on equal rights,” he said.
Russia’s main objection is the Charter would enable EU gas importers to negotiate prices directly with rising Central Asian suppliers like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Their gas flows through Gazprom’s pipelines, allowing it to call the shots.
Gazprom is also worried the treaty may make it share access to a pipeline it is building under the Baltic Sea to Germany.
Western diplomats say the Russians fear that ratification could also strengthen shareholders of fallen oil giant Yukos who are suing Russia for more than $30 billion. “It’s hard to see where their motivation to ratify the treaty may come from,” said one EU diplomat. Russia would take some convincing of the value of free markets in energy, he said.
Many of the disputed areas are governed by the Treaty’s Transit Protocol, which is still at the draft stage.
Diplomats say they’ve been here before: Russia spent years dallying over ratification of another pact, the Kyoto Protocol, before suddenly agreeing to it.
The situation is fraught with legal ambiguities. Even without ratification, Russia may already be subject to the treaty, since under its terms a mere signature makes it binding unless it cuts across national legislation.
Russia meanwhile is rushing through a law to ensure there is a “single channel” of gas exports, enshrining Gazprom’s position in law and holding the treaty at bay.
Officials say Russia feels the treaty would do nothing to further Gazprom’s quest to get involved in marketing gas all over Europe, since it focuses on trade, not distribution. Gazprom has already run up against political opposition to a possible acquisition of British gas distributor Centrica.
Nor would it help Russia in another disputed area: uranium.
The EU limits Russian uranium imports —- most of it going to fuel nuclear plants —- to 20 percent of the market and has promised to lift the quota to 25 percent to meet demand from new EU states such as Slovakia. But Russia is after an even bigger share of the pie and wants to get rid of the quota.
“The argument in the EU is that if we ourselves totally depend on Russia for the supply of (uranium fuel) rods, we might face a problem in the future,” one EU official said.
Putin last month said Russia would hold off ratification until it had got a satisfactory deal on uranium quotas.
Russia is also pushing for more access to the U.S. uranium market. The United States has anti-dumping measures in place to prevent a flood of Russian uranium swamping its market, but has exempted Cold War stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
Russia wants HEU exports, which provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity, extended beyond the exemption’s expiry in 2013.
1. Defense Minister: Equipping Russia Nuclear Triad Among Priorities of State
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Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that Russia is pursuing the development of precision strategic weapons and manoeuvrable warheads able to overcome any missile defense owing to their unpredictable trajectories.
He said at a meeting of the Russian Security Council in the Kremlin on Tuesday that "it is vitally necessary for Russia to revive military might of the state that allows guaranteeing the strategic deterrence, defending its national interests and security of citizens".
He stressed that it was all about the quality and not "achievement of a quantitative parity with leading world states".
Ivanov said a priority task of the state was equipping Russia's nuclear triad with modern systems of weapons.
Ground-based missile systems Topol and sea-launched Bulava will join Russia's nuclear forces in foreseeable future, he said.
Work has been planned to develop long-haul aviations, Ivanov added.
"We understand perfectly well that the state of the nuclear arsenal for a long time will be a criterion characterizing the level of the defense capability of our country."
Ivanov stressed that the Defense Ministry is continuing to develop a multifunctional satellite grouping for efficient fulfilling national security tasks.
He said that "it is extremely important to create conditions ensuring the launch of all military craft from the Russian territory from the Plesetsk cosmodrome".
The number of the Russian army's permanent readiness formations is to be increased to 700 by 2011. At present, groupings can be made from these formations for localising conflicts and events like in the North Caucasus, Ivanov said.
He also said that reforming disciplinary battalions was being considered, with turning over their functions to the Justice Ministry.
"Violations of human rights happen, and officers and ensigns lose professional qualities in the disciplinary battalions," Ivanov said.
He also admitted at the Security Council's meeting that "despite the apparent need for optimisation of the military organization of the state and avoidance of duplicated functions of security structures, concrete results could not be achieved thus far".
2. Russia to conduct fifth Bulava test in 1-2 months
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Russia will conduct scheduled flight tests of the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile in the next two months, a deputy defense minister said Tuesday.
"This test will involve target destruction at a testing site, like previous, fourth, test," Army General Alexei Moskovsky said, adding that the upcoming test would be more demanding.
Four previous tests clearly showed that the development and testing of the missile were in the final stages, the general said.
The R-30 Bulava (SS-NX-30) ballistic missile has been developed at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology.
The first in-flight test launch was conducted on September 27, 2005, from the Dmitry Donskoi, a Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine.
On December 21, 2005 another Bulava was launched from the Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea before traveling thousands of miles to hit a dummy target on the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was the first time a Bulava had been launched from a submerged position.
Russia's Borey-class nuclear submarines could be equipped with Bulava missiles as early as in 2008, the missile's chief designer said in April.
3. Problems of Control over Nuclear Arms in the 21st Century. Military Experts Propose a Concept for the Security Council of the UN and the ' Big Eight'
Sergey Rogov, Viktor Yesin, and Pavel Zolotarev
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
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The nuclear threat to humanity arose in the middle of the Twentieth Century. The United States and the USSR unleashed a nuclear arms race in those years, balancing on the brink of war. Such a danger has decreased but has not completely disappeared after the end of the multi-year confrontation. Now, however, problems involving the proliferation of nuclear weapons have advanced into the foreground, as well as the prospects for a multi-lateral arms race. In addition, the beginning of the 21 st Century has been marked by the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorists.
In correspondence with the risks and threats.
There is now a real necessity to supplement the presently existing system for control over nuclear arms with new elements, taking the changes that are occurring in the world into consideration. A set of measures to facilitate the establishment and reinforcement of a multilateral regimen of control in the nuclear sphere is being proposed.
In the period of the "Cold War", a "narrow" concept of strategic stability was used as the main criterion characterizing military security. Essentially, it amounted to the maintenance of a balance in nuclear missiles between the Soviet Union and the United States. However, now the interpretation of nuclear stability cannot be limited to that previous simplified concept. Strategic stability is multi-dimensional at the present time. It is determined by the probability of the non-use of nuclear weapons, the prevention of inter-state wars and armed conflicts, and the extent to which terrorist threats have been minimized.
But, first of all, it is necessary to single out several groups of potential sources of challenges and threats. In our view, they are as follows: (1). Officially recognized nuclear states (the United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China). (2). Unrecognized nuclear states that openly declare that they have nuclear weapons (India and Pakistan). (3). States that possess nuclear weapons but officially do not acknowledge that they possess them (Israel). (4). States that are without nuclear status but that have the motivation to possess nuclear weapons and also have the scientific-technical potential for the development of them (North Korea and Iran). (5). States that do not have nuclear status and are able to develop them but that restrain themselves, due to military inexpediency, from making a transition to the category of nuclear states. They are the so-called "latent" nuclear states (Argentina, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, and others). (6) "Non-state actors" (international and national terrorist organizations and groupings, extremists, etc.).
In order to liquidate the existing challenges and threats, it is necessary to establish a new model for the interaction of Russia and the United States in the nuclear sphere; draw Great Britain, France, and the Chinese People's Republic into the regimen of nuclear arms control; make India, Pakistan, and Israel de facto participants in the regimen of nuclear arms control; prevent access of North Korea and Iran to nuclear weapons; lower the motivation of the non-nuclear states for the possession of nuclear weapons; not allow the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists and extremists.
At the present time, it is necessary to strengthen strategic stability along several lines. A decrease in the global "demand" for nuclear weapons must be the first priority of an effective strategy for the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear and radiological weapons. It is necessary to make global regulation of the "offer" of military nuclear technologies the second priority. It is necessary maximally to reduce the abilities of both the states and the non-state subjects to acquire nuclear weapons, as well as the materials and knowledge that are necessary for the production of such weapons. This international regimen must rely on compulsory measures undertaken by the UN Security Council, on the one hand, and by the sovereign states on the other hand.
The following can be included in the most important components of the regimen for nuclear control and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons--a regimen that meets the threats and risks of the 21 st Century: (1). The inadmissibility of an uncontrolled, multilateral nuclear arms race. (2). The prevention of access to nuclear weapons by the "latent" states, as well as a guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be used by the nuclear powers against those countries. (3). The prevention of the production of fissile materials that are suitable for the production of nuclear weapons. (4). The rejection of an increase in the presently available nuclear arsenals on the part of both the official and the non-official nuclear powers. (5). The quantitative reductions of the accumulated reserves of nuclear arms. (6). The implementation of measures of trust and other steps (e. g., verification) that decrease the risk of the use of nuclear weapons among the nuclear states. (7). The provision of security in the storage, warehousing, and transportation of existing nuclear weapons and materials that are suitable for the production of nuclear weapons. (8). The provision of security for non-military nuclear facilities and materials used for the production of nuclear power and scientific research. (9). An increase in the effectiveness of export control, including national systems for accounting, registration, control, and physical protection of weapons and materials for weapons. (10). The prevention of illegal traffic in nuclear and nuclear materials--theft, secret sales, etc. (11). The stopping of of the "drain of brains" (that is, the stopping of the uncontrolled and unmonitored movement of persons who possess critical information and knowledge of military nuclear technologies, including electronic forms of such technologies). (12). The prevention of access of terrorists and extremists to nuclear facilities and weapons, including forcible preventive measures ("counter-proliferation").
The majority of the developed states began scientific research programs back in the 1950s and, after that, commercial nuclear programs. According to available information, approximately 15 countries actually conducted research and development in the nuclear sphere. However, this research was carried out to the end only in a few cases (Israel, Sweden, the South African Republic, India, and Pakistan). The majority of the states that were carrying out military nuclear programs stopped their research on nuclear weapons after signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The South African Republic and Sweden were special cases. They admitted, after the event, that nuclear weapons had been developed by them and later fully demonstrated (they voluntarily relinquished the capability to produce nuclear weapons).
Several developing countries (North Korea, Iraq, Libya, Brazil, and Argentina) continued secretly to carry out nuclear developments, taking advantage of loopholes in the system of international control over nuclear facilities. Brazil, Argentina, and Libya declared that they had stopped this work but Brazil clearly is trying to preserve its capabilities for future developments.
Three countries, that are not members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, became possessors of nuclear weapons--Israel, India, and Japan. While Israel officially does not have the status of a nuclear state, it is generally recognized that it has "bombs in the cellar".
At the present time, North Korea, which was the only state to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Iran have turned out to be at the center of the problem on nuclear proliferation.
Iraq, after the war in the Persian Gulf, was compelled to cancel its nuclear program, under the monitoring of the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency. This example demonstrates the high degree of effectiveness of compulsory international control over nuclear developments.
In 2004, Libya acknowledged that it had engaged in a secret military nuclear program but said that it had carried out a number of measures that guarantee its non-nuclear status.
The new members of the nuclear club.
Due to several political and strategic factors, a number of "latent" states have proceeded on the path toward the development of nuclear weapons. In all of the cases that are known to us, this move was taken as a response to the superiority of a supposed enemy in both conventional and nuclear weapons.
True, the Israel Defense Forces, for example, are, without doubt ahead of the armed forces of all of the neighboring Arabian countries with respect to all of the main qualitative indicators although the Arabian countries are vastly superior to Israel in the quantitative aspect (i. e, with respect to overall manpower). But the Israeli leadership preferred to be guided by a "worst case scenario". The presence of chemical weapons in a number of Arabian countries played a decisive role in the nuclear policy of Tel Aviv. However, the so-called "ultimatum of Khrushchev" during the Suez Canal War of 1956 also played a special role in the decision of Israel to become the possessor of nuclear weapons.
In fact, Israel regarded its nuclear weapons as means for the deterrence of the USSR in the wars of 1967 and 1973 and the prevention of direct military intervention of the USSR in those wars on the side of the Arabs. This was also due to the lack of official nuclear guarantees for Tel Aviv from Washington. Regardless of the extremely close American- Israeli ties in all spheres, the United States held back on any formal military obligations to Israel. All of that prompted Israel to rely on its own nuclear power.
Islamabad had somewhat similar considerations in mind. During a number of wars, the leadership of Pakistan was convinced of the overwhelming superiority of India in the sphere of conventional armed forces. Pakistan, without doubt, was also well-informed about the military nuclear program of its neighboring enemy. The relations of Islamabad and Washington as quasi-allies did not provide the Pakistani leadership with nuclear guarantees against India but did make it possible to resolve some major technical problems in the nuclear sphere.
Nuclear weapons of Pakistan, in the opinion of the Islamabad, should have a deterring effect on India. However, in reality, a system of mutual nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India did not form up.
Differing from the USSR and the United States, India and Pakistan are not separated by oceans. They can use conventional means for armed battle against the strategic goals of each other. The flight time of ballistic missiles consists of only a few minutes and there are no systems to provide early warning about a nuclear missile attack. In a crisis, there will be incentives for each side to carry out a preemptive strike. The strategic balance between India and Pakistan is extremely unstable.
