1. AFTER VIENNA, A STRIKE AGAINST IRAN IS RULED OUT
Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta
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AN INTERVIEW WITH FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV; Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discusses the proposal made to Iran by six nations after a meeting in Vienna last week. He also comments on Russian-Georgian relations and South Ossetia's right to self-determination.
Question: Representatives of Russia, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, and China met in Vienna late last week. Exactly what kind of agreements did they reach?
Sergei Lavrov: The meeting of foreign affairs ministers from those six countries resulted in an agreement to make Iran a fairly substantial offer: to start negotiations on regulating the nuclear program situation, on the condition that Tehran stops its uranium enrichment activities, in line with IAEA decisions. In that event, work within the UN Security Council would also be stopped.
It's fundamentally important that the proposal is being made by all six countries, including the United States. This hasn't been an easy step to take, given that the United States and Iran severed relations 26 years ago. We hope that if everyone sits down at the negotiation table, we shall be able to come up with solutions that uphold Iran's lawful right to develop civilian nuclear power, along with solutions guaranteeing observance of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Question: Did the six countries consider giving any security guarantees to Iran?
Sergei Lavrov: The package of proposals considered at the meeting covers three areas: the nuclear program, trade and economic cooperation, and political and security matters.
Question: The presidents of Russia and the United States had a telephone conversation the previous day. How did that affect the outcome of the Vienna meeting?
Sergei Lavrov: Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush discussed general issues concerning the Iranian nuclear program situation. By the time of their telephone conversation, it was already clear that the positions of all countries were drawing closer to each other, and some agreements were emerging.
Question: Did anyone in Vienna mention the possibility of using force against Iran?
Sergei Lavrov: No one. What's more, I'm able to say that the agreements reached within the six-country framework rule out the use of force under any circumstances.
Question: Let's move on to South Ossetia. The Russian Foreign Ministry recently made some statements about self-determination. Isn't Moscow concerned that this might have an impact on Russia's own territorial integrity?
Sergei Lavrov: We didn't say anything inconsistent with the facts. The facts are that we do recognize the territorial integrity of Georgia - but given that a substantial part of Georgia is taken up by internationally-recognized conflict zones, South Ossetia and Abkhazia - the Georgian government cannot control those territories in reality. Under international law, sovereignty equates to a state's ability to control its territory.
In order to solve this problem, negotiations must be resumed. But Georgia is making every effort to sabotage negotiations. The same applies to many other issues. For example, there has been a proposal concerning both Abkhazia and South Ossetia: for all sides to sign commitments to using only peaceful means to solve all their problems. But Georgia isn't prepared to do that.
Georgia prefers to use this situation in order to position itself unilaterally, rather than regulating problems via normal dialogue at the same table.
The right to self-determination is also part of international law. This right is exercised through expressions of the will of the people. In the case of Chechnya, for example, the Russian authorities weren't afraid to put this issue to the vote in a referendum. So in Chechnya, the people's will has already been expressed.
Question: If Georgia made a statement about the peoples of the Russian Federation having the right to self-determination, how would Moscow react to that?
Sergei Lavrov: We would respond by pointing out that the people's will has been expressed. The peoples of Russia have voted for their Constitution.
Question: So you don't think that the Foreign Ministry's statements about South Ossetia might encourage separatist trends in Russia?
Sergei Lavrov: We're not encouraging any kind of trends; we're stating the facts. Georgia's territorial integrity cannot be fully ensured until the conflicts are regulated. But regulation is being sabotaged by the Georgian government. I've given you examples of Georgia's refusal to sign peaceful regulation agreements. Along with evidence that Georgia is buying up large quantities of offensive weaponry and ammunition, in excess of what is required for normal security purposes, this invitably leads to suspicions that Georgia is indeed considering a military solution to the problem.
Question: What would Russia do in the event that force is used?
Sergei Lavrov: If anyone does have any plans of that nature, we'll do all we can to prevent them from being realized.
Original source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 5, 2006, pp. 1, 8
2. Russian contracts in Iran will be honored - foreign minister
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Russian contracts currently being implemented in Iran, including construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, are not threatened by the Iranian nuclear problem, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.
"Neither Bushehr, nor our other contracts are jeopardized by issues being discussed now," Sergei Lavrov told a session of the State Duma, or lower house of parliament.
Lavrov said progress had been made in solving the long-running impasse around Iran's controversial nuclear program, and said it was necessary "to focus on it."
Iran announced earlier this year it had succeeded in enriching uranium to the degree necessary for use in nuclear reactors. It has repeatedly said it has no plans to enrich uranium to weapons grade, and that it is enriching uranium for civilian use only, but some countries have accused it of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program.
Earlier reports said construction of the first unit of the Bushehr NPP was being completed and that the plant would be commissioned in late 2006.
Russia has said it plans to build six NPP power units in Iran over a 10-year period.
Russia and Iran earlier reached agreement on Russian nuclear fuel supplies to Iran, with Iran undertaking commitments to return spent nuclear fuel.
The United States, France, and Britain have been pushing for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, and the United States previously said it was considering military options.
3. UN to halt resolution debate if Iran freezes enrichment - Lavrov
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Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday that the Iran 6 had proposed suspending discussions of a draft UN Security Council resolution on Iran if Tehran re-imposed a moratorium on uranium enrichment.
"Enrichment work and discussions at the UN Security Council on any resolution on this issue that might be proposed will be suspended," Sergei Lavrov said.
He also said Tehran had reacted positively to the package of incentives put forward by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, which are leading efforts to resolve the crisis around Iran's nuclear program
"The proposals include serious interaction to develop Iran's civilian nuclear energy and non-nuclear technologies and to involve Iran in the dialogue to resolve regional security problems if there are no suspicions about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," he said.
Lavrov said the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons also included cooperation with UN's nuclear watchdog. He said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency were at Iran's nuclear facilities and monitoring the situation.
He added that no attempts to drive them out had been made.
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, Tuesday handed over to Iran a package of incentives drafted by the Iran-6 negotiators aimed at persuading the Islamic Republic to halt its controversial uranium-enrichment program.
Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's National Security Council, said Tuesday "The proposals contain a number of positive aspects, but some issues need clarification."
"We need to study the propositions carefully, and after that we will resume negotiations to achieve a reasonable result," he said.
4. Russian President Hails International Agreements on Iran
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has applauded the latest package of initiatives on the Iran nuclear issue reached with the participation of the United States.
"Although the views of Russia and the U.S. have not coincided on all occasions, we generally understand each other and, what counts most, are able to reach compromises," Putin said at a meeting with former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger on Tuesday.
"The latest joint steps on the Iranian issue confirm that," he said.
The U.S. administration attaches great importance to cooperation with Russia, Kissinger said.
He also welcomed the latest agreements on the Iranian nuclear issue reached by Russia, the United States, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
5. Russian nuclear chief backs Iran's right to peaceful atom, with guarantee
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Iran has the right to develop peaceful nuclear energy on condition that there is a guarantee of nonproliferation, the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), Sergey Kiriyenko, told journalists today.
"A unified package has been drawn up which proposes combining readiness to assist the development of Iran's economy, including its power engineering. Russia's fundamental position is this: all countries have the right to develop peaceful nuclear energy, including Iran. The world should also have the right to a guarantee of nonproliferation," Kiriyenko said.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad earlier said repeatedly that he would not relinquish his right to peaceful nuclear energy, and that Western pressure on Tehran in the nuclear sphere would not yield results.
He said that "the government and people of Iran have the firm intention to have peaceful nuclear energy and will not relinquish their inalienable right (in the nuclear sphere)".
6. Delicate Talks in Vienna. World Powers Attempt To Formulate Unified Position on Iran
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The latest round of the six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear dossier took place in Vienna yesterday (1 June). The foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, Britain, France, China, and Germany, who, according to tradition, take part in discussions on Iran, came together in the Austrian capital. Their goal was to formulate a unified position taking into consideration the interests of all parties and preventing violation of the nonproliferation regime.
It seemed that the statement by the US secretary of state on her preparedness to enter into talks with Iran together with the European trio (France, Germany, and Britain), helped to lighten the atmosphere to some extent before the Vienna meeting. Rice stressed that the US stance regarding Tehran is not changing and once more threatened it with sanctions and isolation if it fails to halt work on uranium enrichment. She mentioned that Iranians should have full democratic rights and freedoms.
It had been reported earlier that Washington was prepared to drop from the draft UN Security Council resolution on Iran the reference to a certain point in Chapter Seven of the UN Charter. It was this reference, opening the way to the use of force, which paralyzed discussions in the Security Council last month.
Within Russian diplomatic circles, Rice's statement was described as a propaganda move which might complicate the talks. The secretary of state presented Iran with a package of incentives which was closely tied to a package of deterrent measures. A contact explained that an agreement was reached in New York by which the European trio would first present to Iran a list of incentives, and only afterward, in the event of Tehran rejecting them, would a resolution be drafted that might possibly include references to harsh measures. But the Americans did not stick to the agreement.
The contact also remarked that, as formulated in the Rice statement, the proposals for Iran in essence seem emasculated and the Iranians might publicly reject them. Our contact stressed that it is not a good idea for Washington to infuse such a step with sensationalism and make public proposals to Iran with an eye on the political situation at home.
Yesterday official Tehran reacted negatively to the US proposal. Manuchechr Mottaki, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a statement on this saying that Iran is "open to talks" with the United States but rejects the "preliminary conditions" it has set.
Of the many remaining threats to national security, the greatest is nuclear material still unsecured in Russia and other places outside the United States, the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission told a House panel Tuesday.
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton told the House Government Reform National Security Subcommittee that at least 500,000 persons could be killed if a terrorist set off a bomb made of radioactive material in New York.
Finding and securing radioactive material outside the United States is at the top of a list of commission recommendations that still have not been addressed, they said. Six months ago, the commission gave failing grades to efforts to counteract terrorism since the panel issued its findings last December.
Kean told Government Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Shays, R-Conn., that the most important challenge is containing enriched uranium wherever it is. He said the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program exists for that purpose, but added he was told it would take 14 or 15 years when it should be done in three years. The program was established in 1991 to deal with radioactive materials remaining in Russia and expanded in 2003 to all other countries.
"We've got to talk about this more. The threat is very real," Kean said. Hamilton agreed, saying that the United States should triple its efforts.
"The program is in place, but it has to be accelerated ... It needs a lot more money and a lot more people," Hamilton said.
Often popular with liberal members of Congress, the program has come under attack from some conservatives who say it amounts to a subsidy to Russia. Its appropriation for fiscal 2006 was $416 million and the president's request for fiscal 2007 is $372 million. Since many of the huge structures that hold the radioactive materials have been built, some proponents of the program insist that a bigger problem than more funds is meshing the bureaucracies of the United States and Russia.
Another goal of the hearing was to highlight problems that Shays said exist with the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Shays complained the board is weak and does not have the independence and authority it needs, including subpoena power.
Kean and Hamilton agreed the board needs to be stronger but they said the board should have time to get underway before deciding on whether it needs subpoena powers.
A former kindergarten in north Moscow is still awaiting its makeover into a center to help prevent the United States and Russia from stumbling into a nuclear war. The transformation was supposed to take a year, but U.S.-Russian disputes over taxes and liability issues have halted the renovation for more than five years. Now, U.S. officials hope that work might soon resume.
Then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed in September 1998 to establish the Joint Data Exchange Center, and the plans were finalized June 4, 2000. At the center, the two countries are ultimately supposed to display information in real time when their early-warning systems detect launches of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles traveling more than 500 kilometers in range or apogee. The purpose of sharing such data is to mitigate the possibility that benign activities are misinterpreted as an attack.
In December 2000, the two governments also decided that the center would serve as a clearinghouse for exchanging notifications, at least 24 hours in advance, when they intend to launch ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.
Teams of 16 U.S. and 19 Russian military personnel would be assigned to the center, which would operate around the clock. Another 62 Russians would provide security and support.
Although both governments continue to profess strong support for the center, its establishment became tied up in a larger U.S.-Russian disagreement over whether U.S. entities working in Russia on certain projects should pay taxes and be liable for damages. Moscow insisted they should, while Washington rejected the notion.
The Bush administration settled on a strategy for resolving the most difficult case first and then applying that solution to similar problems. Last July, U.S. officials announced that terms had been reached on what they considered the most troublesome project, an agreement for both sides to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-usable plutonium. (See ACT, September 2005.) But the deal has yet to take effect because Moscow has not given its formal approval.
Still, U.S. officials repeatedly say that the delay is not a product of any U.S. or Russian misgivings but merely bureaucratic process and that they are confident this hurdle will soon be cleared. A U.S. official familiar with these issues told Arms Control Today May 19 that Russia’s approval is “real close.” The official added that once the plutonium project deal is sealed, the U.S. intention is to “immediately move forward” on resolving the liability and tax issues holding up other projects, including the Joint Data Exchange Center.
1. In 1946 the Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) was established to manage U.S. long-range bombers and their nuclear payloads. The Navy later developed its own nuclear forces—the Polaris SLBM—and the Air Force added ICBMs to the U.S. nuclear delivery mix. In 1960 the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) was created to oversee planning and targeting for all U.S. nuclear forces. In June 1992, SAC and JSTPS were both shut down, and STRATCOM was established.
2. The Department of Defense has nine combatant commands: Central Command, European Command, Joint Forces Command, Northern Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, and Transportation Command.
3. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, also known as the Moscow Treaty, commits the United States and Russia to reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads apiece by the end of 2012. The Department of State has reported that the 2007 target level for U.S. forces is 3,500-4,000 warheads.
4. President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. strategic bombers off alert September 27, 1991, as part of what became known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.
5. The old triad refers to ICBMs, SLBMs, and long-range bombers. The new triad promulgated in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review consists of conventional and nuclear offensive strike capabilities, active and passive defenses, and a responsive defense infrastructure. The old triad is now seen as a sub-unit of the offensive strike component of the new triad.
6. The February 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review called for lowering the number of deployed ICBMs to 450. Warheads associated with the 50 missiles slated to be taken off alert are to be redeployed on some of the remaining ICBMs.
7. NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept declared, “The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.” The document further stated the alliance would “maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe,” although it noted the circumstances in which their use would be contemplated were “extremely remote.”
8. In his May 10, 2006, address to the Russian Federal Assembly, Putin stated, “[T]he media and expert circles are already discussing plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry non-nuclear warheads. The launch of such a missile could provoke an inappropriate response from one of the nuclear powers, could provoke a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces.”
9. The national command authority is the president and the secretary of defense.
10. General James E. Cartwright is referring to the December 13, 2005, flight of the interceptor. This was the first successful flight test of the interceptor model currently deployed in Alaska and California. However, the test did not involve a target or an intercept attempt.
4. Strategic Decisions: An Interview With STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright
Wade Boese and Miles A. Pomper
Arms Control Today
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The Bush administration set forth its plan for transforming the roles and structure of U.S. strategic forces in its December 2001 Nuclear Posture Review. The revamped posture, according to administration officials, aims to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons and augment them with growing conventional strike capabilities, missile defenses, and a more responsive and robust defense infrastructure base. The responsibility for making this vision a reality rests largely with the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM). On May 12, Arms Control Today interviewed STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright about implementation of the president’s plan.
ACT: STRATCOM’s traditional mission has been the operational control of deployed U.S. nuclear forces, but more responsibilities have been added in recent years. Could you talk a little about STRATCOM’s additional missions for missile defense, space, and global strike?
Cartwright: Back in 1992, the Navy mission and the Air Force mission were brought together, and that was the stand-up of STRATCOM. The headquarters was at Offutt [Air Force Base, Nebraska]. Then in 2002, Strategic Command and Space Command were merged under the common head of Strategic Command. During 2003, we added in missions that included global strike, integrated missile defense, information operations, and C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance]. There really was not a combatant commander who had purview over those kinds of mission areas, which tended to be cross-cutting. The idea was to get them pulled under a single combatant commander who would be both an advocate for those capabilities and operational provider of those capabilities to other regional combatant commanders. That was the thought process in adding those missions. The last mission, combating weapons of mass destruction, was added in 2005. This involves nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and consequence management [of an unconventional weapons attack]. So, that has been the gamut of missions added.
ACT: Getting back to the more traditional mission of STRATCOM, as a presidential candidate in May 2000, George W. Bush said, “The United States should remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair-trigger status.” Yet, U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) remain ready to fire within minutes, and there has been no significant change in the number of weapons on high alert since Bush took office. Why hasn’t the president’s recommendation been fulfilled?
Cartwright: The first assumption is that it has not been fulfilled, and we can certainly debate whether that is true or not. Clearly, the Moscow Treaty of 2002 directed bringing down a number of operationally deployed weapons. There is a 2007 midpoint that we set as an arbitrary goal within the government for, “Are you on track, or are you not on track?” We are well on track for that. We are meeting every one of the planned reductions, and in several of the cases, we are ahead of schedule. It is classified exactly what the numbers are. That is one piece of how we look at it.
Another is that we have gotten the B-1 bomber out of the business of nuclear weapons. We have taken the B-52 bombers off day-to-day alert, along with the tankers and other assets supporting them. The MX, or Peacekeeper, ICBM was retired last September and taken out of its holes. My sense is we have moved in a direction that has been pretty aggressive in [terms of] reductions and changes in posture. There are some other classified activities inside the military that are also in compliance with the Moscow Treaty. We are moving pretty aggressively here to do that.
As the advocate for operational nuclear forces, I would note that most of these weapons are aging. The design criteria associated with them that was valid in the 1950s and 1960s against the world that we live in today is starting to change. So, this concept introduced by Congress called the Reliable Replacement Warhead [RRW program] is important to us. It is not a new warhead. It is going after upgrades in safety, security, and surety of the weapons. The extent to which you can leverage the reduction in operationally deployed warheads to free up resources—the intellectual capital, the laboratories, the production- and maintenance-type capital, and the dollars and cents—to start moving us to safer and more reliable weapons is something we are supporting. So, bringing down operationally deployed weapons is leverage to allow us to move in that direction. We also see in [the RRW program] the ability to build and design in the current construct weapons that do not need testing. Now, that has yet to be proved, but that is the design goal that we are trying to shoot for.
ACT: Would STRATCOM be comfortable in adding an RRW weapon that had not been tested?
Cartwright: The work that we are doing with the laboratories today would give us reasonable confidence that we can move forward [without testing]. Again, it is not a redesign of the whole weapon; it is focused on safety, security, and surety. We believe we can understand the changes that would be introduced and be comfortable that we can manage the margins of performance inside of those and stay within the regime that would allow us not to have to test. Now, we are in the early stages of the design work. You have got to see this mature, and you have to understand the uncertainties associated with it. There are a certain number of uncertainties that are just associated with nuclear science. You have got to understand how all of those stack up. But the belief right now is that you could, in fact, manage this activity in a way that would not require testing.
ACT: Going back to the original question about high alert, what threats require the United States to maintain nuclear-armed strategic systems on high alert?
Cartwright: In the old triad, the bombers were on alert, but their response [was] measured in hours to close to the target. Submarines were our survivable leg. Land-based missiles on alert were our quick responders. That was generally how we looked at that triad. We already talked about the bombers. On submarines, there is a pretty good dialogue—good, bad, or indifferent—on [converting some nuclear-armed SLBMs] to conventional. The thought process that we have worked our way through is that the conventional variant, if it was to be approved, would be the priority weapon system for defining where we patrol and what we do. This stays consistent with the idea that submarines are the survivable leg. Those assets can afford a longer time to be responsive.
ICBMs remain the responsive—high-alert, as you stated it—assets. Again, we have gotten the Peacekeepers out of that level of activity. We are now at 500 ICBMs (Minuteman IIIs). There is a dialogue with Congress to do some more reductions. So, that did not change the status of the ICBMs. But clearly the bomber status has changed, and we are moving in a direction that would keep the submarines survivable but prioritize conventional activities for them versus nuclear activities.
ACT: In his May 2000 speech, President Bush also argued that the premise of Cold War nuclear targeting should no longer dictate the size of our arsenal. However, even after the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty), the United States still intends to deploy up to 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads. This force level suggests that the U.S. arsenal size is still being driven by Russian targeting considerations. Why is this the case nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War?
Cartwright: There are a couple of ways to look at that. The Russians still do have the preponderance of nuclear capability, and they certainly have the preponderance of delivery capability to threaten the United States, should they choose to. Intent is always the hardest thing to understand—you have to have at least one paranoid person around, and that is STRATCOM—so you have to make sure you are accounting for the risks that you are accepting in a relationship. But, having said that, the Russians for all intents and purposes have complied with the Moscow Treaty. You are starting to see the emergence of other countries with either the acknowledged capability or the acknowledged intent to field nuclear weapons. Today, they are characterized by nowhere near the delivery platforms or numbers, if they have nuclear weapons, of Russia. Certainly, the accuracy, range, and all the other attributes associated [with those systems] are not as good probably as, say, the Russians were at the peak of their time. Then, there are those who just have aspirations and are working aggressively to get delivery platforms. So, there is a range of activity out there. The question becomes, what do you want to have and is that a more difficult target set than being able to focus in on just the Russian/Soviet Union landmass.
Does this [expansion in the number of countries with weapons] get matched by the number of warheads? Is that an appropriate way to look at it? Is it really more of a problem for delivery systems and the appropriate way to do it? Do you have a broad enough range of effect? What we are talking about there is escalation control and confidence-building measures. When you have more than just one adversary, those become much more difficult to manage. It’s more complicated if you are dealing with multiple governments and the way they govern; multiple, different end-states that they might have in mind; and different levels of sophistication in their weapons production and delivery enterprises.
One of the things that we came to with the Russians was a reasonable protocol about warning time, and we used that to manage our relationship. If you got inside that warning time, that was grounds for being uncomfortable with each other. We could measure that through treaties or sensors or whatever. We do not necessarily have those relationships with others that are starting to be interested in the nuclear enterprise or weapons of mass destruction in general.
ACT: Speaking of treaties with Russia, the 1991 START, with its extensive verification and information exchange regime, is set to expire in December 2009. As a military commander, are you worried about losing that level of transparency and confidence provided by that regime, and would you like to see those mechanisms or measures extended or transformed in some way?
Cartwright: As a military commander, I would sure like to see them transformed; if not transformed, then to remain. I think you want something that is a little more responsive to the changes that occur in the world than the current treaty construct. That is someone else’s domain—the Department of State—to figure out. The attributes that you would seek are transparency, the ability to generate warning time, and confidence in what the intentions are of a counterpart. When talking about the United States and Russia before, I mentioned warning time. Warning time allows me to defend myself and not misjudge what it is that you are doing. A vehicle [for the attributes mentioned above] should allow the regime or protocol to keep up with the state of the technology in the future.
The State Department is working very hard on a Joint Data Exchange Center with the Russians. It has had some trouble getting its foundation laid down, but it looks like it is starting to move forward. This center would allow us to exchange information in real time and across more than just offensive weapons. We could start to look at missile defense, defensive weapons, and space sensors. There are any number of things that you could start to bring in to help create, like we did with warning time, better confidence of what each other is doing so misinterpretation becomes less of a problem. Whatever the construct is that we do with a treaty-like activity, you are trying to make sure that you can build confidence, understand the intentions of your adversary, and have time to react appropriately to those intentions. Usually, “appropriately” is defined as finding alternative ways to get out of a problem. You want to generate the time to be able to do that; the less time, the less options you have.
ACT: Russia repeatedly cites the continuing existence of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as a threat and as a reason for not reducing its own tactical nuclear weapons arsenal. What is the military justification for retaining almost 500 U.S. nuclear warheads in Europe?
Cartwright: We have a relationship with NATO under which we have various platforms and capabilities stationed in support of that activity. So, we meet those obligations.