To a significant degree, India's security interests are tied to Chinese-Indian relations. The presence of nuclear weapons in the Chinese People's Republic was apparently one of the main reasons for the refusal of Delhi to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is China, not Pakistan, that is the main factor in the nuclear strategy of India. It can be assumed that, in the long-term prospective, and possibly even in the short-term prospective, Delhi will strive for the achievement of approximate nuclear missile parity with the Chinese People's Republic.
At the official level, the United States has actually ignored the development of nuclear weapons by Israel and it stands in the way of any serious discussion of the role of Tel Aviv in the resolution of the problems of on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Thus, a dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences has been established.
Sanctions of the United States against Pakistan and India bore a limited and short-term character. In fact, Washington recognized the irreversible character of the nuclear status of those states. The American-Indian agreement of 2006 on nuclear cooperation essentially established the refusal, on the part of the White House, to oppose the future increase of the nuclear potential of Delhi.
Russia also did not use sanctions against the three new members of the nuclear club.
As a result, we have to ascertain that both the United States and Russia, by rendering assistance in the growth of the nuclear potential of India in the peaceful sphere, are not undertaking any political or other measures whatsoever for the limitation of the military nuclear program of that country. And there is also no real opposition to the military nuclear programs of Pakistan and Israel.
Iran has been in a state of confrontation with the United States for several decades now. The military threat on the part of Washington, without doubt, is playing a special role in the development of the Iranian nuclear program. The announcement by the Bush administration of a task for the replacement of the current regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is being regarded by the leadership of Iran as a really serious threat.
Official Beijing has been regarding the United States as enemy number one for more than fifty years. And the military balance of powers on the Korean peninsula continues to deteriorate for North Korea. And now North Korea has resorted to some kind of "nuclear blackmail". It appears that it is consciously exaggerating its own capabilities in the nuclear sphere. Thus, the leadership of North Korea is probably striving to obtain guarantees of some sort for its own preservation.
A peculiarity of the approach of North Korea and Iran to the nuclear problem is agreement to negotiations for the purpose of obtaining certain political and economic concessions in exchange for the promise not to develop nuclear weapons. It cannot be ruled out that there is a chance to reach political agreements that make it possible to preserve these countries in the status as latent nuclear states.
It can be assumed that, in the future, an aggravation of regional conflicts could lead to the development of nuclear weapons by certain developing countries. Theoretically, some kind of chain reaction has not been ruled out--a chain reaction in which the emergence of nuclear weapons in one state will push neighboring rivals to a similar decision (i. e., a decision to develop nuclear weapons) for the purpose of deterring a potential enemy. Such a scenario is most probable in the Near East and Mid-East where Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia may follow the example of Israel and Iran (if Iran becomes a nuclear state).
An analogous "chain reaction" is also possible in the Far East, where the consolidation of the nuclear status of North Korea (and also a number of other factors involving the policies of China and the United States) could lead to the emergence of nuclear weapons in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.
The scenario of a "chain reaction" in Latin America, South-East Asia, and Africa (if Egypt is regarded to be a country of the Near East) looks less probable. And such a development of events in Europe is extremely doubtful, since the collapse of NATO and the European Union would be required for that to occur, as well as the "re-nationalization" of the defense policy of Germany, etc.
On the whole, there is reason to reach the following conclusion: If, in this stage, the transition of the countries that the United States included in the "axis of evil" to the status of nuclear states represents the greatest danger, then, in the next stage (if Iran and North Korea develop nuclear weapons), the conversion of a number of countries that presently are allies and clients of Washington to nuclear states may occur. That is, the next stage, the transition of the "latent states" to the category of nuclear states may occur if there is a sharp weakening of the persuasiveness of the "extensive nuclear deterrence" on the part of the United States.
As for Russia, the factor of "extensive nuclear deterrence" on its part plays an insignificant role, since the probability of the development of nuclear weapons by the countries that are members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is close to zero (sic) and Russia does not have other allies and clients.
In these conditions, the prevention of the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea is of critical importance for the prevention of the "chain reaction" of the conversion of the "latent" states into nuclear states. The settlement of regional conflicts and the prevention of a conventional arms race in various regions of the world, primarily in Asia, the Near East, and the Far East, are of no less importance.
The threat to the territorial integrity and even to the very existence of a number of "latent states" on the part of more powerful neighboring states that are striving for regional supremacy can push (the threatened states) into a local nuclear arms race and even to the use of nuclear weapons.
A peculiarity of the threat of nuclear terrorism is that nuclear (or radiological) weapons can be used by a non-state actor. The terrorists are not bound by legal norms and they play "without rules". Consequently, the countering of nuclear terrorism cannot be carried out by the militaryategic means that are used in relations among states.
The use of violence and weapons not only against specific political and military figures but also against the peaceful population, that is, the murder of the maximal number of people who belong to an "enemy" ethnic and religious group, is characteristic of modern terrorism. The capability of mass destruction is immanently characteristic of nuclear weapons and, consequently, they are potentially one of the most effective means of mass murder.
Nuclear terrorism can be achieved by three methods: By the use of nuclear warheads for carrying out strikes on selected targets; by the conducting of terrorist acts against nuclear facilities (reactors) for the purpose of causing an explosion; and by using radioactive industrial materials as radiological weapons.
Correspondingly, agreements, which, ideally, encompass all of the nuclear and latent states and stipulate parallel measures for the purpose of countering terrorism with respect to all of the fore-mentioned methods, are necessary. (The prevention of access) to nuclear warheads or their components requires the provision of a high level of security for the facilities in which nuclear weapons are stored, as well as a high level of security for the means for the delivery of nuclear weapons (primarily ballistic missiles).
At the same time, it should be taken into consideration that information regarding these matters cannot be completely open since terrorists cannot be allowed to possess information that makes it easier for them to gain access to nuclear munitions and the means for the delivery of them. The observation of the necessary secrecy in this sphere contradicts, to a certain degree, the requirements for the expansion of transparency among the nuclear powers.
Simultaneously, it is expedient to discuss additional technical measures which would make it possible to exclude the unsanctioned use of munitions, including by means of exerting a physical effect on them. It appears that it would be possible to conduct confidential consultations at the level of experts on these matters. Moreover, the reduction of the quantity of nuclear arms that are at a high level of combat readiness will assist in the limitation of the capabilities of terrorists attacks carried out for the purpose of capturing those weapons.
Special difficulties may arise during the provision of security for the wireless transmission of information, which concerns observation, warning, and combat control. The penetration of terrorists into systems for communication and control is fraught with the unsanctioned use of nuclear weapons or the making of a decision by the political leadership that is based on false information.
The participation of not only the United States and Russia but also of all of the other nuclear states, including India and Pakistan, in the work of a system for the exchange of information on missile launches is desirable.
Measures for the provision of security for the nuclear reactors of the commercial power plants and scientific-research institutes require substantial financial expenditures.
It would seem that the emphasis should be on control and monitoring of all of the peaceful nuclear activities for the purpose of not allowing the switching over of significant quantities of fissile materials from peaceful purposes to military purposes.
Additional measures for the provision of security for peaceful nuclear reactors can require such (a high level of) expenditures that it makes nuclear energy less competitive in comparison with other sources of energy. Meanwhile, in a world experiencing globalization, there is still no system to provide for stability in the world energy market.
Moreover, many developing countries that are relying on nuclear power plants do not have sufficiently qualified personnel for work in this sphere. As a result, a secret "drain of brains" to those countries is occurring and secret forms of cooperation in nuclear matters are developing among states. However, such secrecy creates an opportunity for the emergence of a "nuclear bazaar". An example of that was the secret commercial organization, headed by Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani scientist, which was in operation for nearly 20 years.
All of that facilitates the emergence of favorable conditions for the possible penetration of terrorists into such a "nuclear bazaar". Up until now, only states have managed to develop nuclear munitions and it is doubtful that such a task can be resolved (by terrorists) crawling around in underground conditions on their knees. Consequently, the purchase of a nuclear warhead remains the most alluring method for a terrorist organization to gain access to nuclear weapons. Control over nuclear fuel in order to avoid the accumulation of supplies of enriched uranium is an acute problem. A "dirty bomb" requires significantly less industrial capabilities than a "normal" nuclear warhead. Apparently, as previously mentioned, the resolution of the problem of a terrorist threat in the sphere of the "peaceful atom" could be found within the framework of the development of a global system for energy security (i. e., for the provision of security for nuclear power plants, etc.). This would make it possible to establish control over all of the peaceful nuclear reactors and the cycle of circulation of the nuclear fuel. At the same time, international funding could clearly be made conditional on agreement on the acceptance of strict standards in the resolution of the tasks for the provision of security against terrorists.
At the same time, it should be recognized that, in the foreseeable future, there is no possibility of guaranteeing, at the 100-percent level, the prevention of all possible terrorist acts involving the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction.
Consequently, an agreement on the establishment of international rapid response forces for the neutralization of the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction can be of great importance in the battle against nuclear terrorism. Corresponding sub-units that are available in Russia and the United States could comprise the backbone of such forces.
International-legal support of counter-terrorist operations involving the use of specialized forces is taking on a special importance. The establishment of a special committee under the aegis of the Security Council of the UN is also possible. This committee could be involved in working out problems concerning counter-terrorist operations and preparing a corresponding resolution for the Security Council that establishes the rules for the conducting of militarized operations for the prevention of terrorist attacks involving the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction.
New approaches on a global level.
Control over nuclear technologies is assuming a special importance at the present time. In coordination with that, the establishment of international control over the nuclear fuel cycle is also taking on a special importance. A closed nuclear cycle of highly enriched uranium for a country can erect an insurmountable obstacle for (terrorists who are trying to obtain) the material, which is necessary for the production of nuclear warheads.
From this point of view, the most effective means is the establishment of an international organization which would carry out the deliveries of fuel for nuclear power plants and receive the depleted nuclear fuel for storage and re-processing. The resolution of a considerable number of political, organizational, technical, and commercial-financial problems is necessary for that. Obviously, the "Big Eight" could play a decisive role in the resolution of the problems cited above. The valuable experience obtained during the realization of the "Global Partnership" program against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could prove useful along these lines. The establishment of an international center for the treatment of depleted nuclear fuel, particularly on the territory of the Russian Federation (Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Kray), can be one of the options for not allowing the unsanctioned use of depleted nuclear fuel.
Taking the commercial value of nuclear fuel into consideration, the problem of a closed nuclear cycle can be regarded within the framework of the development of a strategy of global energy security.
It appears to be possible to coordinate the problems of the development of nuclear energy with the problem of proliferation (of nuclear weapons) within the framework of the consideration of a global energy strategy by the "Big Eight". Technical and financial support on the part of the participants of the "Big Eight" to countries intending to build nuclear power plants should be made conditional on their precise observation of the conditions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including their signing of the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Possibly, the working out of and acceptance of some additional, even more strict, measures for control will be required.
The next task is assistance in the strengthening of a system of guarantees for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For this purpose, inspections, in accordance with the Additional Protocol for Agreement on Guarantees with the IAEA, of all of the states-participants of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should be made mandatory. And the Nuclear Supplier Group should be turned into an organization of states bound by an official treaty. The approval of a corresponding measure by the Security Council of the UN will be required for that. The Governing Council of the IAEA could make a decision that assistance in the development of peaceful nuclear programs will be rendered only to those countries that are members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that subscribe to the Additional Protocol and ratify it. The goal of placing all of the nuclear activities in the countries that are members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (countries that do not possess nuclear weapons) under the all-embracing control of the IAEA will be achieved in this way.
The ratification of the Additional Protocol by the official nuclear powers will serve as a way to remove from them the accusation that they are "falling out" of the system of guarantees of the IAEA and, thereby, double standards are being applied to them (of course, in the official nuclear powers, only the civilian nuclear facilities fall under the guarantees of the IAEA). The Governing Council of the IAEA must recognize the Additional Protocol as the standard for guarantees of the IAEA.
The next task is to promote the completion, in the minimally accepted period of time, of projects for the establishment of an integrated system of guarantees and control of the IAEA over fissile materials that were taken from weapons, that is, taken from military programs.
The Security Council of the UN must be ready to take measures in case of the rising up of serious concerns regarding non-observation of standards with respect to nuclear proliferation. This will make it possible to confer a universal (comprehensive] character to the system of guarantees of the IAEA.
Although the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty stipulates the right to withdraw from it, it is necessary insistently to call upon the states not to do that. A country that declares that it has withdrawn from the treaty must be called to account for violations committed by it when it was still a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The notification by a state about its withdrawal from the treaty must lead to an immediate investigation to find out if that state had fulfilled all of the provisions of the treaty.
The Security Council, acting in correspondence with its own resolution 1540 (of the year 2004), can propose standard legislation to the states regarding the provision for security, investigation, and the establishment of criminal responsibility and export control. It can also work out minimal standards for implementation by the states-members of the United Nations. A committee, engaged in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) of the Security Council, must establish constant communications with the IAEA and the Nuclear Supplier Group.
A prospective task is the initiation of the development of a concept of general international control over nuclear energy, keeping in mind the end goal--the formation of a multi-component mechanism for the reliable monitoring of nuclear disarmament. That mechanism would be under the supervision of the Security Council of the United Nations as the organ that, according to the UN Charter, bears the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
A treaty on the prohibition of the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices should be the first step in that direction. It is necessary to take the negotiations, which are occurring within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, out of the deadlock. For that, differences in the views among the five official nuclear powers, primarily between the United States and China, will have to be overcome.
One of the options for the resolution of the financial problems involved with control over nuclear fuel can be the undertaking of a special program under the aegis of the World Bank. In particular, the World bank could provide credit to the developing countries so that they could obtain nuclear fuel if they observe certain strict conditions (primarily, the return of the depleted nuclear fuel). The expenditure of 5-20 billion rubles per year may be required for that purpose.
Another option is expediently to propose the establishment of a specialized international agency which would closely interact with the IAEA but would be involved with the financial problems and not with the technological problems.
The official nuclear club.
The problem of agreements among the five official nuclear powers is complicated due to their clear lack of a desire to fulfill their obligations with respect to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty--obligations which require the taking of concrete measures for the purpose of general and complete nuclear disarmament. At the present time, not a single one of those countries is expressing such an intention and not a single one of them is proposing the conducting of negotiations on the complete rejection of nuclear weapons (if the sluggish, limp propagandistic statements on this theme by China are not counted). In recent years, American-Russian negotiations on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons have ceased, although the time period for (compliance with the terms of) the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) will expire in 2012. However, there is a possibility to take control over nuclear arms out of the deadlock. First of all, this involves the Russian-American agreements on the mutual reduction of nuclear risks and measures for the decrease of the dangers associated with the preservation of the model, "mutual nuclear destruction".
The unfreezing of the Russian-American negotiation process can establish more favorable conditions for five-sided consultations of the reduction of the nuclear threat, with the participation of all of the official nuclear states.
A regular exchange of opinions among the five official nuclear powers and the conducting of consultations by them could be carried out in various formats, including under the aegis of a meeting of the permanent members of the Security Council of the UN.
It appears that the goal of such multilateral consultations can be not the conclusion of an official treaty and formal international legal obligations for the nuclear states but the achievement of political agreements. The result may be parallel unilateral actions of the five nuclear powers, coordinated among themselves, for the realization of certain measures which decrease the threat of the use of nuclear weapons by them.
In the first place, a mutual statement by members of the "nuclear club" that they have no intention of quantitatively increasing their nuclear forces appears to be possible. That political declaration will not require inspections and monitoring, with the exception of Russia and the United States, if they agree on the preservation of measures for inspection, in a modified form, stipulated by START-1, after the expiration of the time in which it remains in effect, i. e., after 2009.
It appears that such a move may be acceptable for the United States, Russia, Great Britain, and France. But it may be rejected by China which has set to work on the modernization of its nuclear forces.
The position of the Chinese People's Republic on this issue will be determined, on the one hand, by the rate of the build-up of the American ABM system in the Pacific Ocean and, on the other hand, by the quantitative and qualitative growth of the nuclear forces of India. In any case, it can be assumed that China will not show any readiness to limit its strategic long-range nuclear forces to the level that it has already achieved.
Secondly, a joint declaration of the five nuclear powers on the reduction of their nuclear forces by 10-15 percent over the next decade (by 2015) is possible. For the United States and Russia, for example, this would mean the confirmation of the effect of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty after 2012, at the lower level of 1,700 warheads and not at the upper level of 2,200 warheads (i. e, the United States and Russia would each reduce the number of warheads to 1,700).
Such an approach may turn out to be fully acceptable to France and Great Britain but it will probably be rejected by China.
Thirdly, the rejection of the production of fissile materials in order to make nuclear weapons is still a pressing issue. Apparently, for the reasons cited above, China will avoid the fulfillment of corresponding obligations. However, even the signing of an agreement by the other four (official) nuclear powers will play a positive role.
Fourthly, the problem of the aging of the nuclear warheads and their replacement with new warheads can be a subject of the consultations. In conditions of the rejection of nuclear tests, the problem of reliability can, in a few years, become acute due to the lack of the possibility to test new nuclear warheads. It cannot be ruled out that all five of the official nuclear states, including China, may show interest in the clarification of the technical parameters of the resolution of this problem.
If the prohibition on nuclear tests stays in effect, additional incentives for the quantitative reduction of nuclear arsenals may emerge. In particular, states that possess nuclear weapons should take on the obligation to undertake practical measures for the purpose of decreasing of the unpremeditated unleashing of a nuclear war.
Fifthly, during the consultations, all of the members of the nuclear club will be able to discuss a mechanism for the exchange of information on nuclear issues, including transparency and openness in providing the people of the world with certain information on the problems of nuclear weapons, as well as possible confidential channels for the exchange of information that must not be available to the terrorists.
Sixthly, all five official nuclear powers could reach agreement on the undertaking of collective measures for the localization (reduction to a minimum) of the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists against countries that are not members of the "nuclear club".
Such measures must stipulate the timely allocation of the necessary personnel and equipment and air transport means for a rapid response in case of a terrorist attack involving nuclear or radiological weapons or in case of an attack by terrorists on civilian nuclear facilities (reactors and storing places for nuclear materials). Russia and the United States could conclude a bilateral agreement on interaction, inviting the other nuclear powers to participate, as much as possible, in the planning and carrying out of joint operations.
Naturally, such measures ("services" on the part of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN) must also include helping to liquidate the consequences of natural disasters and catastrophic accidents at civilian facilities (nuclear reactors, chemical enterprise, etc.).
Seventhly, the achievement of an agreement by the members of the "nuclear club" on the notification of each other about the use, in counter-terrorist operations, of dual systems (missiles and aviation) equipped with conventional warheads. This primarily concerns ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as heavy bombers.
The necessity for such an agreement is due to the fact that a number of nuclear states, particularly Russia and the United States, possess the technical capability to retrofit intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with warheads with conventional charges. It is being proposed to use such (non-nuclear) warheads when the possibility to destroy particularly dangerous terrorists is limited in time. The use of those weapons without notification (of the other members of the nuclear club) may be interpreted as the beginning of a nuclear war.
Moreover, the reaching of agreement by members of the "nuclear club: on not putting nuclear warheads on "non-traditional" carriers, for example, on unmanned flying vehicles, is expedient. The development of new technologies that make it possible secretly to carry out a long-range attack on ground targets may turn out to have a destabilizing effect on the interaction of the nuclear powers.
Finally, the official nuclear states must undertake concrete measures in order to fulfill the obligations they assumed in accordance with Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They must move forward on the path of disarmament and be ready to undertake concrete measures for the fulfillment of those obligations.
Format "5 plus 3".
Progress in Russian-American relations on problems of nuclear arms control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as multilateral measures involving the participation of all five of the official nuclear states, will establish the prerequisites for drawing the three non-official nuclear states into the process.
The presence of nuclear weapons in Israel, India, and Pakistan is a political and military reality. It is impossible to ignore it. It is also impossible "to return" those countries to a "non-nuclear state". Consequently, an effective multilateral regime of nuclear control is not possible without the acceptance by those countries of certain "rules of conduct" in the nuclear sphere.
Since, under certain conditions, the example of those three states can push other countries toward the possession of nuclear weapons, the non-official nuclear states cannot be allowed to obtain substantial political advantages from the possession of nuclear weapons, particularly by raising their international-legal status up to the level of the official members of the "nuclear club".
Consequently, the format of "the eight" nuclear states (5 plus 3) for the undertaking of joint measures for the control of nuclear arms appears to be quite problematic inasmuch as it may be regarded by the international community as a failure of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The tacit recognition of India, Pakistan, and Israel as nuclear states in exchange for their acceptance of certain obligations in the nuclear sphere may be a way out of this vicious circle. Obligations should de facto be placed on the non-official nuclear states that are the same as those limitations and rules of conduct which the official nuclear states are ready to take on themselves.
It can be assumed that it is not very likely that all of the measures of nuclear control for the format of the "group of five" will be acceptable to the non-official nuclear states. The acceptance of these measures by Israel is particularly problematic. Israel conducts a policy of "bombs in the cellar". It neither confirms not denies that it has nuclear weapons. Moreover, the open acknowledgement by Israel that it has nuclear weapons would have extremely unfavorable consequences. It would serve as a reason for the withdrawal by a number of Arabian states from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. From that point of view, the preservation of the status quo with regard to Israel seems to be the "lesser of the evils", in comparison with a nuclear arms race in the Near East.
It is also not likely that India and Pakistan will be ready to carry out all of the measures which can be coordinated by the official nuclear powers. Primarily, this concerns transparency, the open provision of information on available nuclear weapons and plans for the future increase of them. The level of mutual distrust and unpredictability of the countries is too high for them to agree to provide important information on those subjects.
Nevertheless, it appears that, with certain incentives, India and Pakistan may follow the example of official members of the "nuclear club", particularly the example set by the United States and the (former) USSR. At a certain stage of the nuclear arms race (between the US and USSR during the Cold War), the United States and the USSR agreed to make some limitations.
In the first place, India and Pakistan can announce that they will not increase their nuclear stockpiles beyond the levels that have already been reached. Such a move is possible when those countries have reached a certain quantitative level and nomenclature of nuclear warheads, as determined by them. However, one needs to keep in mind that the decision of India on not increasing its level of nuclear arms will be correlated more with the position of China on this issue than with the position of Pakistan. If the leadership of India sets itself the task of achieving nuclear parity with China, and China does to take corresponding obligations upon itself, it is not very likely that India will limit its own nuclear arsenal.
Secondly, India and Pakistan may participate in agreements on stopping the production of fissile materials for military purposes if such agreements are reached at the international level. However, even in this case, the position of China, which is making its decision on this issue conditional on the decision of the United States to reject the putting of strike systems in space, will play the decisive role for India.
Thirdly, India and Pakistan, as well as Israel, can, just as is the case with the official nuclear powers, sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). That will be the possible only if the United States and China ratify the CTBT. States that are not participants of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that is, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, must declare their adherence to non-proliferation and disarmament after demonstrating their adherence through ratification of the CTBT.
Fourthly, following the members of the "nuclear club", India and Pakistan could declare that they will not place nuclear warheads on unmanned flying vehicles. The use of unmanned flying vehicles as a means for the delivery of nuclear weapons represents a special danger for both countries, taking the factor of terrorism into consideration.
Fifthly, India and Pakistan could participate in the agreement of the official nuclear states on the undertaking of collective measures for the localization (reduction to a minimum) of the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists, if such an agreement bears an open character for the participation of other states. It is not ruled out that Israel will also participate in that agreement.
Cooperation in the battle against so-called "catastrophic terrorism" is important not only in itself but also as a method for urging the unofficial nuclear states on to acceptance of certain rules of conduct in the nuclear sphere. Such a resolution would make it possible for India, Pakistan, and Israel officially to participate in the "nuclear club" without the formal raising of their status to the level of the official nuclear powers. Thus, a precedent would be established which would make it possible for them, to a certain extent, to influence the nuclear policy of those states.
The "counter-terrorist" format also can be used to get India and Pakistan to undertake measures to provide security for the storage, warehousing, and transportation of existing nuclear arms and materials suitable for the production of them, as well as civilian nuclear facilities and materials. This will contribute to the effectiveness of export control and the establishment of national systems for accounting, registration, monitoring, control, and protection of weapons materials.
Moreover, the problems of providing security may play a useful role in persuading India and particularly Pakistan not to deploy nuclear weapons, that is, to store nuclear munitions in well-protected depots, not installing warheads on the delivery systems. This would contribute to a significant reduction of the risk of nuclear war between these two countries, as well as a reduction of the risk of the capture of nuclear systems by terrorists.
India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, and Israel could also become members of the Nuclear Supplier Group and they could also join the Regime for the Control of Nuclear Technologies.
It is also important that peaceful efforts in the Near East and South Asia include the start of negotiations on nuclear disarmament, which could lead to the establishment of zones free from nuclear weapons in those regions similar to such zones that have been established in other regions of the world.
On the whole, however, the fore-mentioned measures for nuclear control of the three unofficial nuclear states in coordination with a multilateral regime are not very likely to be realized in the near future since, at the present time, such a regime does not exist. It will be possible to begin to operate in the format 5 plus 3 or 5 plus 2 only after corresponding agreements among the official nuclear powers have been reached.