The bigger issue associated with tactical weapons is the issue of their size, volume, weight, et cetera. It is hard to steal a ballistic missile. It might be easier to get at something that is tactical. [One concern] is that, in exercising, protecting, and demonstrating what your [tactical nuclear] capabilities are in order to be transparent, do you expose those things, and is that giving an opportunity to terrorists to get in and out? We believe with great certainty that ours are well controlled. We worry about newcomers and about all of the [former] Soviet Union. Where did all this stuff go? Do we have good control of it?
The Russian perception of the world is that they are surrounded by countries that look like they are starting to proliferate and have the potential to have tactical weapons. They may not have the transparency with [countries] that are relatively close to them as we [do].
ACT: So, your perception is that Russia’s posture is a response to some other country’s current or potential nuclear arsenal rather than, say, U.S. conventional superiority?
Cartwright: It has to play into the calculus. I think it really has to play into their calculus. From the standpoint of our calculus, we have a strategy to assure allies that we will be there for them if they are attacked. In that assurance, we are trying to develop more precise weapons and more credible weapons. I’m talking more about the conventional side of the equation here. [We want] capabilities that are responsive and that really can assure [our allies]. Assurance is a very difficult thing for those countries in today’s environment, where short- and medium-range ballistic missiles can be rolled out, fired, and hidden in very short order and their flight time is very quick. Look at the Middle East, for instance; the time of flight and the time of reaction is very, very quick now. It is starting to creep way inside of those comfort zones that we had in the Cold War about having time to have alternatives. This new class of weapons, particularly short- and medium-range, that is being developed really puts stress on normal protocols to make sure that you got options and transparency.
ACT: You mentioned conventional weapons. Given today’s threat environment and STRATCOM’s likely war-fighting scenarios, do you believe that the United States needs to develop more useable nuclear weapons or a more effective array of conventional weapons?
Cartwright: It is never an either/or. But I think right now the balance of usability and functionality for the problems we are trying to address—because of precision, because of speed, because of the associated technologies—there are more viable options that can be serviced by conventional weapons than maybe in the past.
ACT: In that regard, you have this Prompt Global Strike initiative to start converting two missiles on each U.S. ballistic missile submarine to carry conventional warheads instead of nuclear warheads. Does this reflect a determination that conventional warheads can effectively replace nuclear weapons for some existing target sets or simply the addition of new missions and potential targets?
Cartwright: Both. Let’s go to new emerging targets and the war on terrorism, [using] both a historical example and a [more recent] one. [Look at] the activities associated with the [1986 Operation] El Dorado Canyon strike against Libya. We had problems [with] overflight rights and going into an area that was defended. We lost an F-111 fighter-bomber. We lost a crew. It was in an area where you clearly had somebody who was supporting terrorism acts that occurred in the buildup [before the U.S. mission]: where terrorists left that country, did something, and then went back, et cetera. [What] if you could influence in a way that was quickly responsive and precise, while doing a much better job of controlling collateral damage and not having to expose crews and aircraft to defensive measures? All of those things would argue for a better way of doing it.
Now, there have been several initiatives since El Dorado Canyon to build weapons that could work in that environment. Still, move forward to Afghanistan: it took us almost six weeks to get the overflight rights to get at the terrorist camps. In that period, they had time to move, leave, deceive, protect themselves, you name it. If we could have gotten there much quicker—this is where you get into the subjective—would it have been different? Clearly, time, reaction, and the ability to get to places that are either heavily defended or are just plain hard to get to are some things that we have got to understand as we move forward in developing delivery systems and weapons. The more complicated these problem get oftentimes—let’s just take those past two examples—the more inappropriate, probably, a nuclear response is. Yet, if that is what you have as your immediate response capability, what choice does a country have? You really enter into a self-deterred environment.
ACT: There have been some concerns raised about Prompt Global Strike. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed concern that other nuclear powers might misinterpret a U.S. launch of a conventionally armed ballistic missile as a nuclear-armed missile and retaliate accordingly. How do you address this danger of ambiguity, particularly during a crisis?
Cartwright: It was interesting because he did use the word “other.” Maybe transparency and the Joint Data Exchange Center and some of these things are actually starting to work. I hope so. But you always have to worry in war that your actions might be interpreted incorrectly. It does not matter whether you are dealing with an intercontinental ballistic missile or an M-16 rifle. If you pull the trigger in war, the second- and third-order effects of intent are always the most difficult thing to understand. But you try to build in escalation control and transparency. As a ground commander, one of the first things you are always trying to do is establish some sort of communication with your adversary. They may believe you, they may not. But at least you have got to try to develop some sort of confidence-building measures so your intent is understood. That works both ways. You want them to understand why you are there and what you are doing. You want them to understand clearly what your end-state is because, if they go in a different direction, both of you can really get hurt. If you are a wrestler in high school, the worst person you can wrestle is somebody who has no experience and has no idea how to play the game because you are going to get hurt.
Where I think [Putin] is focused—now, I do not want to put words in his mouth—is if you are an emerging country trying to build delivery systems and saying that you actually have nuclear capabilities, how are we going to know when you launch that capability what it is that you are actually doing? [We need to make] sure that emerging countries that are starting to develop ballistic missiles enter into some sort of set of agreements with us to help build an understanding of confidence about what it is they are trying to accomplish, what their activities really are, and what they think [their activities] mean. If [they] are not going for mutual assured destruction but limited action, make sure it is interpreted as limited action. But how do you build those transparency measures? Those are the key activities. Are Russia’s neighbors bothering to tell the Russians that they are launching something? A lot of other countries do not bother to tell you when they are launching something. You have got a certain amount of time to see if it is on a ballistic trajectory and what direction is that trajectory going. Is there one, or are there multiples? The ambiguity goes up significantly if you do not get any notification.
ACT: You interpret Putin’s comments as aimed at third countries rather than the United States?
Cartwright: I am sure that he is talking to us too, but I am also sure that there is kind of a secondary message here that this is not just a U.S.-Russian problem. We have got to look broader. How are we going to manage these ballistic missiles that are starting to proliferate? How are we going to manage the intent of the country, independent of what the warhead is? How are we going to manage the difference between test and exercise and conflict? Where do we start to build and in what form do we start to build those transparency and escalation control measures?
ACT: What about vis-à-vis the United States? How would you answer those critiques vis-à-vis the United States?
Cartwright: Today, what we have done, significantly with the Russians but also with others, is to start to publish whenever we are going to launch. Since 1968, we have had 430-450 [Trident] launches [without nuclear warheads]. We publish that. We put it out in the open source. We make sure that we tell what direction and the general part of the day or what day it is going to be. You can imagine that, with that many launches, we have had bad weather, we have had maintenance malfunctions, et cetera, but we get that word out. We do that regularly. If a country is interested in knowing it, we are interested in telling them what we are doing. We will continue to do that whether we think they can see us or not. You ought to assume that something has given them an indication [about U.S. activities], rather than saying, “Gee, they do not have a satellite” or “They do not have radar today.” You always should assume that somebody has seen something happen. The more you tell them, the more you announce it, the more you publish it, the more you are standardizing how you do business, the more important.
The other piece to this that I think is probably pretty significant is that we have certainly moved on a path to not classify what is going on. As we manage [Prompt Global Strike]—as we did with artillery, ground-based cruise missiles, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, bombers, et cetera, when we moved them to dual-purpose—we have tried to make that as transparent to everyone as possible. The intent here is to get it out, to get it understood, exercise it, demonstrate it, and show people what it can and cannot do. If [other countries] have radar or they have a space system, then they can see it. When we do that, we tell them ahead of time: look in this area. [The goal is to] get to that more transparent environment. Again, at the end of the day, if a person believes that M-16 is going to kill them, they are going to react one way. If they believe that it is a warning shot, they are going to act a different way. The more you keep it transparent, the better. But you can never guarantee how an adversary interprets something.
ACT: You mentioned the proliferation of ballistic missile technologies. One of the concerns about Prompt Global Strike is that maybe it will imbue ballistic missiles with more strategic value in the eyes of others. Might this proposal undercut missile nonproliferation efforts?
Cartwright: Two ways to go at that. One is that we have not built any new ballistic missiles in quite a while. In fact, we have gone down. Yet, what you see in the world is the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
Another way to look at it is if we do something like this, will it [provide an incentive to] somebody else to either accelerate what they are doing or start new efforts as they watch what we are doing? Again, there is no intent to increase the number of [ballistic missiles]. There is intent to create a diversity of effects that is more appropriate for the world that we are in and more controlling of escalation. But it is more of an acknowledgement that the world we are in is not one country versus another anymore. It is a global problem, particularly when you deal with terrorism. Our forces, transports, delivery vehicles, ships, airplanes, et cetera, are reducing in numbers, so the physical distance that any one branch of the service has to cover is greater. The range of effect a ship has to cover is greater. So, you have got to start to move to delivery vehicles that have global reach inside of the timelines of the regret factors that someone would deliver to you with a ballistic missile. [Prompt Global Strike] is really about if we have got to reach globally quickly—and that is the new world we live in—then let’s have a more responsible effect at the other end. Some people use the word “proportional.” I am not sure that is a good one; “appropriate” [might be better].
ACT: So, does Prompt Global Strike herald a growing transition away from nuclear warheads for strategic missions?
Cartwright: It certainly offers an alternative. Today, [our method of] prompt global strike is nuclear, and that is where I am trying to change.
ACT: The initial elements of a nationwide missile defense system were deployed in the fall of 2004, but it has yet to be declared operational. Why is that, and what has to be done before that system will be declared operation?
Cartwright: The declaration of it being operational is up to the national command authority. But there are certain criteria that [are] important from STRATCOM’s perspective. Today, the system is a [research and development] system with a rudimentary operational capability. In November 2004, STRATCOM entered into what we called a shakedown period, which was really the first chance that we had to put operators into the system, run it for extended periods of time to understand [whether] this is what an operator needs versus what a developer needs. What would you change about it? How do you do management of the system, [including] command and control of the sensors and the weapons? We went through that for about six to eight months. We took all of the lessons out of that, along with some other things that we did in testing, and said, “Okay, here is what we need to have in the system in order to be ready to go.” Those upgrades, adjustments, or whatever you want to call them started to be installed by the Missile Defense Agency in about November of last year. That installation period was to take through the late summer of this year.
We are waiting to see how all that installation work goes. There were a series of tests that we as operators wanted to see, [such as] using the radars that are in the system to actually track incoming missiles and then transmit the data. We had several [tests] over the past year across the face of radars and things like that. There were new sensors we wanted added for redundancy and command and control capabilities for redundancy and assurance. Those are all now starting to come onboard. At the end of this year, we will start to see the fruits of those upgrades. The other piece that you would like to see is some consistent success with the ground-based interceptor. We have had one good shot here recently, which was the first [test] that had all of the production components end to end in the system. That was an important test. There are two more that are coming that shall demonstrate [the interceptor’s] ability to maneuver and ability to actually hit the target. We want to see that along with the introduction of these new sensors so that we know those sensors match up with those weapons.
There is also a big piece of this involving the [Standard Missile-3] ship-based interceptors and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors. We want to see that piece actually integrated [with the sensors and command and control elements of the strategic missile defense system]. You may think you are just adding a module—like, “Gee, I’m going to have PAC-3 in the system now”—but did that have any effect on what you are doing with the ground-base interceptor? Those are things that we want to see over the next few months to be very comfortable. Does that mean that I would be uncomfortable bringing [the strategic ground-based system] up to an alert today if I or the national command authority felt that we had some kind of threat? No, I would bring it online in a heartbeat. There is no reason why you would not. But those are the kinds of things I would like to see over the next few months to make sure we got the system that we really want to have for the long term.
ACT: House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R-Ohio) said it is time for a thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons in our country’s national security strategy. Would STRATCOM welcome this debate, and what are some of the key issues that you feel that debate should revolve around?
Cartwright: You have hit all of them in this. I believe that debate is something we have to have. In the debate, what is the appropriate use [of nuclear weapons]? What is the appropriate match between what we see out there in the world today and the types of weapons we have available? [What are] the confidence-building measures and the escalation controls so we [can] build as many options to not use weapons as possible? All those things ought to be discussed. But we are, because of a lack of a debate, kind of locked in what we had in the Cold War and how we used to do it. That is why the [conventional Trident missile] is such big deal for us. It is to get a discussion. Is that what we want for a capability, or is there something else we want for a capability? At the end of the day, I will do what I am told, obviously. But I think people ought to understand at least what a commander perceives as sometimes a mismatch for what it is we have as a threat out there and what we have as an arsenal.