Consequently, in present conditions, it is more rational to operate in the format of a bilateral dialogue, using relationships as allies and partners that have formed up: The United States with Israel, Pakistan, and, in recent times, India; Russia with India; China with Pakistan etc. At the same time, within the framework of the "Big Eight", it is necessary to initiate a geographical expansion of a "Global Partnership" against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and draw India, Pakistan, and possibly Israel into its programs as countries-recipients. The most prospective projects are the strengthening of the physical protection of the nuclear facilities and the improvement of export control.
Two groups of six.
The attempts, by diplomatic means, to resolve the Iranian and Korean problems demonstrate that the striving by Washington to change the political regimes in Iran and North Korea is an insurmountable obstacle for the diplomatic resolution of the critical situations that have been provoked by the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. The United States should determine which is more important--a change of regimes in those states or the prevention of their access to nuclear weapons? The Iranian and Korean problems can be resolved only if the priority on non-proliferation turns out to be more important than the ideological slogans of the United States.
At the present time, a new negotiation format within the framework of a "group of six" has developed.
The "group of six" for the North Korean problem includes China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States, on the one hand, and North Korea on the other. We will mention that three (Russia, the United States, and China) of the six participants of the negotiations are official nuclear powers (and permanent members of the Security Council of the United States) and South Korea and particularly Japan are technically in a state that makes it possible for them rapidly to develop nuclear weapons.
At the present time, a similar negotiation format is forming up for negotiations on the Iranian problem. This new "group of six" includes Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, on the one hand, and Iran on the other. Four of the six participants in these negotiations (Russia, the United States, Great Britain, and France) are official nuclear powers (and permanent members of the Security Council of the UN) and Germany technically is in a state that makes it possible for it rapidly to develop nuclear weapons. Time will tell if this new "group of six" will be more successful in the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem than the "group of six" that is working on the resolution of the North Korean problem.
Thus, a new, informal political mechanism has arisen for the resolution of the most acute problems in the sphere of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Its participants include all five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN who are simultaneously official nuclear powers and two great powers who aspire to be permanent members of the Security Council, although they are not nuclear states. Each of the "groups of six" can be regarded as kind of "away commission" of the Security Council of the UN, which includes some permanent members of the Security Council and other leading states that are able to play a positive role in the maintenance of strategic stability in two of the most explosive regions of the world.
It appears that the permanent members of the Security Council should send regular reports on the work done within the framework of the "groups of six" to the Security Council of the UN. In the case of the achievement of real agreements pertaining to the Iranian and North Korean problems, the Security Council could confirm those agreements by special resolutions. Or, on the contrary, in the case of a collapse of the negotiations and the springing up of a threat to the world, the Security Council could undertake measures in correspondence with the UN Charter.
At the same time, six of the eight member-countries of the "Big Eight" are participating in the two "groups of six". In its work, this authoritative international forum is giving more and more attention to a reduction of the nuclear threat. In particular, the importance of the "Global Partnership" should be mentioned. It can be used to render financial and technical help to North Korea and Iran in case of the diplomatic resolution of the critical situations that were provoked by their nuclear programs.
At the same time, the new negotiation format objectively contributes to the raising of the status of Germany and Japan in the world hierarchy, demonstrating that the possession of nuclear weapons is not a requirement for participation in the resolution of such very important problems of international security as the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. &n bsp; &nbs p; &n bsp; &nbs p;
It should be emphasized, in particular, that only two countries have participated in both "groups of six"--the United States and Russia. It seems that this fact reflects the special responsibility of the two nuclear super-powers in the maintenance of strategic stability and the prevention of the strengthening of the nuclear threat throughout the world. The conclusion can be reached, without exaggeration, that the resolution of the Iranian and North Korean problems would hardly be possible without positive Russian-American interaction. This circumstance, in our opinion, should contribute to the establishment of a mechanism for the strategic partnership of Russia and the United States, for the purpose of overcoming the vestiges of the Cold War (mutual nuclear terror).
1. G8 summit to make important energy decisions – U.S. energy official
G8 2006 Summit Website
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Guy Caruso, the head of the Energy Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Energy, said he hoped that the forthcoming G8 summit in St. Petersburg would have a positive influence on the general situation in the energy sphere.
The summit will discuss global energy cooperation, which could have a stabilizing impact on oil prices prone to sharp fluctuations at a time when the global oil industry is using 98% of its capacity, he said.
Another important matter to be taken up in St. Petersburg is the improvement of the investment climate, and there could be important decisions in that sphere as well, he said.
Russia's G8 presidency proves it is accepted as an equal – expert June 19
Russia's presidency in the Group of Eight is a sign that it is accepted as an equal partner, said Arkady Dvorkovich, head of the Russian president's experts directorate, speaking at the 10th annual investors' conference in Moscow on Monday.
"Due to some unfortunate misunderstandings, we have not been let in to a number of exclusive clubs, such as the WTO, the financial G7, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development," he said.
"In fact, it is not our problem that we have not been admitted to these clubs; it is the problem of those who run them and who believe that they can resolve issues without Russia."
"As one of the world's largest countries and a leading player in international politics, Russia cannot remain overboard, or problems will not be solved efficiently," he said.
Addressing the investors’ conference, Dvorkovich said that at present "there are no reasons to expect shocks on the currency market or to say that we have problems with paying off our foreign debt."
He reminded the audience that Russia would lift all restrictions on capital flows on July 1. "Apart from abolishing formal bans, we need to adopt a more efficient economic policy to boost investors’ confidence in the ruble," he said.
He admitted that inflation remained a serious problem for the Russian economy. "High spending that provokes inflation is a hangover for the country," he said. "By hangover I mean inflation caused by excessive spending, as has been repeatedly, and rightly, pointed out by the Russian finance minister."
"We have sufficient resources to finance our current spending," Dvorkovich added.
2. Russian Sherpa Igor Shuvalov replies to journalists’ questions about the coming summit
G8 2006 Summit Website
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Russia shares its G8 partners' values but is going to uphold its own positions, including its opposition to sanctions against Iran
Russia shares its Group of Eight partners' values but intends to uphold its own positions, including its opposition to sanctions against Iran, said Russian presidential envoy Igor Shuvalov.
"If the issue involves Russia's key interests, and positions differ, then Russia must defend its positions and will do so in the future," he said.
The Russian side will not share its partners' positions if it finds that such a stance would exacerbate or worsen the situation, he explained. The presidential envoy said one had to assess the risks associated with certain decisions.
By way of example, he cited a proposal to impose economic sanctions on Iran: "Russia does not think they should be introduced against Iran because things may worsen," he said.
"It does not matter if there are differences in positions. It is bad if the partners fail to see why the positions differ," Shuvalov said.
He gave an assurance that there would be no confrontations between Russia and the other G8 members.
Participation of India and China in discussions on energy security at the summit is a key question for Russia
The participation of India and China in discussing energy security issues at the G8 heads of state summit is a key question for Russia, said presidential envoy Igor Shuvalov.
"When we were deciding on who would be invited to participate in the summit, the Russian president's position was that it was pointless to discuss energy security without India and China, because they exercise a great influence on price growth, are leading consumers of energy resources, and have developing economies. Also, these countries are ready to develop nuclear power on their territories, which is a priority for the Russian presidency of the Group of Eight," he said.
So for Russia the participation of these countries in matters of energy security will be of key importance.
Shuvalov also said that countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa would take part in the Group of Eight summit as "outreach" countries. He recalled that these countries attended last year's Gleneagles summit (in the United Kingdom), and discussed climate change.
"We agreed that it would be right to repeat the ‘outreach' that existed at Gleneagles last year," he said.
Russia's G8 presidency will concentrate on balancing the interests of energy consumers and suppliers
Russia's presidency in the Group of Eight will concentrate on balancing the interests of energy consumers and suppliers, said presidential envoy Igor Shuvalov.
"The goal of Russia as chairman of the G8 is to use its unique position to balance the interests of energy consuming and producing countries," he said.
"In defining our position in the G8, we have taken note of the fact that some consumer countries have left the oil and gas sector in recent years," he said. "And when the U.S. government was considering imposing additional taxes on the $500 billion that American oil and gas companies had accumulated in their accounts, we responded that Russian oil companies are underinvested." "Therefore, this should not be considered surplus money," he said. "It should be thought of as funds that have been underinvested for the past 20-25 years."
So, Shuvalov said, "it is necessary to formulate principles of understanding and also norms in order to attract investors and open up a new investment cycle." "Our assumption is that if someone is to invest heavily in the upstream, it is necessary to realize that there is a market mechanism and that no obstacles exist to the project's implementation."
"While investing in what we produce, we should also invest in how it reaches the consumer," said the presidential envoy. "This is what makes up a balanced approach to the security of supply and demand."
"Our partners feared that the state might intervene in these processes, but we evolved a mechanism capable of laying these concerns to rest," he said. "The state will play a role only where it is impossible to act without it."
Document on weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation to be drafted for the summit at the last moment
A document on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction may be prepared for the G8 summit at the very last moment, said Russian presidential envoy Igor Shuvalov.
"The political leaders have discussed this matter. Will foreign ministers discuss it? I have the impression they will. But a non-proliferation document is usually ready at the last moment, because the non-proliferation issue always has some ground to cover during the summit," Shuvalov said on Tuesday.
He recalled the world six powers' package of proposals on the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem.
"Iran may respond to this package differently ahead of the summit: it may agree to it, say that it is studying it, or disagree with it," he said.
Depending on how the dialogue develops, the non-proliferation theme may undergo changes, especially if "these tough negotiations reach an extreme point, and leaders are ready to discuss such questions," said Shuvalov.
3. PRESS BRIEFING ON THE UPCOMING G8 SUMMIT BY ANDREI KONDAKOV, DIRECTOR OF THE FOREIGN MINISTRY DEPARTMENT FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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Moderator: Is everybody here? Well, colleagues, we are continuing our work, we are continuing a series of meetings with Foreign Ministry senior officials ahead of the G8 summit. Today you will be talking, and I hope there will be an exchange of views, a briefing, a discussion, a backgrounder, whichever you want, with Andrei Lvovich Kondakov, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Economic Cooperation, who is also Russia's foreign policy sous-sherpa, there is such a word, sous-sherpa, Russia's foreign policy sous-sherpa in the G8. The director of the Department of Economic Cooperation, Russia's foreign policy sous-sherpa in the G8, Kondakov Andrei Lvovich. I am turning the floor over to him.
Kondakov: Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here at this briefing. As it has been announced the topic of this briefing is global energy security on the agenda of Russia's presidency in the G8.
I want to start by saying that energy is not something new in the G8. Those who have been following the G8 history, and the G8 began as the G5, the topic of energy was discussed back in 1975 at the Rambouillet summit of the Group of Five, Italy and Canada were not in the group at that time. Moreover some analysts believe that this mechanism -- the G5 at first, then the G7 and finally the G8 -- was created largely in a bid to find adequate response to the complex situation in the global energy markets.
If you remember the situation at the beginning of the 1970s, there was a very painful oil shock, for which the world economy was not prepared. In 1975 the leaders of the five countries had a detailed discussion of how to respond to energy security challenges at that time and what collective actions could be taken to minimize consequences.
After that energy issues have always been in the focus of G8 attention and were at the top of the agenda when the situation in the world markets deteriorated and were temporarily forgotten during stabilization or when the situation deteriorated for producers. But one way or another the word "energy" was present practically at all summits.
What are the distinctions of Russia's presidency and the topic suggested by Russia? Perhaps for the first time this topic was announced as the main topic of Russia's presidency, and the G8 is preparing a special document on this issue. No such documents were made before. In the past energy issues were addressed in the final economic communiques of the summits. They took up a good deal of the documents but no separate documents on energy issues were ever adopted.
As you know, the situation in the world markets has been quite strained for the last several years, prices have been unpredictable and set one all-times record after another. Absolutely new factors have appeared in the global energy situation. All this raises justified concerns among the global energy market players. And it would be wrong to neglect this issue and not to address it during our presidency, especially since Russia, as you know, is one of the leading players in the international energy market, not only in terms of oil but also in terms of natural gas. We make large electricity supplies to other countries, too. And I think everybody knows about our coal reserves as well.
So it was more than a natural topic for us. We said to our partners from the very beginning that we would pursue this topic. All of our G8 partners energetically supported our intention to make it the main topic. And work to prepare this topic for Russia's presidency started last summer. Russia assumed presidency on January 1, 2006, as you know. In January we gave our partners the first outlines of a document. By that I mean a joint statement of the G8 leaders on global energy security.
We tried to define Russia's understanding of energy security. This has been discussed quite actively lately. We tried to make such a definition that would reflect the interests, concerns, and priorities of both energy producing countries and energy consuming countries. This is why we suggested the following definition in the initial version of the document: energy security is understood by the G8 countries, and I hope other countries too, reliable, stable, environmentally responsible energy supplies to the world system at prices that mirror the main market principles and that would make it possible to sustain economic growth in the world, including access to energy services for developing countries.
It's a very long and unclear -- actually it's a clear but long and complex definition, but we just wanted --
Moderator: Can you read it again?
Kondakov: Are you taking notes?
Moderator: Can you do it again?
Kondakov: I can repeat it again. In principle, it's one of the key issues, and it spurred very intensive discussions. Now we have practically reached an understanding. If you are interested I can repeat it. By global energy security the Russian side, and our G8 partners support us on this, understands reliable, stable, environmentally responsible energy supplies to the world system at prices that mirror the main market principles and that would make it possible to sustain economic growth in the world, including access to energy services for developing countries.
This definition, in our view, reflects the main painful aspects of the current situation and one way or another takes into account the interests of all global market players, both producing countries and consuming countries, including the most vulnerable consumers that are developing countries. I will talk more about developing countries and this initiative because this is a very important aspect of the initiative. Their interests have not been forgotten, and we will address that.
As we worked on the topic, we tried to understand if all of us had the same understanding of the main challenges created by the current energy situation for humankind. In principle, it was fortunately so. And these challenges will most likely be mentioned in the documents. These include high and volatile energy prices. This is a very important characteristic. It is present in many documents, and I think it will also be mentioned in the document to be adopted by the leaders; the continuing depletion of traditional and easily accessible hydrocarbon sources; growing energy demand, including due to new players in the global market, the so-called emerging economies, which are experiencing ever growing demand for energy and the interests of which cannot be ignored; another challenge is the growing vulnerability of the global energy infrastructure to natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. This should be within the purview of the G8 for obvious reasons. The overall conclusion that the partners are going to arrive at, and we are currently trying to cast it into the form of a document, is that global challenges can only be met by pooling the efforts of all the interested countries, the producers, the consumers and the transit countries. So, the draft documents have a third category of countries which, along with being consumers of energy, are also large transit territories. That group of countries is also referred to in the document.
Further on, the main answers to the challenges to global energy security should be looked for through the opening of transparent and competitive markets. That is, creating conditions for the development of such markets is perhaps one of the main right answers of the world community to the current challenges. This does not mean that we underestimate the role of the state. The role of the state and specialized international organizations dealing with energy will also be reflected in the document. However, we give pride of place to effective functioning of the world energy markets.
Another provision that we propose to be signed by the leaders is the principle of diversification of the sources of energy. By diversification we mean both diversification of sources of import and diversification of markets, a very important concept for exporters; diversification of the methods of delivering energy and the so-called sectoral diversification, meaning more active use of alternative sources of energy, renewable sources of energy and so on. So, the second main principle is further steps to diversify energy supply.
Another important principle is active development of energy saving and energy efficient technologies, and this will form a fairly large section of the documents. I have already said that we intend to address the problem of energy poverty in the document, meaning safe access for developing countries to energy supplies. That will be a separate section of the document. The problem of energy poverty is particularly acute in the developing countries. There are some striking statistics which will probably find their way into the main document of the leaders: 2.4 billion people on the planet have no reliable access to modern energy supplies, in the first place electricity. The world community cannot tolerate this situation. The leaders of the G8 will formulate concrete steps and recommendations to facilitate access for developing countries to modern energy sources.
Naturally, speaking about the development of energy we do not forget the topic of environmental protection and the fight against global warming. That topic got a lot of attention at the Gleneagles summit and, in keeping with the tradition of continuity in the G8, we plan to devote considerable space to the problems of fighting adverse climate change in our document.
And finally, one of the key topics that should run like a golden thread through the document is the need to have a more active dialogue and cooperation between the producers and consumers of energy. Such a dialogue, in our view should be based on an awareness of the growing interdependence of the interests of these two groups of countries and should seek to ensure security both of supply and demand. And I will dwell a little on this topic. You have heard the concepts of security of supply and security of demand. Traditionally, the topic of energy security has been perceived as mainly security of supply. This is understandable. Importing countries want to see guaranteed supplies at reasonable prices. And this prompts the well-established concept of security of supply. We for our part believe that there is another side to the middle, and that is security of demand. In our opinion, in addition to security of supply we should not forget about the security of demand.
What is meant by that? There is a clearly perceived shortage of investment in many elements of the energy chain, in oil refining, in oil extraction, and the producing countries constantly hear pleas from the consumer countries: invest money in developing additional capacity, in increasing the network of pipelines, and export potential. This is all very well, but who can guarantee that the multibillion outlays -- and we are talking about tens and hundreds of billions of dollars -- will pay back? Who can guarantee that the world economy does not revert to the situation in the late 1980s when oil sold for 8-10 dollars per barrel and when producing countries were sustaining losses?
So, if there is a guarantee of supply it becomes clearer why producers should invest huge amounts in the development of various sources of energy supply. Discussion still rages over these two concepts: security of demand and security of supply. Let me be frank with you: we have yet to convince our partners, but with each new round one has the impression that the concept is becoming a little more acceptable, the concept of security of demand is no longer seen as something anti-market. We are not talking about any special guarantees from the producing countries, we are talking about the need to have a situation when the producing countries know in what they are investing a lot of money and feel confident that these investments will recoup in the long term. Naturally, all this implies the use of market mechanisms and not some kind of guarantees of the governments of the consumer countries. This is a point to be remembered.
The document proposed to the leaders of the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg will, by tradition, consist of two parts: the political declaration of the leaders summarizing all the principles I have mentioned, and a concrete plan of actions with corresponding sections outlining concrete steps, aimed at dealing with emerging problems on a long-term basis.
I would like to note that there is a sizeable section on nuclear energy in this plan of action. This is another issue on which we have continued discussions in the G8 framework with our partners. If you have closely monitored developments, you may know that some G8 partners -- perhaps it is worth mentioning Germany first and foremost in this respect -- have objected against adding nuclear energy-related issues in the document on energy security.
We understand the German side's objections. It is an open secret that public opinion in Germany is still disposed against nuclear power plants, and they have had referendums on the issue.
One of the points in the agreement on the creation of a coalition government also requires that the nuclear energy issue will not be revisited in the coming four years. This is the case, but in our opinion, it is impossible to speak of a comprehensive document, if it fails to mention nuclear energy at all. Therefore, while understanding all problems our partners have, with full respect for them, we have continued this dialogue and have tried to explain that nuclear energy should be on that document.
If we manage to come to terms, the issue will be presented as a need to develop safe nuclear energy, naturally intended for peaceful purposes with a full set of mechanisms ensuring non-proliferation of nuclear technologies and the like, via those initiatives that our President voiced on January 25 this year. It is the initiative that a network of international nuclear centers should be established to provide nuclear cycle services. There are the US President's initiatives similar in many respects. That is, we would like to promote the nuclear energy issue via those initiatives.
The document has reached an advanced stage. We have agreed with partners on the basic set of ideas, the structure of the document, the key notions, but disputes -- naturally, they are very friendly disputes among partners -- continue, and the next round of discussions of this document, this issue will be held at the start of next week in St. Petersburg, when the final meetings of sous- sherpas and sherpas will take place.
We hope that by that time it will be possible agree this document, even if not totally, for it to be presented for discussion by the country leaders.
This is what I wanted to tell you in my introductory remarks and I will be pleased to take your questions.
Moderator: Dear colleagues, I think the introduction was very detailed and interesting. Perhaps you have some questions. First of all, I would like to thank Mr. al-Syed, president of the Association of Foreign Correspondents, in cooperation with which we are holding this series of meetings with the Foreign Ministry's leaders and give him the right to ask the first question.
Q: I have two questions to ask you. One of them was asked yesterday, but I would like to repeat it: What are the economic benefits for Russia from cooperation with G8 member countries? Second, you have spoken well about security of demand and supply. Don't you think that it would be reasonable in this respect to raise the issue of secure exchange rates of the main currencies so big states would not be able to purposefully raise or reduce exchange rates?
Kondakov: Economic benefits from cooperation with the G8 -- well, perhaps, there are no immediate direct benefits. The G8 has not dealt with launching or coping with particular economic issues. The G8 is a dialogue-based mechanism, a mechanism for coordinating macroeconomic policies and, of late, foreign policies of the world's leading countries.
The fact that Russia has participated in this mechanism as an equitable partners, has participated in debates and elaboration of decisions, recommendations to the key international organizations on what steps should be made deal with some or other problems -- this is the main benefit, but it can hardly be converted into dollars or rubles or any other currencies. Still, the effect is doubtless, both economic and political effect for Russia. This is what makes it important for us. But in terms of dollars or rubles, again, I cannot give particular figures. It is very unlikely that someone can provide such figures.
As for secure exchange rates, there is no such notion in any document. But it has long been discussed in the G8 mechanism that exchange rates should not be artificially understated or overstated, that there should be no games played with those exchange rates. If you look attentively at the Finance Minister's recent statements on the issue -- they met here on June 9 and 10, in St. Petersburg, and free statements were adopted, with the issue of exchange rates touched upon in one of them.
The word "security" has not been applied to currencies so far, yet this has been energetically discussed. We cannot rule out that this will be reflected in the final statement by the president of the summit. That is, along with joint statements which, as a rule, are made by the G8, there is such a thing as a final statement by the president of the summit. This issue could be touched upon there, yet not in terms of security of exchange rates.
Q: Bloomberg. You have said that debates have been accurate and skillful. From what you know about those discussions, in your opinion, will the document be signed or not?
Kondakov: I am certain that the document will be signed. We do not have any direct or indirect indications that the fate of the document is questionable. The document will be signed. But it is not so clear as to what the content of that document will be: will it be a well-elaborated document outlining the whole of ideas we would like to be covered by that document; will it be a more general document, given that some issues are quite sensitive for some partners? As for the document as such, it will certainly be adopted during the summit. So far, progress has been quite good. God help us to come to terms on nuclear energy issues. If this is done, it will be a very substantial and comprehensive document.
Q: The so-called anti-shock fund is expected to increase economic stability of countries with limited energy resources. Could you speak more about that?
Kondakov: The fund is still in the making, and the mechanisms of its operation are being discussed. No final decisions have been adopted yet. I can say that Russia participates in the fund, makes a significant contribution to the fund and will be one of its major partners. The fund is being created under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund, and once it starts operating we will be happy to tell you more. But you are absolutely right, the summit documents mention the fund, and we hope that the leaders will reiterate the importance of creating the fund because this is one of the effective mechanisms to help energy deficient developing countries.
Q: You said that environmental security would also be discussed. This suggests that there is some other plan besides the Kyoto protocol. We can see that needs are growing, especially in the developing countries such as China and India and others. Everything suggests that fuel production will develop rapidly, mainly hydrocarbons. Are there any plans to address the problem of global warming in particular?
Kondakov: No sensational initiatives are being prepared in this field. It's not a secret that different countries have different approaches to global warning and not all G8 countries have ratified, all of them have signed but not all of them have ratified the Kyoto protocol. This is why it's not so easy to balance out the interests of different countries in the environmental field. At this point the document reaffirms the importance of the decision made at Gleneagles and urges the countries participating in the Kyoto protocol to continue discussions beyond 2012 when the first stag of the Kyoto protocol will end.
But the document does not contain any concrete obligations as to how countries should act after 2012. And it is very unlikely there will be such obligations. This is a very complex issue, and I don't think we can go any further in the remaining time than just stating the importance of the Kyoto protocol and continuing the discussion on its future.
Q: I wonder if the security of demand has been raised within the G8 for the first time. And could you speak more about the mechanisms that you think can ensure such security?
Kondakov: The G8 will address the question of demand security for the first time. It has never been raised before. And when it was first suggested by Russia, everybody said this could not be discussed because it was unacceptable, it was a non-market category. But you are absolutely right there are no mechanisms to ensure the security of demand.
Our partners take this issue more calmly now, but no one, I have already said this but want to repeat, is going to create any special demand security mechanisms. It is important for us that this issue got political support and that all G8 leaders recognized that in addition to the security of supply there is also the security of demand. In other words, the document to be adopted at the summit should take into account the interests of both producing countries and consuming countries.
Today we are talking not so much about concrete mechanisms as about political support for this very important principle. This is the first step. If it proves successful, specialists can then discuss concrete mechanisms. Actually some of the mechanisms can already be named, and if you don't mind I can speak more about this, and they are mentioned in the draft document. I mean different measures and approaches to the transparency and predictability of global energy markets. If the market is transparent and predictable, it is easier for producing countries and consuming countries to operate in this market and adopt long-term decisions. The document lists different measures that should increase the transparency and predictability of the markets. So I think we can say that such mechanisms exist and are discussed, and some of them will be mentioned in the document.
Q: Will OPEC participate in the summit? If not, why? Doesn't your country cooperate with this organization?
Kondakov: OPEC's participation in the summit is not planned. The decision on who is to be invited to the summit is usually adopted collectively. You probably know that OPEC is treated differently by different G8 countries. If it were only us, we would be happy to have OPEC at the summit.
Q: It's not OPEC. It's Arab countries.