1. Russian President Says Energy Key G8 Focus, Calls for Network of Nuclear Centers
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A network of nuclear centers should be established in strict compliance with safety requirements and under international control, President Vladimir Putin said at a Friday meeting with chiefs of G8 leading news agencies.
Energy will be an item on the agenda of the G8 St. Petersburg summit, he said.
"Global energy security is impossible without atomic energy, so the idea of an international network of nuclear centers has been put forward. The goal of this network is to give an access to peaceful atomic energy for new clients, and, at the same time, ensure technical safety and international control over the non-proliferation," he said.
"We think it vital to promote energy saving and efficiency programs. Russia calls for a better quality of the protection of key elements of the energy infrastructure. It is a matter of the protection from man-made threats and encroachments by international terrorists," Putin said.
On May 22, 2006, The Washington Post carried an article "A Missile Strike Option We Need" by two former U.S. Secretaries of Defense - Harold Brown (1977-1981) and James Schlesinger (1973-1975).
Brown and Schlesinger suggested installing nonnuclear warheads on U.S. strategic missiles, first of all, Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which have multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs). These warheads can hit terrorist bases more effectively than, say, cruise missiles or free-fall bombs. Such precise strikes could be dealt minutes after the military receive information about terrorist bases and their coordinates and would involve no bombers or carrier task forces and submarines operating in direct proximity to hostile areas.
The U.S. establishment is so fascinated with this idea that the Congress has started discussing the allocation of appropriations for nonnuclear warheads. But it appears this will not become the ultimate weapon in the fight against international terrorism because, as any sober-minded military expert knows, counter-terrorist operations require more subtle and diverse weapons systems than warheads and strategic missiles. Then why does the Pentagon need MIRVs for inter-continental ballistic missiles, and why are its high-ranking lobbyists so concerned about this?
The answer may not be as simple as one thinks.
Russian defense industry experts said MIRV warheads were, first of all, needed to conceal nuclear warheads because no early-warning radar could discern between conventional and nuclear weapons. In this situation, a delayed retaliatory strike would mean a sure victory for the attacker as the defending side would lose precious moments trying to locate high-priority targets. Moreover, it is pointless to install expensive conventional warheads on ICBMs.
Nonnuclear warheads are not covered by strategic arms-reduction documents either, and it would be impossible to find out how many U.S. strategic submarines have such warheads. Under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, Russia and the United States will reduce their strategic nuclear warheads to a level of 1,700-2,200 by December 31, 2012. But Moscow would still think that Washington is playing its own game, and that its strategic missiles retain several dozen or even several hundred nuclear warheads listed as conventional munitions.
Experts say strategic offensive weapons with nonnuclear warheads are intended for some extremely important military objectives, such as hitting enterprises producing nuclear weapons, dumps with solid-state and liquid radioactive waste, as well as other nuclear facilities. A high-explosive conventional blast at these facilities would cause the same damage as a nuclear warhead. An electromagnetic impulse would knock out all electrical devices and equipment, as well as communications and control networks. Subsequent radioactive fallout would render such enterprises useless for more than a century.
Oil and gas producing enterprises, oil refineries, petroleum depots, hydropower plants, dams, dikes, defense factories, shipyards, plants and other facilities face the same risks. Moreover, nonnuclear hypersonic deep-impact munitions can penetrate a mountain dam and be detonated by the attacker at any moment. Such an explosion can cause a disaster of unprecedented proportions that would make Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, seem like child's play. National authorities would not be able to cope with the panic in the face of this threat.
Former Pentagon heads Harold Brown and James Schlesinger, who advocate such destabilizing weapons, enjoy firm Congressional support. The U.S. Armed Forces have outpaced the world's armies by several decades in their development and strive to obtain additional military advantages. Washington also wants to set off a new spiral in the arms race and to undermine the economy of its weaker foreign rivals. Russian political and military leaders should therefore display common sense in this situation. It is obvious that strategic missiles with nonnuclear warheads are gradually turning into battlefield weapons and losing their role as a political deterrent, which should never be used. These weapons can be launched even during local conflicts.
However, Moscow should resist the temptation to indulge in pointless rivalry. The Kremlin should continue to rely on its relatively small, albeit highly effective nuclear arsenal, which will always protect Russia against any military or political blackmail and pressure.
Any country is free to spend money on new weapons. But President Vladimir Putin has warned in his latest state of the nation address that the launch of a ballistic missile with nonnuclear warheads could provoke an inappropriate response from nuclear powers and a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces.
2. Russian Defense Ministry To Present Armaments Program For 2007-2015 Soon
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Russian Defence Ministry will submit a program for armaments for 2007-2015 to President Vladimir Putin for approval soon, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said at a presidential meeting on Monday.
Ivanov reported on the program's priorities.
He expressed the regret that another program for the defence industry reform was not ready yet.
"We should not pull these two programs apart. The Industry and Energy Ministry will draft a program for reforming the defence industry in a month's time. It will be reporting progress in this work weekly. And in a month we should approve the two programs in one package at a governmental meeting," he said.
3. No Final Document Adopted At CFE Treaty Review Conference
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No final document was adopted at a Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty review conference that ended in Vienna on Friday.
Neither the draft proposed by Russia, nor the document submitted by NATO countries, nor a compromise version offered by Kazakhstan as conference chairman was supported.
"The results of the conference vividly confirmed the conclusion that the CFE Treaty has practically outlived itself in its present form. Given the unconstructive position of the NATO countries and their reluctance to start the ratification of the CFE Adaptation Agreement, all responsibility for the fate of this treaty lies on our Western partners," the head of the Russian delegation and the director of the Foreign Ministry' s Department of Security and Disarmament, Anatoly Antonov, told Itar-Tass.
The Russian delegation expressed readiness to develop a concerted final document on the basis of the NATO draft, provided it is amended to include two provisions that would reaffirm commitment to enacting the adapted treaty before the end of 2007 and making the adaptation agreement temporary effective from October 1, 2006.
"Unfortunately, the NATO countries rejected this compromise, which made it impossible to adopt the final document," the diplomat said.
He said Russia "is ready to analyse the situation in the sphere of arms control thoroughly" and "inform the CFE member states."
4. Russia To Rearm 200 Army Units And Formations By 2015
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About 200 military units and formations will be rearmed by 2015, a high-ranking official said.
First deputy head of the government's Military Industrial Commission Vladislav Putilin said on Friday, "We plan to buy more than 3,000 and modernise about 5,000 pieces of military and special hardware under the state armaments programme-2015."
"By 2015, 45 tank battalions (1,400 tanks), 173 motorised infantry and airborne battalions (4,109 fighting and landing vehicles, 3,008 armoured personnel carriers), five rocket brigades (60 Iskander air defence systems), and nine air defence and rocket units (18 squadrons of S-400 air defence systems) within the Combined Forces will be rearmed with new and modernised weapons," Putilin said.
The Air Force will get more than 1,000 aircraft, and the Navy "several dozen ships, including five nuclear-powered strategic submarines," he said. At the same time, Putilin said Russia has no plans to build new aircraft carriers till 2015.
He said "future of the naval aircraft complex" would be decided only after 2009.
Putilin said new aircraft carriers could be built by Sevmashpredpriyatiye. The defence industry will also study the possibility and expediency of building a liquid fuelled ballistic missile, he said.
Responding to a question from the press whether the company Mashinostroyeniye's offer to develop a 100-tonne liquid fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile had been accepted, Putilin said, "All offers have been accepted for examination. But this will be done later."
In the years to come solid fuel silo- and mobile-based Topol-M ICBMs will make up the core of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, he said.
5. Russian defence sector in line for big upgrade programmes
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A Russian government defence industry official has given details of increased spending planned under the State Armaments Programme up to 2015 and Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov has ordered the drafting of a programme for the technical re-equipping of the defence industry to be completed as quickly as possible. The following are texts or excerpt from three reports monitored from the Russian news agency Interfax-AVN website on 2 June
Official unveils rearmament plans - text of Interfax-AVN report
Moscow, 2 June: More than 200 tactical formations and units of the Russian Federation armed forces are to receive modern armaments and hardware as part of the State Armaments Programme for 2007-2015, journalists were told by the (first) deputy head of the Russian Federation government's Military Industrial Commission, Col-Gen Vyacheslav Putilin, after a session of the commission on Friday (2 June).
"In the framework of this programme the armed forces will receive 3,000 pieces of new hardware and armaments and around 5,000 modernized ones," Putilin said.
He said that more than 300 battalions and several missile brigades are to be rearmed in the Ground Troops and also in the Airborne Troops. The Russian air force will receive more than 1,000 frontline and army aviation combat systems and the navy several dozen submarines and surface ships, including five strategic missile-carrying ones.
Putilin also noted that the equipping of the strategic nuclear forces will be conducted on a level that will ensure sufficient deterrence within the parameters defined in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions.
Putilin said that in the course of implementation of the State Armaments Programme for the period until 2015 increases in the combat effectiveness of the armed forces will be only in the priority areas discussed in the programme.
"Even after 2015 serious problems will remain in equipping the army and navy, so we shall seek additional possibilities for boosting the combat effectiveness of our armed forces," Putilin said.
Plan to re-equip defence industry not ready - text of Interfax-AVN report
Moscow, 2 June: The drafting of a federal targeted-development programme for the development of the defence industry complex has been delayed and the amount of resources to be allocated to its implementation have not yet been agreed, journalists were told by First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Military Industrial Commission Vyacheslav Putilin.
He noted that, in line with various assessments, it had been proposed to allocate from R250bn to R400bn for implementation of the federal targeted-development programme. Putilin announced that around R7bn is being allocated from the budget to the development and technical re-equipping of the defence industry complex in the framework of various targeted-development programmes and projects this year.
Putilin said that the Military Industrial Commission had decided to reduce to a minimum the time gap between the adoption of the State Armaments Programme up to 2015 and the federal targeted-development programme for the technical re-equipping and development of the defence industry complex for the same period.
He noted that the technical re-equipping of defence production, enabling deliveries of series-produced armaments and military hardware to be delivered to the armed forces, should be one of the main tasks of the future federal targeted-development programme.
"But at the same time this must not lead to the emergence of a superfluous infrastructure," Putilin said. "We have superfluous infrastructure today, but at a lower technological level," he added.
Defence minister orders rapid completion of defence industry blueprint - excerpt from Interfax-AVN report
Moscow, 2 June: The development of the federal targeted-development programme for the technical re-equipping and development of the defence industry complex must be completed in the shortest period of time, according to Russian Federation Deputy Prime Minster and Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov. He was speaking at a session of the Russian Federation government's Military Industrial Commission on Friday (2 June).
He noted in particular that "there should be no gap between (the adoption of - Interfax) the State Armaments Programme and the federal targeted-development programme for the development of the defence industry complex".
He noted that the draft targeted-development programme provides for the restructuring and technical re-equipping of defence industry complex enterprises. At the same time, measures to preserve and develop science-intensive technologies in the defence industry assume special significance, he said.
Ivanov noted in particular that, unlike the previous period, problems with the financing of procurements for the needs of the armed forces are not an issue. "The problem is not one of money. The main thing is to decide what to spend the money on," the deputy prime minister said.
6. Russian Commission Budgets for 5 New Nuclear Submarines by 2015
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The just-adopted state program for armaments extending till the year 2015 provides for building five nuclear-powered submarines, the first deputy chief of the military-industrial commission, Vladislav Putilin, said after the commission's meeting on Friday.
At the 65-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, the United States May 18 unveiled a draft treaty to end production of the two essential ingredients for building nuclear weapons. But prospects for negotiations on the proposal are slim because many countries disagree with key elements of the draft and with the U.S. insistence that the conference only address this issue.