Kondakov: OAPEC? I see. Then certainly no, because it's too small -- I am joking of course. No, it will not participate, and it has not been invited. Russia attaches great significance to cooperate with both OPEC and OAPEC. We have signed a declaration of regular dialogue with OPEC and Russia participates very actively in this dialogue with OPEC. We attend OPEC -- not OAPEC -- ministerial conferences as observers where we talk about our vision of the market and plans for the development of our oil industry. So we are involved at this level. But the G8 is not only Russia, and there are no such plans there.
Moderator: Could you explain the difference between OPEC and OAPEC?
Kondakov: OPEC is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which in addition to Arab countries also includes Asian and Latin American countries. OAPEC is the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, which includes only Arab countries. How many of them are there? I think my colleague knows this better than I. But it's also a very important and well known organization.
Q: You mentioned the words "environmentally responsible". This means -- is an agreement between the G8 countries -- nuclear energy such a source of environmental responsibility?
Kondakov: We all remember the Chernobyl tragedy and other incidents at nuclear power plants that occurred not only in the Soviet Union and that continue to occur. If security issues are addressed properly, nuclear energy is perhaps the most ecologically friendly source of energy among all other sources of energy and one of the economically most efficient sources of energy.
If we succeed in convincing our partners that this issue should be followed up, the notions of environmental responsibility and economic efficiency will be fully applicable to nuclear energy as well. We believe that this generation and future technologies in the field of nuclear energy will ensure the environmental safety of this key source of energy.
Q: Will the participants pay attention to alternative sources of energy? And I would also like to know about the Itera project. I think it is moving too slowly, and are there plans to invest more in the project?
Kondakov: Alternative sources of energy will get considerable attention in the document. A whole section is devoted to alternative sources of energy. And the document, as it stands today, also refers to Itera. We want to propose to the leaders to stress the importance of this project and the need to step up its implementation. Both these subjects then are addressed in the document and we hope they will remain in the final version.
Moderator: Andrei Lvovich, could you say a couple of words about the Itera project?
Kondakov: I am not a great specialist on that project.
Moderator: But could you at least indicate what it is all about for the benefit of our colleagues.
Kondakov: It is a nuclear project.
Q: Will the G8 leaders discuss accusations leveled at Russia two months ago of using energy as a tool to bring pressure on other countries?
Kondakov: First, the accusation was not made two months ago, it is being made constantly. We believe it is ungrounded. It is up to the leaders themselves to decide what they will discuss. We cannot tell them to discuss or not to discuss an issue. And the summit document on energy security emphasizes the things that unite and not divide the G8 countries.
So, if any leader deems it necessary to raise this topic, he is entitled to do it, but then our president has the right to provide an extended and clear answer to show why this accusation does not correspond to reality.
Q: We hope the answer will be forthcoming.
Kondakov: And if you read the statements of our president and other officials attentively, the answer, and a very extended one, is already there. So, it will just be a repetition of what he has been saying all along.
Kondakov: Yes. Moreover, this theme is mooted mainly by journalists and with few exceptions it is not raised at the responsible political level. If you look at the documents of recent times, and I would like to draw your attention to the document passed by the last Russia-EU summit because such charges have been heard from the EU, too. It is the joint report of our Minister of Energy and Industry, Khristenko, and EU Energy Commissioner to the leaders of the Russia-EU summit. It reads as follows: "The parties confirm that Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier of gas and other energy sources to the EU countries." This political declaration of the EU has the signatures of two ministers. So, there are media speculations on this subject and there is a responsible statement of the leaders who know the situation better.
Q: I have two questions. First question. The Iranian president proposed a meeting of SCO energy ministers in Teheran. He was speaking in Shanghai yesterday. Is it an acceptable idea for Russia on the eve of the G8 and in general?
Kondakov: Is it supposed to take place before the G8? I simply have no --
Q: It was proposed yesterday.
Kondakov: No, I mean is it to be held on the eve of the G8 summit or --
Q: No, the time was not specified, but the proposal has been made in the run-up to the G8 summit and Russia probably has to react to it somehow.
Kondakov: Yes, probably.
Q: And the second question. Mr. Putin yesterday put forward the idea of creating an SCO energy club. What sort of energy club? What will it do and is it going to be an analogue of OPEC or something else?
Kondakov: Let us start with the second question. By definition, an SCO energy club cannot be an analogue to OPEC because the SCO includes not only energy producers, but also energy importers. OPEC is an organization of petroleum exporting countries. So, by definition it cannot be the same thing.
The club is conceived as a dialogue mechanism to discuss the situation not in world markets, but in the region market, the Asian market which includes the SCO countries, to discuss and work out collective decisions. This is similar to how the G8 operates: leaders get together, diagnose the situation, identify problems and coordinate actions to respond to these problems. So, it will be an analogue or a dialogue mechanism within the region.
Iran's idea is new, but given our attitude to the SCO, it is very positive. We believe it is a very important organization and we favor broader cooperation in various areas within that organization, something that can be discussed. But this, so far, is my personal opinion. So, if you quote me, make sure to mention it is my personal opinion. But it is an idea that cannot be rejected out of hand.
Q: Do you think the G8 countries will react to it? The reaction will probably not be very positive.
Kondakov: It is hard for me to say. Let us wait and see. I don't think the theme will be discussed at the summit, I mean the meeting of SCO ministers. It does not behoove leaders of states to discuss ministerial meetings. So, I don't think it will be discussed.
Q: But it is about a meeting in Teheran, a country which at present --
Kondakov: Yes, I understand all this. So, let us wait and see. Again, this is my private view, it is a new idea and it should be examined from every side. There is nothing terrible about it. On the contrary, I think we should continue dialogue with Iran, including multilateral dialogue with Iran. Then it will be easier to find a way out and respond to the concerns of the international community over Iran's nuclear program. So, it is better to talk than to act in other ways.
Q: I have a political question. Your colleague Yuri Isakov said yesterday that "the customer isn't always right" in the energy sphere. My question is: Is it difficult for Russia to play the role of an energy superpower in the world?
Kondakov: Is it or is it not difficult? Actually, in energy, Russia has always played this role. So, I cannot say that Russia is finding it very hard to settle down in this role. Russia has always been a major energy power and it remains such. It's just that the situation in the world markets has changed in such a way that this role has assumed new dimensions and new possibilities. Russia understands its responsibility to the world markets and tries to act as a reliable and predictable player in this market. So there are no any special difficulties. We have always been a major, or to use your terminology, super energy power. We don't use such terminology. So this is a natural role for Russia.
Q: A follow-up question on Iran. How will Iran's nuclear program be discussed? I mean will the G8 confirm Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy uses?
Kondakov: The issue has not been raised in such a way. The Iranian issue will most certainly be discussed at the summit. As for how, this will become clear after a meeting of the G8 foreign ministers, to be held at the end of June. The foreign ministers will meet, among other things, in order to prepare the political agenda of the summit in St. Petersburg and make relevant recommendations for the leaders. This topic is there and it will be much clearer how this issue will be discussed after the meeting, and I understand that the registration of correspondents is still in progress. But it seems obvious that it will be raised at the summit.
Moderator: I understand we have reached the end of the list of questions. Or does anyone want to clarify or add something? No? Then I would like to thank, on your behalf, Andrei Lvovich Kondakov, the director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Economic Cooperation and Russia's foreign policy sous-sherpa in G8, for this very interesting meeting that we hope will be interesting, useful and informative for all of you. Follow our announcements. We will continue a series of meetings with Foreign Ministry senior officials ahead of the G8 summit. Thank you.
4. PRESS CONFERENCE WITH AMBASSADOR AT LARGE YURI ISAKOV ON THE UPCOMING G8 SUMMIT
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
(for personal use only)
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, we are now starting. Today, the Foreign Ministry Press Center is launching a series of meetings for Russian and foreign journalists with leading officials of the Foreign Ministry devoted to issues in preparation for the G8 summit. The first to open these series is Ambassador at Large Yuri Nikolayevich Isakov who is coordinating all the issues of the preparation for that event. I give him the floor. He will make brief introductory remarks and then take your questions.
Isakov: Thank you. I hope it will be an informal exchange of opinions. I will tell you a few words about our participation in the G8. As professionals you certainly know that the group is into its 31st year, it was founded in 1975 when the first G8 meeting took place in Rambouillet. And Russia, closely followed the processes within the group, but it was only after perestroika and all the changes that you know about that the issue of strengthening and developing our cooperation with that group took on practical significance. Such a meeting was first held in 1991. It was in July, when, after the London G8 summit Gorbachev met with the leaders of the G7 and such a direct conversation took place for the first time.
After that, for a couple of years, in 1992-1993, Russia had the status of a guest in this club. Our leaders -- the President and the Prime Minister -- met with the participants after the summits. From 1994 to 1996 Russia, being more and more involved in the problems of the G8 and the discussion of the issues on its agenda, Russia came to directly participate in discussing a range of issues, mainly political. And so, we can say that there was a period when the G8 existed on the political level. And finally, in 1997 the Denver summit completed the process of our entry into that elite club of leading states. And Russia became a full-fledged participant in its work. There were certain exceptions and we could discuss it later if you are interested.
Russia acquired a new quality as a G8 member in 2002 when it was offered in Kananaskis, for the first time in the history of that group, to assume chairmanship in 2006. So, as of January 1 this year Russia holds the presidency of the G8 and it will last until December 31 whereupon we will pass the relay to our German partners. And the climax of this year-long presidency will be the G8 summit in St. Petersburg which will be chaired by the Russian President, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin which, as you will know, will discuss three Russian initiatives and priorities, namely, international energy security, the fight against infectious diseases and the development of education. This is not to say that the agenda of the G8 will be limited to these issues. The agenda is much broader. It includes traditional issues that were addressed by that club before and new subjects. But, I repeat, this is a theme that is impossible to cover fully and I hope that we will touch upon some aspects in our conversation today.
After this brief introduction I would suggest that we go into questions and answers. To save time, if you feel more comfortable asking your questions in English, please do it, and when necessary we will switch to Russian. I suggest that we show a maximum of flexibility in order to accommodate everyone.
And one last thing. As my colleague has said, this is our first meeting in the series of meetings with officials of the Foreign Ministry, and we will focus on individual issues with emphasis on the priorities I have mentioned -- energy, public health and education -- key political issues such as disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, the situation in the Middle East and so on. And a number of my colleagues are preparing to meet you so that each in his own field conduct this conversation more deeply and more professionally. Honestly, I would not like to trespass on their territories. But let me say from the start that there are no taboo topics, there are no questions that I would decline to answer. But please keep in mind that it would be more fruitful for you if you keep some sectoral or narrow questions until you have meetings with my colleagues. That is all. I now welcome your questions.
Moderator: If you find this format acceptable, let me just make an announcement that tomorrow at 11 a.m. there will be a meeting here with the director of the department of economic cooperation of the Foreign Ministry on global energy security in the framework of the G8 summit. So, your questions please.
Q: German radio. In the wake of the Polish-Ukrainian-Russian exchanges on energy issues early in the year, what will you do to allay the fears of your partners in the energy field?
Isakov: Well, what are our concerns? Our main concern and that of our G8 partners is finding an optimal formula for ensuring international energy security, which would include guaranteed supplies to consumers, with a guaranteed wide range of energy resources, at guaranteed acceptable prices, within agreed timeframes, with minimal hazardous impact on the environment.
But I would like to note immediately that concerns, as I could feel in your question, do not apply to consumers of energy. We have tried to propose a more balanced wording, than this one-sided approach. Those concerns also apply in full measure to those producing energy resources. They can quite think of ways to ensure guaranteed demand, guaranteed supplies of resources.
If one just takes bare figures related to the construction of any oil or gas pipeline, this costs several billion dollars and, in some cases, tens of billions of dollars. Who will guarantee that huge capital investment made by a country producing energy?
We oppose this energy egoism of one side, when consumers are always right. We find that it is necessary to raise this problem, and this problem will certainly be discussed.
There is a saying in the West: The customer is always right. But the energy sphere, the international energy sphere is more sophisticated, more complex than a supermarket or department store. Therefore the customer is not always right. In this sense, it is necessary to look for a balance of interests which would leave not just customer, but also supplier satisfied. So, this will be the main objective, perhaps, in a nutshell, so to say.
Q: -- (inaudible) --
Isakov (in English): First of all, of course, this event is immensely important for Russia. It goes without saying, as for any other G8 partner. Russia is definitely not an exception in this. Take the previous summit at Gleneagles. All of us do remember how Prime Minister Blair was all attention and, I would say, was very, very energetic in elaborating and conducting the agenda of Gleneagles. The same in our case.
What are the criteria of success of our summit? It's hard to make a simplistic formula for that. But of course, the decisions which will live much longer than simply the period of the summit, the decisions which adequately reflect the demands and expectations of all actors involved in this particular case, the actors of the energy market. If these decisions are conducive to the promotion of the notion of international energy security and, the most important, if in the final run, the customer -- in this case, a human being -- would gain from the implementation of these decisions. Those will be the main criteria of the success of the St. Petersburg meeting.
Q: German radio. Could you speak about the agenda? Will there be additional events? Will there be anything important on July 15? For the press, I mean.
Isakov: You know, I would rather not go into detail of the agenda for the press, because the President's press service deals with that, Mr. Gromov and his deputy Mr. Dmitry Peskov. They know all the particulars and I think you can get this information on the President's website, from the President's press service.
Q: -- (inaudible) --
Isakov: Do you mean the schedule in St. Petersburg? Then I certainly cannot tell you. As far as I know from my work on the organizing committee, much attention has been paid to interaction with the mass media, including from the point of view of lobbying efforts, organization of press conferences, briefings with the participation of key figures in Russian politics. Believe me, the press, the mass media will not be left idle in St. Petersburg. I can guarantee that 100 percent .
Q: -- (inaudible) -- during the G8 summit, how can be security guaranteed for all foreigners? What particular measures will be taken?
Isakov: As for security during the summit, naturally, we are not going to invent anything in that sphere. On the contrary, we intend to work strictly in line with existing practices, proceeding from the experience of other G8 meetings. Naturally, most adequate and necessary measures will be taken to make sure that this, if I may say so, political holiday, forum will not be tarnished by incidents of any kinds. I cross my fingers, because you certainly understand that we are living in a complex world and if one recalls last year, there were tragic events in London, its underground. As far as I know, this happened despite the fact that our British colleagues had done everything possible to ensure security.
I certainly do not intend to overly dramatize the situation. On the contrary, I am fully confident, I know from my work on the organizing committee how much attention, in a systemic manner, I would say, has been paid to those issues. It is an open secret, perhaps, that a special staff has been working, which includes all competent, law enforcement agencies, first and foremost. In a systemic manner, on a particular location, they have dealt with all issues, big and small ones, related to ensuring security. I hope I have answered your question.
Q: May I ask you how important do you consider the G8 meeting as a direct channel or a back channel concerning the Russian membership of the WTO?
Isakov (in English): It's a hard question because as all of you are aware, Russia is not yet a member of the WTO, though the process is very well developed and I would say that we are approaching a certain psychological line where, on the eve of entering that entity, if my memory and information is correct, the only country with uncompleted, so to say, process of negotiations, bilateral negotiations is the United States, but the recent statements of Mr. Snow, I presume that we have a fair chance that before the summit these obstacles or these remaining issues will be resolved to mutual satisfaction and the green light will be on for Russian admittance to the WTO. In a sense we are living in a very dramatic period in the process of Doha Round. I am not going into details regarding this. By the way, tomorrow, when you will face Mr. Kondakov, you might raise these questions with him in a more detailed way. But the drama of the situation is that unfortunately for the Doha Round a number of deadlines have been passed already without any major results. And as far as I know now in Geneva in the WTO headquarters very energetic efforts are being taken by interested parties in search of a compromise which would enable to come to principle decisions some time in summer or autumn and to complete the Round by the end of this year. How successful these attempts will be, God knows, I don't. I prefer not to make guesses about that, frankly speaking. But I wouldn't be astonished if the issue of the Doha Round in some way would be touched upon in the deliberations of the G8 in St. Petersburg. But it is not a separate issue on the agenda at the moment. But due to the circumstances I have mentioned it would be small wonder if it appeared.
Q: So, it will be there on the agenda?
Isakov: I don't know. But I guess the developments themselves might bring it about to the table.
Q: Chinese newspaper. As part of the G8 summit, dialogue will also take place between the G8 countries and developing countries. What issues will be discussed there? And are there any proposals on the Russian side?
Isakov: Yes, it is almost established practice in such dialogues to have outreach on the fringes of the G8 involving the leaders of international organizations and leaders of some third world states. During the recent summits, at least last year and three years ago these countries included China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. These countries have been invited to the St. Petersburg summit this year.
As for the agenda of their discussions, it is up to the countries themselves and Russia does not have any proposals on that score. Russia is the president of the G8 and its presidency is guided by its own considerations, initiatives and so on.
As for the countries mentioned, they have the right to work out their own agenda. I have a feeling that the mood is generally constructive. The meaning is to send a signal from the countries I have mentioned regarding their own concerns and perhaps their own views on certain problems, not just any problems, but the problems that will be discussed in St. Petersburg. This is an absolutely natural and logical process because the G8 is not an exclusive club with closed doors, it is an authoritative assembly of the leading countries of the world which is open to the whole world. Everything that is discussed and done there, if one takes an unbiased look, are issues with global implications. So, such an exchange of opinions and exchange of signals as is going to take place in St. Petersburg, I mean the G8 vis-a-vis the developing countries will, I think, benefit the G8 and of course the countries I have mentioned and the whole world. At least we will try to do everything.
Q: BBC Russian service, Konstantin Egert. Two questions if I may. The first is about a meeting of political directors. Are there any details and comments you can give us? We have rod a lot in the Russian media and international agencies in recent weeks that the United States wants to initiate the discussion of certain issues that Moscow finds uncomfortable. For example, the situation in the post-Soviet space. In response Russia wants to propose discussing double standards on separatism and so on. This is the first question. Is this a real problem today. And secondly, to what extent, in the opinion of Russian side, can the Iranian problem be on the agenda of the G8 discussions in informal formats?
Isakov: This is one of the questions I would rather not pass judgment on for two reasons. First, you have rightly said that these issues are discussed in the framework of the meetings of political directors. It is at this very moment that such a meeting is taking place in the Foreign Ministry building under the chairmanship of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanovich Kislyak. A very wide range of issues is being discussed. I do not rule out that the issues you have mentioned will be touched upon. But I think that it would be not entirely correct on my part to make comments, especially at this point in time. And secondly, as I have said, if you save some questions for meetings with the people who are responsible for these concrete areas, it would be best. And these areas include the specific areas supervised by the political directors of our countries. The processes they deal with are by no means simple, just like everything in our world.
Moderator: Let me just repeat because Mr. Egert was a bit late and didn't hear the beginning of our meeting, we will have detailed discussions of the main areas which are likely to form the agenda of the summit. Today we are giving an overview.
Isakov: But without taboo topics, as I said.
Q: Speaking about infectious diseases, what can you say about AIDS and combating AIDS?
Isakov: I think it is a knee-jerk reaction when speaking about dangerous infectious diseases to think about HIV-AIDS. So, AIDS prevention and combating AIDS will loom large. But I think it would be correct to say that, unlike the previous summits when public health problems cropped up here and there, including AIDS, the fight against infectious diseases is for the first time going to be addressed in a comprehensive way, not just a concrete disease but a whole bunch of diseases ranging from bird flu to AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis. And I think this is an absolutely adequate approach, our partners agree with it, because it makes it possible to identify common technologies in fighting these diseases which are particularly effective in certain sectors. That is how I can answer your question.
Q: (off mike) ... is the summit going to issue statements on the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on?
Isakov: Regarding the first question. The principle is clear and transparent. As for international organizations, the list of those invited this year clearly reflects the priorities of the Russian chairmanship of G8: they are the IAEA, International Energy Agency, the UN Secretary General, the World Health Organization and UNESCO. Correct me if I omitted anything. The list already exists.
As for the countries invited, in many ways, perhaps crucially, the selection of the countries was determined by our priorities. It is hardly possible to seriously discuss global energy security without getting some feedback and understanding of the problem on the part of such giant energy consumers as for example China and India and also such important energy players both in terms of production, such as Mexico, and consumption, such as Brazil. And especially if one considers that Brazil has pioneered some interesting new technologies of ethanol and so on and the production of fuel from biomass.
And finally, I can suggest that there was also another consideration. Although the G8 does not have an institutional mechanism, it is a club without secretariats, without even recorded memory, but in the 30 years of its work it has built up a tradition and developed its own approaches and each country which holds the presidency should take them into account.
If you take the summits of recent years, beginning from Evian in 2003 and then to some extent Sea Island in 2004 and to greater extent last year's Gleneagles -- over the past three years you will see that this five has invariably been among the guests and participants in the outreach discussions. So, this consideration did play a part.
And about statements. Practice shows that for all the huge amount of work the G8 is a fairly flexible mechanism that is quick to react to new events, not always pleasant events, that happen around the G8 summits. You are professionals and if we take the summits of the past five years and look at the final documents of these summits you will see that practically each of these summits has a certain set of documents: declarations, statements, reactions of the G8 to topical issues. So, everything that is topical will be reflected.
Q: The newspaper Trud, Bulgaria. Will the enlargement of the European Union and NATO to the East, meaning Eastern Europe be discussed? And a question on a military topic. American military bases are to open in Bulgaria and Romania soon. Do you think it will be discussed at the summit between Russian and American leaders?
Isakov: As regards bilateral relations and Russian-American meetings, I wouldn't stick my neck out and make any comments, this is not quite my line. I think the leaders of these two great countries have the right to discuss any issues they consider important, so I wouldn't like to engage in guesswork.
Regarding the other questions you have mentioned, you see, when 8 leaders of the leading countries of the world get together one can hardly say with 100 percent certainty that they are going to discuss this and that because nobody can forbid them to discuss something else. I can only make suppositions. My expectation is that considering the very crowded agenda of the summit I honestly doubt that it will surface as a priority topic of discussion.
Q: Speaking about what is happening in St. Petersburg it is known that the opponents of globalization are planning various protests. Do you think that something will really happen?
Isakov: I can say with 100 percent certainty that nongovernmental not-for-profit organizations will stage events. I can say with 100 percent certainty that anti-globalists are planning some protests. I find it hard to say what forms they will take. The Russian participants in the preparation are trying not just to maintain a dialogue with NGOs. I would say that Russia is the initiator of totally new forms of work with NGOs and the civic society. If you follow these developments you will know that Russia has initiated the so-called Civil G8. It includes major conference, forums of NGOs, both political and any other, both Russian and international.
Again, these are the most authoritative organizations that are household names. I myself to some extent took part in some of these events and I can attest that there was an absolutely informal, sometimes very frank, but also very committed dialogue, a true dialogue between NGOs and governments, not only of Russia, but of other G8 partners. Repeated meetings were organized with the sherpas from our countries and representatives of NGOs. I am sure that this process will continue in St. Petersburg. I stress it will be a constructive and useful process for all sides, drawing in NGOs and the civic society in the activities of G8.
As for anti-globalists, I would like to strike a note of caution, not to say concern, remembering the anti-globalist protests in Geneva two years ago when they went on the rampage. I have a feeling and a confidence that the people who are in charge of security at the summit are taking this factor into account. I am sure that there are some destructive forces that would like to put "a fly in the ointment", but the people whose profession it is to keep it all under control are taking all the necessary measures to rule out such ugly protest manifestations which do not meet the description of democratic dialogue.
Q: Within international organizations Russia writes off some debts of the developing countries almost every year. But Russia has still not been admitted to the WTO. My question is: in the years of cooperation with the G8 has Russia derived any economic benefits from it?
Isakov: I would be careful using such categories as "economic benefit" for one simple reason. Owing to objective economic reasons some 5-6 years ago Russia was simply unable to contribute actively to donor efforts of the world community and of the G8. But as we stood up on our feet and our economic position improved, if you look at the dynamics of Russia's donorship, you will see that this contribution has been growing year in and year out.
The most convincing and tangible contribution Russia has made to these efforts has to do with the writing off of developing countries' debts, above all the countries that come under the so- called Hamburg initiative. Russia has written off a total of 11.3 billion dollars of these debts. This year it decided to write off an additional 700 million dollars in debts.
If you take it as a proportion of GDP, you will see something that I think merits attention, that the comparative amounts of debts written off by Russia are larger than of any other G8 country. I think this is a very convincing example showing that Russia, without much ado and without much publicity is taking serious economic steps that benefit developing countries. I think this is a very worthy line of behavior and it is making a very tangible contribution.
And the last nuance regarding economic benefit. As I said, from the beginning it would not be quite appropriate to speak in terms of economic benefit when discussing the writing off of the debts of the poorest countries to Russia. One can talk about Russia's responsibility as a leading world power for redressing the imbalance in the world when part of the world community is stalled in its development. How to redress the balance in order to speed up development and make it sustained. I can say that Russia is not thinking in terms of economic benefits. Rather, it is a mission and we are talking about responsibility for the development of these countries, a sincere desire to help. I see no selfish economic implications there.
Q: I think my colleagues have raised the question on attacks on foreigners in the last two months. How concerned are you about the effect this is going to have on the city's image and are the law enforcement agencies planning any extra measures to tackle this particular problem in the run up to such a major international event when, after all, the eyes of much of the world will be on St. Petersburg?