The conference, which operates by consensus, last produced an accord in 1996. Since approval that year of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, members held unfruitful negotiations for a couple of weeks in August 1998. Otherwise, they have been stalemated even on beginning formal talks.
Contending that the CD has spent the last decade in “nearly meaningless exercises in rhetoric,” then-Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker urged conference members to devote their energies to negotiating a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would outlaw new production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons purposes. Rademaker, who left his position May 19, offered a draft text with the stated purpose of spurring negotiations toward completion of a treaty before the CD ends its annual session Sept. 15. He told reporters afterward that the draft U.S. agreement was not a “take it or leave it” proposition.
However, Rademaker made clear the United States was only willing to negotiate on an FMCT and nothing else. Deriding what he labeled as “an unconscionable tolerance for hostage-taking,” Rademaker argued, “it is time for delegations finally to acknowledge that the package approach…will never succeed.”
Specifically, he said the United States sees “no need…for the negotiation of new multilateral agreements on nuclear disarmament, outer space, or negative security assurances.” The last item refers to codifying statements by nuclear-armed states that they will not use such weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.
All three issues are broadly supported among conference members, and the United States is generally recognized as the sole country blocking any talks on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Washington, which has plans to place experimental missile interceptors in orbit, contends no arms race exists in outer space, so such talks are unnecessary.
Still, both China and Russia declared prevention of an arms race in outer space their top priority at the conference. In the two days preceding Rademaker’s speech, both countries reaffirmed their demand for a “balanced program.” Similarly, the Group of 21 developing countries holds that nuclear disarmament is its highest priority.
Aside from rigid divisions over what topics should be negotiated, many conference members also differ with the United States on the substance of a fissile material treaty. The two most significant issues of contention are whether the treaty should address existing stockpiles and whether it should have verification measures.
Several countries assert that a treaty on fissile materials should not only end future production for weapons but also prevent existing stockpiles from being used to build new weapons. Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan further argued May 16 that stockpiles had to be dealt with because “inequalities should not be frozen and perpetuated.”
The U.S. draft, however, excludes stockpiles. “Existing stocks of fissile material…would be unaffected,” Rademaker declared. This is a position that China and Russia recently endorsed.
Rademaker also reiterated U.S. opposition to negotiating verification measures for an FMCT. He said it would be up to states to monitor each other’s compliance, and if a serious problem arose, the UN Security Council could be requested to look into the matter.
First enunciated in July 2004 (see ACT, September 2004), this U.S. stance broke with long-standing U.S. support for FMCT verification, as well as the CD’s 1995 decision to negotiate an “effectively verifiable” agreement. Washington argues that verification measures would not catch determined cheaters, while providing a false sense of security and prying too much into legitimate security concerns of states.
The Bush administration also asserts negotiating such provisions would stretch the negotiations out too long. “With every day that goes by, the value of an FMCT diminishes because there will come a point where countries that are currently producing fissile material have all…they could possibly want,” Rademaker stated.
That is apparently the case with France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which have publicly declared they no longer produce fissile material for weapons. China also is understood to have ceased such production. India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea have not renounced such production.
Other conference members disapprove of the U.S. verification position. Australia, Brazil, and South Africa all voiced support for verification measures in May speeches but said the matter should be resolved in the negotiations themselves. Japan and Canada took similar tacks, although Canadian Ambassador Paul Meyer warned May 16 that “an FMCT which proves ultimately to be merely a vague declaratory statement of good intentions about future production does the international community a disservice.”
In a speech the day before Rademaker’s presentation, Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad also argued that the verification question should be determined during the negotiations. However, he added, “[a]bsence of a verification mechanism may engender [a] lack of confidence in compliance with the treaty, encourage willful noncompliance, and lead to allegations and counter-allegations of noncompliance.” Following Rademaker’s presentation, Prasad said he would like to reaffirm his statement and that he hoped further talks “will help us collectively to move toward a consensus.”
Last year, the Bush administration unsuccessfully tried to get India to halt fissile material production for weapons as part of a U.S. initiative to resume civilian nuclear commerce with India (see page 44). Instead, New Delhi merely reiterated its past commitment to support negotiations on an FMCT at the CD. Other governments, some U.S. lawmakers, and many nongovernmental nuclear experts have criticized the administration for failing to secure a more substantial commitment.
Rademaker suggested the timing of the U.S. FMCT proposal had nothing to do with these criticisms. “As far as why we’re doing this today as opposed to last month or next month, these kinds of things take time within a government,” he stated. But Department of State spokesperson Sean McCormack said May 18 that the fissile material matter with India has “been an issue for some people, so we’ve put that [draft text] out there.”
Despite challenging the conference to conclude negotiations on an FMCT this year, the United States currently does not have a permanent representative to the conference. President George W. Bush nominated Christina Rocca, former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, for the position May 11, but it is uncertain when the Senate will vote on her nomination.
Rademaker used Rocca’s nomination as an occasion to imply that the United States might reconsider its participation at the conference if there was no action on an FMCT. “I urge all delegations to work with us in order to ensure that she does not serve as the last U.S. ambassador to the CD,” he declared.
During the Cold War, it proved possible to reach many significant disarmament agreements. Why does it seem so impossible now, when the great powers no longer feel threatened by one another?
Almost all of the talk is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers and their advisers meet again and again. All are concerned that Iran has enriched some milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level, and some want to wave the stick immediately, persuaded that Iran will - a number of years from now - violate its commitment in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to forego nuclear weapons.
It is desirable that the foreign ministers talk about potential Iranian weapons, but they do not seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other nuclear states. Many of these are on hair-trigger alert and might go off within seconds - deliberately or accidentally. At any rate, Iran's agreement to reduce the nuclear threat will be little more than moderately impressive if Iran does not take seriously its commitment within the Non-Proliferation Treaty to move toward the reduction and elimination of its nuclear weapons arsenals.
The stagnation in global disarmament efforts is only part of the picture. In the United States, military authorities want new types of nuclear weapons, and in the United Kingdom, the government is considering the replacement, at tremendous cost, of one generation of nuclear weapons by another as a means of defense - against whom?
And while one army of engineers works to knit the world together through electronics and satellites, another army is thinking hard about how to destroy the satellites. Preparations are made for war in space.
Last year, a United Nations summit of heads of states and governments failed to adopt a single recommendation on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to more states and to terrorists. For nearly a decade, work at the disarmament conference in Geneva has stood still. It is high time for a revival.
One can well understand that policymakers in the United States - as elsewhere - felt disappointment and concern that the global instruments against nuclear proliferation - the Non-Proliferation Treaty and international inspection - proved insufficient to stop Iraq, North Korea, Libya and (perhaps) Iran on their way to developing nuclear weapons. Perhaps this frustration lies behind the inclination to use the enormous military potential of the United States as a threat or direct means to preventing proliferation.
But after three years of a costly and much-criticized war in Iraq, a war begun to destroy weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, perhaps doubts may arise about the military method, and foster a greater readiness to return to global cooperation to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
A report with 60 concrete recommendations on what the world's countries could do to free themselves from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons is now available. It has been worked out by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, an independent international commission. As its chairman, I presented the report Thursday to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and to the public.
Apart from proposals for measures to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to more states and terrorists, the report points to two measures that could turn current concerns about renewed arms races into new hopes for common security. In both cases, success would depend upon the United States.
A U.S. ratification of the comprehensive test ban treaty would in all likelihood lead other states to ratify and bring all such tests to an end, making the development of nuclear weapons more difficult. Leaving the treaty in limbo - as it has been since 1996 - is to risk new weapons tests.
The second measure would be to conclude an internationally verified agreement to cut off the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes. This would cut off the supply of weapons material everywhere, and it would be of special importance if an agreement on nuclear cooperation with the United States were to give India access to more uranium than it now has. The United States has recently presented a draft agreement, but it is hard to understand why that agreement neglects international inspection. Do the drafters think that the recent record of national intelligence shows that international verification is superfluous?
Reducing the Threat
Here are some of the recommendations made by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission on reducing the threat of nuclear weapons:
• Countries should encourage Iran to suspend nuclear research and work toward a Middle East zone free of WMD.
• To prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons and material, countries must have accurate accounting and complete control of all weapons in their arsenals.
• All countries with nuclear weapons should adopt a no-first-use policy.
• Russia and the United States should take their nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.
• Russia and the United States should begin talks on reducing their nuclear arsenals by at least half.
• All countries should renounce the deployment of weapons in outer space.
1. WHO defers decision on destroying smallpox virus
Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy
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At the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recent annual meeting, member states couldn't agree on a new date for destroying the world's remaining collections of smallpox virus and handed the issue off to the WHO Executive Board.
"After prolonged discussion of the destruction of variola [smallpox] virus stocks, it was decided to refer the proposed draft resolution to the Executive Board at its 119th session for consideration," the WHO said in a report on the annual meeting. The board session is scheduled for next January.
Known stocks of smallpox virus are held by the United States and Russia. The WHO has postponed dates for destroying the collections several times since smallpox disease was eradicated in the late 1970s. Many experts fear that terrorists may have supplies of the virus. The known stocks have been maintained to permit research on smallpox vaccines and treatments in view of concern about the risk of bioterrorist attacks.
The WHO released no details on the discussions of a working group on the smallpox issue at the Geneva meeting in late May. But the Sunshine Project, a nonprofit organization that works to ban biological weapons, said the discussions generally pitted the United States and Russia against a group of developing countries that wanted to set 2010 as the date for destroying the virus stocks.
Namibian officials, speaking on behalf of 46 African countries, said those countries were concerned about the safety and security of the smallpox virus stocks, according to the Sunshine Project report. To allow time to complete current research, the African group proposed June 2010 as the destruction deadline, the report said.
The African group also advocated changing the composition of the WHO Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research to make it more broadly representative, the Sunshine Project reported.
The United States and Russia generally opposed the African proposal, with the US proposing only a "major review" of the issue in 2010, according to the Sunshine Project. But the Americans did accept the need for some changes in the advisory committee. The report said some diplomats described the mood in the working group as turning "ugly" at times.
A May 27 Reuters news report also suggested that the discussions were intense. The story quoted the chair of the working group, Suwit Wibulopolprasert of Thailand, as saying, "We have worked through several meetings—inside the room, outside the room, in front of the elevator, even in the restroom." But he gave no details on the sticking points.
The Sunshine Project report said the working group finally decided to recommend that a draft resolution including the 2010 destruction date be submitted to the WHO Executive Board. This proposal was adopted at the closing plenary session of the WHO meeting, the report said.
Recalcitrant Russian subcontractors working on a Pentagon-funded chemical weapons destruction facility have delayed the project and increased its costs.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office says the facility at Shchuch'ye is at least three years behind schedule and more than $250 million over its $750 million budget.
The facility is meant to destroy 14 percent of the Russian chemical weapons stockpile, but recent construction has fallen behind schedule "due to difficulties working with Russian subcontractors."
The fresh delays have cost the Defense Department more than $3 million a month since October 2005 and the bill is expected to continue to mount until a crucial subcontract is awarded, possibly the month.
The GAO warns of further future delays: "Uncertain progress of Russian construction on the site, unpredictable Russian regulatory requirements, and various technical issues, such as testing the facility, could cause further schedule delays and increase costs."
Coming up with an accurate accounting of the cost to complete the facility is hamstrung by the Defense Department's flawed "earned value management" computer system, which the DOD cannot rely on for cost and schedule estimates because it is populated with inaccurate data, according to the GAO.
Russia is supposed to destroy its entire chemical weapons stockpile by 2012, but as of March had only destroyed 3 percent of the 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons at two destruction facilities.
"To eliminate the remainder of its chemical weapons over the next six years, the Russian government must construct and operate five additional destruction facilities, including Shchuch'ye. The Russian government has indicated that it will need continued international assistance to destroy the remaining stockpile," states the GAO report, released last week.
Russian chemical weapons pose a proliferation threat as they are vulnerable to theft or diversion, the report warns. In 1992 Congress authorized the Pentagon to provide more than $1 billion the facility to help Russia meet the Chemical Weapons Convention timetable for destroying the stockpile.
The Saratov Oblast Duma is suing the federal government. The lawsuit will be filed in the RF Supreme Court because the operating life of the country's first plant for the destruction of chemical weapons in the settlement of Gornyy was extended to 2012. The complainants believe that a victory in court will stop the dangerous operations at the facility and entitle the people living near it to demand compensation.
The Saratov parliament intends to challenge RF Government Decree No 639 "On Amendments to the Federal Targeted Program for the 'Destruction of Stockpiled Chemical Weapons in the Russian Federation'" of 24 October 2005.
With this document, the Cabinet of Ministers extended the operating life of the chemical weapons destruction plant in the settlement of Gornyy in Krasnopartizanskiy Rayon, Saratov Oblast, for another seven years. The Saratov deputies believe that this undermined the "authority of the Saratov Oblast Duma." The 1997 Law "On the Destruction of Chemical Weapons," stipulates that federal government officials will reach an agreement on the "procedure and amount of work performed for the storage, transport, and destruction of chemical weapons" with the regions involved in the chemical weapons destruction process. Furthermore, Section 7 of this document obliges central government officials to seek the approval of the regions concerned for targeted programs of chemical weapons destruction and "decisions on the dates for the start and completion of the work of destroying chemical weapons" within their territory. In its petition, the Saratov parliament asserts that the decision to extend the period of operations at the plant in Gornyy was made by the RF Government "without consulting the Saratov Oblast Duma."
The Saratov parliament's petition will be sent to the RF Supreme Court in a few days. Oblast Duma Vice-Speaker Vyacheslav Maltsev will defend the region's interests in court. The deputy is certain of his success and has predicted that this will "automatically stop the chemical weapons destruction process" at the plant. "The plant can continue operating, but only as a plant. We do not want it to be used for the destruction of chemical weapons," Vyacheslav Maltsev told. The deputy is also seeking "compensation for the residents of Gornyy." "The damaging effects of this facility on these people will serve as the grounds for this," Maltsev explained.
The plant in Gornyy, where stockpiled chemical weapons began to be destroyed for the first time in our country in 2002, was supposed to have been shut down in December 2005, after all of the mustard gas and lewisite stored locally had been destroyed. In March 2004, however, Dmitriy Ayatskov, the former governor of the oblast, agreed to the continuation of operations at the plant. Now the reaction mass produced during the process of chemical weapons destruction at a similar plant in Kambarka, a city in Udmurtia, is being brought to Gornyy and is being processed there. The processed mass is being stored in Gornyy as well. Experts have not concealed the fact that it is impossible to neutralize chemical weapons completely. "As long as the plant in Gornyy has the status of a chemical weapons destruction facility, they can bring whatever they want here," Vyacheslav Maltsev said. "The English are ready to start working with their stockpiled chemical weapons -- 144,000 tonnes. Where will they take them?"
3. International Inspectors Say the Destruction of Chemical Weapons in Kirov Oblast Might Begin on Schedule
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The destruction of chemical weapons at the Maradykovskiy facility in Kirov Oblast might begin on schedule -- in the second half of this year.
Mikhail Manin, the head of the Kirov Oblast government office handling convention-related issues, told on Thursday that this was the opinion of international inspectors touring the construction site.
"The commission working at the plant on 23-29 May consisted of eight specialists representing countries party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, including representatives of Belarus, Ukraine, the United States, France, Argentina, and England. They visited the site to see the progress in the construction of the facility, check the construction schedule for engineering systems, and verify the facility's readiness to perform chemical weapons destruction functions," he reported.
The commission's inspection report will be sent to the Technical Secretariat of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), he informed the agency.
Manin said the equipment is currently being installed at the plant. "The engineering shop is almost ready, and so is the shop where the chemical weapons will be destroyed.
"According to current plans, the acceptance commission for the facility's main shops will begin its work soon," he explained.
According to earlier reports, the first section of the Maradykovskiy facility (for the destruction of nerve agents) was supposed to begin operating in July-August this year and the second section (for the destruction of other toxic agents) was supposed to be ready in 2007.
The plant for the destruction of chemical weapons in the settlement of Maradykovskiy will be the third such facility in Russia. Facilities were opened earlier in the settlement of Gornyy in Saratov Oblast and the city of Kambarka in the Udmurt Republic.
According to the international convention, Russia is expected to destroy 20 percent of all of the chemical weapons it inherited from the USSR by 2007. The entire stockpile is to be destroyed by 2012.
Russia ratified the convention in 1997. According to this document, the chemical weapons are to be destroyed in four stages -- 1 percent in the first stage, 20 percent in the second, 45 percent in the third, and all remaining chemical weapons in the fourth.
Before the destruction process began, there were 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons (chemical warfare agents) in Russia.
In order to review Russian plans to remove spent nuclear fuel (SNF) on board the storage ship Lepse , and the decommission the vessel, an international expert panel called the “Lepse Expert Panel,” (LEP) has been inaugurated. This group met in Moscow on May 23rd for a kick-off meeting.
The Lepse is a former nuclear service ship, now used as a floating SNF storage vessel, moored a mere four kilometres from the centre of Murmansk. It holds 639 spent fuel assemblies, the majority of which are damaged by a 1967 accident aboard the nuclear icebreaker Lenin. Bellona has been chosen as a member of the EU panel for its long time engagement in the difficulties of dismantling the Lepse .
The objective of the LEP, is to provide the Lepse Steering Committee and potential future donors a review and assessment of the TACIS AP 2002:R4.01/02 “Preliminary Design, Development and Approval of the Documentation for SNF/RAW removal from the FTB [Floating Technical Base] Lepse and its further Decommissioning”. The TACIS project is being carried out by the Russian Non-Profit organisation Aspect-Conversion.
The Lepse Steering Committee currently consists of the following donor members; the European Commission AidCo TACIS, The French Ministry of Economy and Finance (FFEM), The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign affairs and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). The Committee has taken on the following people as members of the LEP:
Curt Bergman, Consultant, Bjørn Borgaas, Storvik & Co Christian Deregel, Institut de Radioprotection et de Süreté Nucléaire, Anatoliy Shulgin, Russian Federal Nuclear Regulatory Authority Nils Bøhmer, The Bellona Foundation
The kick-off meeting in Moscow on May 23rd was followed by three panel meetings, which will lead up to a tender dossier that will serve as a background for potential future donors for the Lepse project in spring 2007. So far the total cost of the Lepse project is estimated at EUR30 million.
The Board of Directors of TVEL Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of nuclear fuel, has met to give preliminary approval and to send the 2005 Annual Report and 2005 Annual Accounting Report to the annual meeting of shareholders.
The 2005 results included sales of RUR30.023bn with a net profit of RUR3.09bn. Some 60% of sales were for export. Total output for the year was 3,284 tons.
It was noted that all contractual commitments regarding nuclear fuel supplies for the Russian and foreign power and research reactors met in full scope. In 2005 the Corporation allocated RUR 1.577bn for environmental, nuclear and industrial safety of its enterprises. The spending for research and development was RUR544mn in 2005.
Regarding the agenda item “Allocations of the Corporation’s Profits and Recommendations for the Shareholders’ Meeting on the Amount, Timeframe and Format of Dividend Payments on Corporation Shares”, the Board of Directors recommended to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting to approve dividends on the Corporation shares in the amount of RUR309.6mn, by 2005 results.
The Board of Directors was positive about the TVEL’s view to increase registered capital of two affiliated companies – Chepetsk Mechanical Plant and Priargunskoye Mining and Chemical Production Association – through circulation of additional stock. The money raised through the emission will be channeled to create new and refurbish existing production lines at these enterprises.
The Board of Directors approved Anton Yurievich Badenkov the acting president of TVEL.
The Board of Directors’ meeting was chaired by Sergey Semenovich Sobyanin, the Head of Presidential Executive Office.
Sergey Vladilenovich Kirienko, the Director of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, was attending the Board of Directors’ meeting.
2. Global Nuclear Expansion Based on Plentiful Uranium Supply
Environment News Service
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Over the next 20 years, world nuclear energy capacity is expected to increase between 22 percent and 43 percent, according to a new estimate issued by the UN nuclear watchdog agency. At that rate of increase and using current technology, there is enough uranium to last for the next 85 years, although the study says that fast reactor technology would lengthen this period to over 2,500 years.
Released Thursday in Vienna, the new edition of the world reference guide "Red Book": Uranium 2005: Resources, Production and Demand," was jointly prepared by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 30 industrial democracies.
Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy Yuri Sokolov told reporters, "There is plenty of uranium assuming the industry keeps moving ahead with exploration and new mines. The message in the Red Book is that, for the immediate future at least, they are doing precisely that."
Total conventional uranium resources are estimated at 14.8 million metric tons, the Red Book shows.
Of that amount, Sokolov said the nuclear experts are confident of 4.7 million metric tons of "identified resources," which can be mined for less than $130 per kilo. "We know they exist because we can see them in mines that are already dug, or in rock samples that have been analyzed for the next mine, or they can be inferred from the surrounding geology," he said.
World uranium resources in total are considered to be much higher. Based on geological evidence and knowledge of uranium in phosphates, the study considers that more than 35 million metric tons are available for exploitation.
"One important reference point to note is that in the whole 60 year history of the nuclear era through today, the total amount of uranium that has been produced adds up to about 2.2 million metric tons," Sokolov said.
If world nuclear capacity increasts 22 percent by 2025, the industry would require about 80,000 metric tons each year. If the increase is up to 43 percent, the industry would require 100,000 metric tons per year, the new Red Book shows.
"Those levels are certainly achievable based on industry expansion activities and plans today," said Sokolov. "They simply mean that the activities have to continue and the plans have to be implemented."
Critics of the nuclear power industry say the problem of waste disposal has not been solved and highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel continues to pile up in facilities that may release radiation into the environment, and may also be targets for terrorists.
The two major uranium producers are Canada and Australia, both OECD countries. In 2004, Canada produced 29 percent of the world's uranium supply and Australia produced 22 percent.
Most of the other major producing countries – Kazakhstan, Niger, Namibia, Russia, and Uzbekistan – add up to less than 10 percent of the total.
Over the next five years, new mines are expected in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Brazil, India and other countries. They would add around 30,000 tons of uranium of annual production capacity, about a 60 percent increase over today’s capacity.
Australia is going to study whether or not it should develop nuclear power, Prime Minister John Howard, said today.
Until now Australia has relied on coal for its energy, although 40 percent of known uranium reserves are found on the continent. Howard said that a panel of experts would examine whether it is "economically feasible to contemplate nuclear power stations in our country."
"I have always maintained that holding the reserves of uranium that we do, it is foolish to see ourselves simply as an exporter," the Prime Minister said. If the review backs nuclear power, private companies would be able to build and operate nuclear power stations. To date, Australia has only one research reactor in a Sydney suburb.
The United States, Russia, China and India, among other countries, have recently announced plans to build more nuclear power plants.
Sokolov said nuclear power expansion is a worldwide phenomenon.
"The spot price of uranium has also increased fivefold since 2001, fuelling major new initiatives and investment in exploration," he said. There is currently a revival of the uranium industry after the extended period of low prices and low activity.
The IAEA report makes the point that diverse sources of uranium enhance supply security. Sokolov says that any risk to supply security now comes not from limited resources or political instability, but from possible delays in moving from discovery to production, particularly if demand increases rapidly.
"One possible driver of a large nuclear power expansion is the introduction of increasingly stringent environmental constraints on power generation, especially on greenhouse gas emissions," said Sokolov.
"Nuclear power, including the fuel cycle chain from mining through waste disposal and decommissioning, has one of the lowest greenhouse gas emission levels of all power generation options – 1-6 gC/kWh of electricity – about the same as wind and solar power and well below coal, oil and natural gas. Given this advantage of nuclear power, a significant tightening of greenhouse gas emission limits creates incentives for an accelerated nuclear power expansion," Sokolov said.
The IAEA foresees continuing advances in nuclear technology that will allow much better utilization of uranium resources and may also help solve the issue of nuclear waste. Fast reactor designs are capable of extracting more that 30 times more energy from uranium than today's reactors, and they already exist.