Isakov: Actually, I have already answered that question. I may add only that those unfortunate outbreaks of ugly actions, xenophobic and so on and so forth are taken very seriously by the government and law enforcers. And our parliament members as well are getting ready with their legislation which will be much more drastic and streamlined in a sense in order to uproot these ugly phenomena. But of course within the framework of general measures ensuring security and orderly conduct of business during the St. Petersburg summit, measures of that kind are being taken care of, of course. There is no doubt about that.
Q: I don't know perhaps this question should be addressed to the Patriarch. Early in July, on July 4-5, there will be a meeting of the world religions in Moscow. And I would like to know how will the Russian state be represented at that summit? And what significance does the Russian state attach to that event?
Isakov: As regards the attitude of the state power bodies, one has to see two planes. Of course we are secular state and what is being done by religious leaders is their business. That such an event and forum will certainly meet the overall constructive thrust in the work of the G8, and contribute to the overall constructive atmosphere is not open to question. Especially since the religious leaders, as far as I know, will concentrate on the overarching topic of tolerance between cultures, civilizations and religions.
I think it is one of the most topical themes which, whether we like it or not, will claim more and more attention on the part of all those who care about life on Earth and the development of civilizations in the plural.
I think that the holding of such a forum in the run up to the G8 summit is absolutely logical and appropriate, I have no doubt about it.
As for representation at the summit, of course Patriarch Alexii will be there, I am sure there will be the leaders of all the main Russian confessions -- Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Protestant branches. I think it will be very representative forum with the whole spectrum of Russian religions because Russia has been noted for religious diversity from time immemorial. I am sure there will be representatives from the neighboring countries of the CIS and also the Baltic states. And there will be the broadest spectrum of representatives of all religious communities. But I think if you are interested in getting more details you should go to the Patriarchy.
Q: Do you know what the official representation of the Russian authorities will be? Is anyone going to greet them and so on?
Isakov: Honestly, I don't know and even if it does happen, it will be symbolic action which should on no account obscure the main principle of rendering unto God what is God's.
Q: I just want to know the protocol part.
Isakov: It is not part of any G8 events or programs of the Russian presidency.
Q: Could you say a few words about the program and details of the work at the level of foreign ministers that took place on the eve of the summit in Moscow?
Isakov: You know that such a meeting will take place on June 29. I think it will be closely connected with the processes that are dealt with by the political directors. I would not presume to know the concrete agenda for the simple reasons that these processes in the world are so dynamic that I would simply not risk to say what it will become in concrete terms. But of course, the topical political problems that are of concern to Russia and other G8 partners will be on the agenda.
I could imagine that the situation connected with the Middle East will be discussed. As you know, the situation there is contradictory. But I would not limit it all to the Middle East. I just don't want to enumerate what you newspaper people know at least as well as I do. So, I think that it will be a highly topical agenda.
Q: Will it last one day?
Isakov: Yes, one day, a very intensive day.
Moderator: It will be a meeting followed by a press conference?
Isakov: Yes. And we have opened registration for participants in these events on our Foreign Ministry website.
Q: Is tomorrow the last day?
Moderator: Tomorrow is the last day. Please do not forget to enter yourselves and those members of your staffs that you will send to work at the meeting of G8 foreign ministers.
Q: Will it be at the President Hotel?
Moderator: Yes, at the President Hotel. I mean, the meeting will be in the Foreign Ministry residence and the press conference will be at the President Hotel. As far as I understand there is not enough room in the Foreign Ministry residence (osobnyak).
Isakov: I am afraid that is true. The meetings of G8 foreign ministers follow very rigid rules, and they call for massive technical support. Not all the elements of that technical support can accommodate the whole body of journalists.
Q: So, they wouldn't be able to film a handshake or whatever?
Isakov: In fact, handshakes will be filmed and all the initial procedures will be open to the press. Press access will be limited. But the press conference will be full scale because it also involves translation services. And the osobnyak is an old Foreign Ministry building on Spiridonovka Street.
Moderator: Are there any more questions? Or have we exhausted the first shot in these meetings? If there are no more questions, I would like on your behalf to thank Ambassador Isakov for a very interesting and detailed press conference. Join us for our further events.
Isakov: I would like to add that I am not only a roving ambassador but also a special representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for the preparation and holding of the G8 summit. Make a note of it.
1. 2006 U.S.-EU Summit Progress Report on Political and Security Issues
White House Website
(for personal use only)
In our critical efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we continued to make individual and collective efforts on implementation of key multilateral arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation treaties, core regimes and initiatives including the G8 s Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. Through our action to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540, we worked to make it an effective tool to prevent proliferation of dangerous materials and WMD to both state and non-state actors. The United States and EU worked together to obtain the Security Council s unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1673, which extends for two years the mandate of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540. We took actions to put in place the legal and regulatory infrastructure to prevent the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, particularly to terrorists. We launched a dialogue on compliance and verification issues where we undertook to examine a number of concrete challenges to some specific disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and have agreed to continue this exchange focusing on individual countries of concern and specific Treaty regimes. We have begun discussions in the run-up to the 2006 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference. We also worked together to strengthen the NPT and IAEA, including through the Committee on Safeguards and Verification and by promoting adherence to safeguard agreements and the Additional Protocol and to promote the negotiation in the Conference of Disarmament of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for military purposes (FMCT). We reaffirmed the value of continuing consultations on arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament issues and will seek ways of strengthening coordination.
2. Opening Address at the Security Council Meeting Devoted to Measures to Implement the Annual Address to the Federal Assembly
(for personal use only)
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon dear colleagues!
Today our meeting is devoted to measures designed to implement the Annual Address to the Federal Assembly and we will discuss three areas in detail: technological modernisation in the economy, improving the demographic situation and Russia’s national security.
I shall say at once that all these tasks are closely connected. As such the level of military security directly depends on the economic growth rate and level of technological development. In turn, the demographic situation develops more fortuitously in a country which has a heightened sense of social responsibility and, especially, in a country where people care about the long-term and feel secure when making their life plans. For this reason when working in each of these areas we must see them as interdependent and solve problems by looking at all of their aspects.
Today, we must plan concrete, realistic measures designed to radically change the situation in all the areas we have already discussed and those we will discuss today. Simply analyzing the state of affairs is not enough.
I shall begin with measures designed to help us overcome the technological lag. This is a key issue in increasing our economy’s competitiveness and we must resolve this problem not only at the federal level but also with the active participation of the regions, various corporations and companies.
It is obvious that a crucial part of any country’s success on the world market consists in constant renewal and continuous innovation in all sectors of the economy and social life. It is only then that a country has the chance to take on a leading position and move ahead of others owing to new technologies and a competitive academic environment.
In this respect, one might ask what is our country’s position today? Its position is far from brilliant. It is difficult to state that Russia’s economy acts as a leader in technological development. The average age of our industrial equipment is more than 20 years old. According to experts’ predictions Russia’s share in the world trade of high-tech products is somewhere between 0,3 and 0,8 percent. This unpleasant figure is about 15 or 20 times less then, for example, China’s share. And little is being done to overcome this technological lag.
I shall remind you that, first and foremost, the Address laid out the task of using our areas of competitive advantage. These are the space industry, aviation, energy and communications. We are competitive in materials science, physics, nuclear energy, chemistry and metallurgy. It is also well-known that Russia is able to concentrate its efforts with a view to resolving the most difficult technological problems.
I ask that today we present specific proposals to support the sectors in which Russia traditionally holds a strong position, and first of all in the high-tech field. Only by ensuring this market’s development will we be able to considerably and quickly change the economy’s structure and growth rate. To achieve this goal we must develop an efficient model that allows for cooperation between the state and national business communities and, as I said before, ensure that they gain access to the world market.
I ask that we propose economic stimuli that can increase businessmen’s participation in technological modernisation and therefore to help create an environment that generates both knowledge and technology. Today only six percent of Russian enterprises participate in research and development while in the U. S., in EU countries, in Japan and in China the number is closer to 60 percent. It is obvious that this potential which, incidentally, was well-used during the Soviet Union is just being wasted today. However, by using this potential in the high-tech field we could increase the number of areas in which we produce high-tech products from 10 to 15, and reach an acceptable international level.
Along with this Russia must not diminish its role and significance in delivering energy resources to the international market. In this sector the most important task consists in increasing exports of goods based on processing natural resources. We must also increase the intensity of processing to take into account high added costs. In other words, we must increase the competitiveness of our products, produced in modern refining and processing facilities.
I believe that to resolve all these urgent problems the government must develop and adopt a comprehensive programme for the technological development and modernisation of the economy.
Dear colleagues, the most important issue that was presented in detail in the Address involves measures to improve the demographic situation. Here our task consists in lowering the death rate and increasing the birth rate as well as increasing the effectiveness of our migration policy. This will allow us to stabilize Russia’s population in the coming years.
Russia’s population was drastically reduced for the first time in 1993 and this process has remained steady until now. Today we are in a crisis situation. Over the last 13 years the number of Russian citizens that died exceeded the number that were born by 11,2 million people. If we do not do anything then by the end of the 21 st century Russia’s population will have dropped by half. It is obvious that at present we are benefiting to a certain degree from active migration, something that has allowed us to maintain a constant overall population. We must develop this tendency in a harmonious way and determine what kind of immigration is beneficial for Russia and its citizens. And influencing migration is easier than influencing the birth or death rates.
Already in 2007 we will start introducing measures designed to stimulate the birth rate, something I discussed in detail in the Address. Let me remind you that I proposed concrete measures to support families who have decided to have a second child. We are proposing to drastically increase financial aid given for each child, provide compensation for the expenses families pay for pre-school childcare, and provide a so-called maternity capital. These and other proposals contained in the Address must have a clear legal basis and effective mechanisms by which they can be implemented.
I believe that today we will determine the crucial directions of our long-term demographic policy. Our policy must take into account all aspects of the situation, including lowering the high death rate. We must analyze its causes extremely carefully. Today the Russian death rate is the highest in Europe. More than 700 thousand people of working age die each year in Russia. Along with this I would emphasize that we have few in-depth studies of demographic problems in Russia. We must undertake this work in a systematic and purposeful way. We need this kind of information and analysis.
I would also suggest that we transform the Council for the Implementation of Priority National Projects into the Council for National Projects and Demographic Policy. This would allow us to better coordinate our work in this sector.
Our discussion must produce concrete results that will act as a basis for our further work.
The third theme consists in improving military security. A year has gone by since we made a decision on the development prospects for Russia’s Armed Forces by 2015. A number of measures have already been implemented. In particular we have provided support for strategic nuclear forces and we are continuing to form combat-ready units in the regular forces. A significant part of regular forces is now staffed on a contractual basis.
We were able to stabilize the Armed Forces’ financial situation. We have started taking action to resolve the problem of providing housing for servicemen. We have started a mortgage loan system. General tendencies all show that we are emerging from the crisis situation which plagued Russia’s Armed Forces for a long time.
However, while the general dynamic is a positive one, the process of equipping the army and navy with new modern equipment is proceeding poorly. We are still lagging behind in our efforts to provide the army and the navy with modern weapons systems and I would ask that you pay special attention to this issue.
In connection with this, in the third quarter of 2006 the government should determine a list of fundamental crucial military technologies and, in the interests of allocating budgetary resources in the most effective way, determine how these technologies will be financed and to what extent they support developing and maintaining the Armed Forces. I also believe that it is expedient to create a new section of the budget entitled “The Modernisation of the Armed Forces and other Forces”.
Analyzing the state of affairs in the defense industry has shown that this industry does not guarantee that the Armed Forces receive the necessary equipment. There are many reasons for this and I will point out just two of them: the deterioration of technological equipment and the lack of diversification within the defense industry’s major structures. In a number of branches such as shipbuilding, ammunition, special chemicals and military hardware, there is no strategy for development or for reform. It is obvious that urgent measures are required. Unfortunately, the government is not working quickly enough and has still not completed the target programme for the defense industry’s development.
I suggest that we complete all these measures in the third quarter of 2006 and plan on financing measures contained in various programmes as of 2007.
Finally, one last important issue consists in personnel for the army and the navy. I believe that in view of the difficult demographic situation we must start allocating the posts of sergeants, master sergeants and above-water craft crews on a contractual basis. At the same time we must modify the system of preparation for service in the Armed Forces.
It is extremely important to pay special attention to preparation prior to conscription and the military and patriotic education of Russian youth. Certainly, the tasks that lie before us are not limited to the department. Both regional and local authorities and, of course, public organisations should engage in this work.
And finally we must provide convincing answers to all modern challenges, such as measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We must precisely determine Russia’s interests in the fields of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and prevent an arms race in outer space. I talked about this in sufficient detail in the Address.
And before passing to the reports, I would like to say in conclusion that since the beginning of the 1990s, throughout the 1990s, and right up until today we have basically been engaged in filling holes and ensuring our survival. We now have the opportunity to look at tomorrow and to create a long-term strategy to ensure that the country develops in all crucial areas.
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