These reactors can, in principle, "not only provide more effective use of uranium but also incinerate long-lived wastes," Sokolov said. "At the moment they need to be improved for better commercial competitiveness."
Officials in Russia’s nuclear sector have long eyed Central Asia’s uranium deposits. Now Russia appears prepared to invest in the uranium-mining sector in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in order to supplement domestic production.
In May representatives from the Russian nuclear agency, Rosatom, and Kazakhstan's nuclear company, Kazatomprom, held talks in Almaty. Kazatomprom head Mukhtar Jakishev and his deputy, Askar Kasarbekov, reportedly indicated that Russia sought to import up to 5,000 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan through 2012 (Kazinform, May 12).
Russia aims to launch several new joint ventures with Kazakhstan this year to both mine and process uranium ore, according to officials at Russia’s Teknosnabeksport (Interfax, May 12). The fully state-owned Teknosnabeksport already holds a 35% stake in Zarechnoye, a uranium joint venture involving Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
In April, Teknosnabeksport head Alexei Grigoriev said cooperation with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was one of the "most promising" ways to develop uranium mining. "Russia was previously unable to invest in the uranium mining sectors in these countries, but now it has changed," he said.
Grigoriev conceded that Russia's major uranium deposit, Streltsovskoe, was near depletion, while major Soviet-era deposits remain viable in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He also pledged to prioritize the Asia-Pacific region -- mainly China, Korea, and Japan -- in terms of Russia's future nuclear fuel exports (RIA-Novosti, April 19).
Russia's interest in Kazakh uranium hardly comes as a surprise, as the uranium-mining sector has been developing fast in Kazakhstan. Since 1997 Kazatomprom has upped the country's uranium production from 795 to 3,363 tons per year. Kazatomprom's "15,000 tons by 2010" program is expected to cost about $700 million. Kazakhstan's uranium deposits are estimated to contain 1.5 million tons of reserves (Itar-Tass, May 12).
On May 12, Kazakhstan opened a new uranium mine at the Vostochnyy Mynkudyk deposit in South Kazakhstan. The operation has a projected annual capacity of 1,000 tons of uranium concentrate. "The new mine is part of a program to raise the uranium output to 15,000 tons by 2010," Kazatomprom head Jakishev announced.
Subsequently, Jakishev made it known that Kazakhstan expects to complete talks with Russia and France on Kazatomprom's share in uranium enrichment plants by late 2006 or early 2007. "We start bargaining now," he said (Kazakhstan Today, May 23).
The Russian and Kazakh nuclear agencies currently cooperate in Ukraine. At a meeting of shareholders in the Ukrainian-Kazakh-Russian nuclear joint venture, UkrTVS, Kazatomprom and the Russian state-owned nuclear fuel producer, TVEL Corporation, reportedly pledged continued support to the fuel-producing venture. Launched in 2001, the project seeks to supply fuel to Ukrainian nuclear power stations (Kazinform, April 20).
Meanwhile, Russia is also keen to restore some version of the Soviet-era nuclear complex in Central Asia. Last April Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Rosatom, traveled to Kyrgyzstan to discuss bilateral economic cooperation. He was also understood to seek resumed production of processed uranium at the Kara-Baltin plant. That plant was virtually shut down in 2005, mainly due to the lack of uranium ore supplies from Kazakhstan.
In May, Uzbek sources indicated that the Navoi plant could launch a uranium joint venture with Russia in July 2006. The venture would mine up to 300 tons of uranium ore a year at the Aktau deposit in Uzbekistan, while Russian possible investments were estimated at $30 million (Interfax, May 3).
Russia is understood to seek Central Asian uranium for both domestic and export purposes. Russia's nuclear industry puts a priority on the country's energy needs and global expansion, Kiriyenko announced last month. He said that Russia must replace its aging nuclear power plants or NPPs. "In 2015-2025, existing NPPs will be coming to the end of their operational cycle and we should build new facilities to replace them," Kiriyenko said. He added that Russia has the potential to expand into global markets, including in the construction of NPPs and supplies of nuclear fuel (RIA-Novosti, May 17).
During a visit to Washington later in May, Kiriyenko disclosed plans to build about 40 new nuclear reactor blocks by 2030. He also pledged to increase uranium mining in Russia: "We have already agreed on a tenfold increase in funding for exploration and development of uranium reserves." Kiriyenko also said Russia faced no shortage of uranium and claimed that Russian stocks of uranium would suffice "for more than 50 years" (RIA-Novosti, May 24).
Russia's state-controlled TVEL has indicated plans to invest about 12 billion rubles ($444 million) to raise the country's uranium production up to 6,000-7,000 tons a year. In 2005, Russia reportedly produced 3,300 tons of uranium, or well below the country estimated annual consumption of 8,000 tons (Vedomosti, June 1).
In the meantime, the Kremlin also moved to boost state controls over the country's nuclear sector. On May 26, Sergei Sobyanin, head of the presidential administration, was elected chairman of TVEL’s board of directors. He replaced a lower-ranking Kremlin official, Putin's aide Sergei Prihodko, who had previously held this post (Interfax, May 26).
On June 2, TVEL acquired a minority stake in Atomstroieksport from Gazprombank, thus restoring the government's control over the major Russian exporter of nuclear technologies. TVEL raised its stake in Atomstroieksport from 2.2% to a mere 6.2%. However, coupled with Zarubezhatomstroi's 44%, now the two state-run agencies have a majority interest in Atomstroieksport, which has built five nuclear reactors in China, India, and Iran (Interfax, June 2).
Therefore, the Russian authorities have increased state control over the nuclear exports sector, presumably aiming at further lucrative contracts in Asia. Subsequently, Russia would need extra uranium resources to back up its ambitious Asian nuclear projects, not to mention the Iranian one.
4. S. Kiriyenko: 'We Will Put the Sector in Order'
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Three months after his appointment to the top position at Rosatom, S. Kiriyenko had a meeting with representatives of the labor collectives of the sector's enterprises and organizations. The meeting was held in the office of the Russian Trade Union of Nuclear Power Engineering and Industry Personnel and it lasted for an hour and a half.
"I feel that the objectives the president set for the sector can only be attained through the concerted efforts of administrations and labor collectives, and it is therefore extremely important for the trade union to participate in the decision-making process, starting with the discussion of issues," S. Kiriyenko said. He promised to arrange for interaction with representatives of the trade union on a permanent basis, because he realizes that they need complete and objective information about the state of affairs.
In his speech, the head of Rosatom concentrated first on the sector's problems, "not because there are more of them, but because the main principle wherever things are going well is 'do no harm.'" Moving on to accomplishments, he said that "according to all of the fundamental indicators, the sector has attained all of the objectives that were set for it in 2005.... Settlements with budgets on all levels are improving ... and the sector is spending less than it earns."
According to S. Kiriyenko, the nuclear defense complex is not only keeping up with all of its assignments, but is also capable of guaranteeing national security and competitive potential in the near future and over the long range. "This does not mean that I see no problems in the nuclear defense complex. I am fully aware of the need to base calculations on the actual rate of inflation rather than on hypothetical figures, the need to include capital expenditures in the cost of items, and the need for additional sources of funding (actually, the improvement of the economic status of defense enterprises with civilian orders has already been proposed), but I nevertheless want to underscore the importance of the competitive potential of the complex," he stressed.
The situation in the nuclear power engineering complex is different. For several reasons, it can only secure the attainment of short-term objectives. The main reason is the extremely slow replacement of aging capacities. Given the present rate of construction -- three years for one reactor unit, nuclear power engineering's contribution to the Russian supply of energy, which currently is equivalent to 16 percent of the total, would decrease steadily. The decrease would put increasing pressure on the nuclear power-engineering sector. This pressure actually is already palpable: Rates are rising at a much quicker rate in the traditional power-engineering sector.
The president's declared goal of a 25-percent share of the country's total energy supply for "atomic" energy will necessitate the construction of 2-4 reactor units each year, and the amount of time required for the construction must be reduced from 7-8 years to 5. "They were able to do this in the Soviet Union's medium machine-building sector," S. Kiriyenko reminded everyone.
Today Russia has a stronger incentive than ever to build new power plants, because energy consumption in the country is increasing at a rate far in excess of the projected figures in the Power-Engineering Strategy. The same thing is happening in other countries, and everyone knows that nuclear power plants are the only major source capable of covering the rising world demand for electricity in the next 20-30 years.
Now that the world has a renewed interest in nuclear power engineering, Russia has good prospects in the foreign market. S. Kiriyenko estimated our country's share at 40-60 gigawatts. "In essence, this is our second national nuclear project. It is a second chance to develop this sector, but this time in the civilian segment, promising major advances. We will not receive any orders, however, if we do not build nuclear power plants meeting today's requirements in our own country," the head of Rosatom stressed.
Nuclear power engineering also has to be developed for political reasons. Above all, it is a matter of defensive capabilities: The state cannot even consider the reduction of the relative amount of energy generated at nuclear power plants, because the nuclear defense complex cannot exist without nuclear power engineering. They share the same infrastructure, science, and personnel.
Second, the expense of liquidating nuclear power plants is comparable to the expense of developing the sector. Third, whatever type of energy we will be using in the future, it will be closer to nuclear energy than to the traditional sources. This means that the accumulated potential of the sector will be useful.
It is also obvious that the decision to develop nuclear power engineering cannot be postponed. If the necessary steps are not taken in the next few years, they never will be taken: People will leave and their knowledge and expertise will be lost.
Furthermore, the president has decided that nuclear energy should constitute 25 percent of the total energy supply by 2030. This means that at least 2 gigawatts must be added each year. Two reactor units a year will constitute series production or modular production. This cannot be started before 2007, but until then, in 2006, "internal reserves" must be mobilized to design the modern power plant. This assignment was given to the Atomenergoproyekt institutes and the Special Design Bureau imeni Afrikantov in Nizhniy Novgorod. Incidentally, S. Kiriyenko believes the three Atomenergoproyekt organizations should be united.
The sector is not ready for series production today: It has lost its construction complex, the technological chain has been broken, and each enterprise is putting its own interests first. The sector will have to be reorganized to meet the demands of domestic and foreign clients. A structure operating efficiently under market conditions must be built. S. Kiriyenko believes this should be a single, vertically integrated company. The most interesting example among foreign companies is France's Arevas. In terms of its organizational and legal status, it will be a joint-stock company owned wholly by the state. "Furthermore, I feel this should always be the case," S. Kiriyenko declared. He feels that outside investors should be encouraged to invest only in this company's "daughters" and "granddaughters."
The division of the sector is out of the question. "No such plans can or will be made. The sector should only be augmented. We have to restore what we have lost and gain what we never had, such as a machine-building complex for nuclear industry," the head of Rosatom explained.
S. Kiriyenko will follow the traditions of the Soviet medium machine-building sector when he restores order in his nuclear sector. One of these traditions is the membership of the sector's top officials in the sector's trade union. The new head of Rosatom announced his intention to join the Russian Trade Union of Nuclear Power Engineering and Industry Personnel as soon as possible.
Another of the traditions S. Kiriyenko plans to uphold is the sector's social orientation. He appreciates the personnel potential of the sector and believes the skills of sectorial personnel are an important competitive advantage and a guarantee of the attainment of sectorial objectives. The head of Rosatom told the trade-union leaders, however, that "increasing the wages and social benefits of personnel will necessitate more work of better quality."
He also addressed a matter of crucial importance to many in the nuclear sector -- the transfer of the ownership of facilities in the social sphere. "The transfer of the property the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade describes as non-core assets is not necessarily economically advisable. Careful calculations must precede any decision on the transfer of property. In addition, it is important to remember that the existence of these facilities at enterprises has a favorable effect on the psychological atmosphere of the labor collective. That is also extremely important."
At the end of his speech, S. Kiriyenko promised that the trade union's opinions would be taken into consideration whenever a decision might affect the social interests of sectorial labor collectives.
The uranium market faces long-term threats to supply as demand accelerates and question marks hang over expansion plans and the recycling of military arsenals, the CEO of the world's largest uranium producers, Cameco Corp. (CCO.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), said on Monday.
"There are big supply side uncertainties. Today's scarcity is due to the fact that there was no exploration done in a meaningful way," Cameco CEO Jerry Grandey told the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit in New York.
But the pivotal time for the market will come in 2013 when the nuclear renaissance that he predicts will lead to demand from new power plants in the United States, China and India.
Uranium is used to power most of the world's nuclear reactors.
Current world demand stands at 176 million pounds (79,833 tonnes) with supplies at 108 million pounds and recycling around 6 million pounds. The shortfall is met by drawing down inventories from military stockpiles in the U.S. and Russia.
Cameco produced 21.2 million pounds of uranium in 2005, around 20 percent of the metal's global production.
Global demand over the next year or two would remain static but was likely to rise by 1-2 percent a year over the next 10 years as attitudes toward nuclear power shifted among politicians and the public, Grandey said.
"If everything works as its should on the supply side then there will be adequate supplies to meet demand," he said.
But there were big ifs.
"In the immediate term you have a big risk to the conversion market over what's going to happen with the dismantling of Russian nuclear weapons ... Will they continue with the second stage of the dismantling program and at what rate?" he asked.
"There is some suggestion that some of the material available post 2013 might be unusable and contaminated."
Last week the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), jointly with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), predicted that the rising use of nuclear energy was expected to lift annual demand to between 80,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes by 2025.
It said secondary sources of uranium were now in decline.
Grandey said other potential threats to supply were whether major expansion plans in Australia would get the green light. He said the market was largely banking on these going ahead and already anticipating that diversified miner BHP (BHP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (BHP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) would go ahead with tripling output at its Olympic Dam mine.
Prices were also set to keep rising from the current $43 a pound. Uranium was trading at $36.25 at the start of 2006.
Soaring oil prices and international attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have thrown the spotlight back onto nuclear energy. Prices have risen from $8-$10 four years ago and are now at the historic highs last seen in the 1970s.
If they continued to rise Grandey anticipated that recycling would increase longer-term, especially in the U.S. where spent fuel is not reused as it is in Europe.
An appeals court tells a federal agency to study the effects of an attack on Diablo Canyon plant.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush and other federal officials have frequently warned that the nation's nuclear power plants are vulnerable to terrorist attack.
But when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission took up a proposal to expand spent nuclear fuel storage facilities at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, the agency said the possibility of a terrorist assault was so "speculative" that no environmental review was needed.
On Friday, however, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the agency to conduct such a review of the possible consequences of a terrorist attack on the expansion at the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo.
In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the commission violated federal environmental laws by failing to undertake the review.
The appeals court held that it was unreasonable for the agency to declare "without support" that "the possibility of a terrorist attack … is speculative … " and "inconsistent with the government's efforts and expenditures to combat" terrorist attacks at the nation's nuclear power plants in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Diablo Canyon case is one of five in which the commission said no environmental analysis of a terrorist threat was necessary in licensing a nuclear plant, according to court documents, but the first to generate a decision from a federal appeals court.
The ruling could have "a very important impact" on other licensing decisions around the country, said physicist Edwin Lyman, a senior staff scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, who has served as an expert witness in Nuclear Regulatory Commission proceedings. "Ultimately, this decision will make Americans safer," he said.
Jeff Lewis, a PG&E spokesman, said the firm might appeal. He said the decision "does not affect" current operations at Diablo Canyon and would have no effect on the construction schedule of the fuel storage casks there. He also said the plant "currently meets all NRC mandated security requirements."
David McIntyre, a commission spokesman, said agency attorneys were still reviewing the decision and would have no immediate comment.
The court, in its decision, cited the commission's own statements about attempts to shore up security at the plants after the 2001 terror attacks. In one instance, the agency had said it was "reexamining, and in many cases have already improved, security and safeguards matters" such as the size of guard forces at nuclear plants, clearance requirements and background investigations for key employees, as well as the design of plants.
The commission even set up an "Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response," the court noted.
Judge Sidney Thomas wrote in the opinion, "We find it difficult to reconcile the commission's conclusion" in the Diablo Canyon case "that as a matter of law, the possibility of a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility is 'remote and speculative,' with its stated efforts to undertake a 'top to bottom' security review against this same threat."
Thomas added: "It appears as though the NRC is attempting, as a matter of policy, to insist on its preparedness and the seriousness with which it is responding to the post-Sept. 11 terrorist threat, while concluding, as a matter of law, that all terrorist threats are 'remote and highly speculative.' "
The court spurned the commission's contention that it could not comply with federal environmental laws in this instance because of security risks. "There is no support for the use of security concerns as an excuse" to deviate from the law, Thomas wrote, quoting an earlier 9th Circuit decision that held "there is no 'national defense' exception to the National Environmental Policy Act."
Thomas acknowledged that the public may not be entitled to hear the agency's analysis of possible terrorist threats at a nuclear power plant. But he said that "does not explain the NRC's determination to prevent the public from contributing information to the decision-making process" as the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace attempted to do in this case.
Friday's decision "is really meaningful," said Jane Swanson of the anti-nuclear group that filed the case.
"The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have removed any shred of credibility from the NRC's stance that terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities are 'speculative' events that cannot be predicted," Washington attorney Diane Curran, who represents the Mothers for Peace, said during her oral argument in October.
Curran emphasized that under the expansion plan, 140 spent fuel storage casks are to be placed on an exposed hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. "The effect of a terrorist attack on the steel casks could be devastating," Curran warned in her argument. "Our expert study found that if only two casks were breached, an area more than half the size of the state of Connecticut could be rendered uninhabitable." Mothers for Peace suggested that the commission consider fortifying the casks, or putting them in bunkers, or scattering the cask storage pads over the site so that they would not present one large target.
Friday's ruling was hailed by California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer as "a victory for communities that live in the shadow of Diablo Canyon, and for the health of California's residents and the environment."
"President Bush and administration officials make constant public statements about the terrorist threats. Yet the NRC in this case concluded the danger of a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility is so minimal that the environmental effects of an attack did not have to be considered," added Lockyer, whose office filed a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of California, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
California's brief cited numerous statements of federal officials after 9/11 about the possibility of attacks on nuclear plants, including an alert released by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Jan. 23, 2002, which warned of the potential for an attack by terrorists who planned to crash a hijacked airliner into a nuclear facility. Four months later, a spokesman for the Office of Homeland Security said, "We know that Al Qaeda has been gathering information and looking at nuclear facilities and other critical infrastructure as potential targets."
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be the special guest of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the Republic Day parade next January. The Russian President has accepted the invitation with preparations having already begun for the visit, which is expected to further strengthen relations between India and Russia.
Russia was the first country to take cognisance of the ongoing negotiations between New Delhi and Washington on the nuclear civilian energy agreement and release fuel for the Tarapur nuclear plant. President Putin is also committed to backing the Indian case in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and has been keen on developing closer relations between Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi.
President Putin had last visited India in 2004 and had accepted an invitation last December from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the country again. The Prime Minister had met him twice in Moscow last year, first at the valedictory day celebrations and again on a state visit. The two leaders will meet again this July when Dr Singh travels to St Petersburg for the G-8 summit. The decision to supply fuel for Tarapur has earned Russia considerable goodwill in the strategic establishment here with Moscow in the market for supplying nuclear reactors if the nuclear energy agreement with the US is endorsed by the NSG.
A major defence deal with Russia for the supply of maritime reconnaissance aircraft is on the cards, although Moscow is now competing with the US government, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, France and the UK for this particular transaction. India is looking to procure 12 additional IL38 D aircraft with the tenders from the contenders having just been opened. Russia remains India's main defence supplier with experts here pointing out that the cooperation in this sector has been so close and "deep" that New Delhi cannot cut the links easily. Both governments have agreed in principle to joint production of military hardware and joint exports to third countries, which is expected to further boost defence relations between India and Russia.
President Putin has been personally pushing for closer cooperation between Russia, India and China. Lately, New Delhi has shown a certain reluctance to participate actively in this trilateral forum although Beijing and Moscow have been working hard to take their relations to a new level. Chinese President Hu Jintao was recently in the news for describing Russia as China's most important strategic partner and for maintaining that relations between them had reached "unprecedented levels". President Putin was also keen to include India as a full member of the six-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), along with Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia. The members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The US has been opposed to the SCO with defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, currently attending a defence security conference in Singapore, mincing no words in criticising the organisation that had passed a resolution asking the US to remove its bases from Central Asia. Mr Rumsfeld, objecting to Iran's presence as an observer, said, "It strikes me as strange that one would want to bring into an organisation that says it is against terrorism, the leading terrorist nation in the world, Iran." Iranian President Ahmadinejad is expected to attend a SCO meeting next month with the country keen on a full membership. Relations between the US and Russia are not as smooth as before with President Putin taking an independent position on Iran, Iraq, and China, which is now perceived as a major military threat by Washington.
Mr Rumsfeld also made it clear that he was not too happy with the SCO decision to keep the US out. He has been quoted by the news agencies as saying, "Our personal preference is for organisations that are inclusive and thereby have a better chance of being successful in addressing some of the critical, and indeed dangerous, problems that face the world."
1. A Historical Watershed for the Development of DPRK-Russia Friendly Relations
(for personal use only)
Today is a meaningful anniversary of what occupies a significant page of the history of friendly relations between the DPRK and Russia.
On 17 March 1949, 57 years ago from now, our country and the former Soviet Union entered into a pack on economic and cultural cooperation, the first such government-level pact.
The signing of the pact provided a legal basis for developing friendly relations between the two countries in accordance with their common interests.
Under the pact, the two countries have been cultivating a proud history of friendship by endlessly expanding and developing a relationship of cooperation and exchanges over the past period.
As a legitimate successor to the former Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has been paying profound attention to the implementation of the pact on economic and cultural cooperation entered into by the governments of our country and the former Soviet Union.
The great leader (ryo'ngdoja) Comrade (Kim Cho'ng-il) (preceding name in bold as published) has pointed out as follows.
(preceding quote in bold as published)
In this new century, the desire and demands of the governments and people of the two countries toward consolidating and developing DPRK-Russia friendly relations with long historical traditions are becoming greater.
The great leader (ryo'ngdoja) Comrade Kim Jong Il's historic visits to the Russian Federation and the Far East and Russian Federation President Putin's visit to our country were important watershed events setting milestones in the development of DPRK-Russia friendly relations for the new century, a clear manifestation of the strong desire of the governments and people of the two countries toward further deepening and developing DPRK-Russia friendly relations.
Our people are truly happy about continued positive developments being made in DPRK-Russia friendly relations in the new century.
Today, close ties of cooperation are being forged between the DPRK and the Russia in economic, cultural, and other areas amid an increasingly active flow of exchanges. Economic cooperation projects making practical contributions to the interests of the people of the two countries, such as the modernization of railroads, are being undertaken, and constant exchanges and visits are taking place in the areas of education and art.
Last year, the Russian Federation presidential orchestra and many other art groups of Russia visited our country, and, this year, the Central Military Band of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense visited our country, bringing joy to our people marking the meaningful holiday of February.
In that process, Russian art groups conveyed the Russian people's thoughts of friendship toward the Korean people and let our people learn more about the Russian people's ideology, sentiment, and aspirations.
It served as a good opportunity to promote mutual understanding and consolidate ties of friendship between the people of the DPRK and Russia.
Today, the Russian people are achieving many accomplishments in realizing the great cause of building a powerful state under the leadership of President Putin. They are increasing the country's external authority and its clout and influence on international issues by keeping a tight grasp on strengthening defense capabilities as a crucial link in the construction of a powerful state.
The Russian Government is expediting military modernization construction by putting efforts into improving strategic arms equipment this year designated as another "crucial year" for strengthening defense capabilities.
It is directing appropriate attention to the need to maintain domestic political stability and improving people's standard of living, while concentrating efforts on improving and developing relations with neighboring countries in response to anti-Russian policies of the United States and other Western countries.
The Russian Government's position and efforts geared toward resolving fairly the Korean peninsula nuclear issue under a peaceful method and developing DPRK-Russia friendly relations constitute a positive contribution to the work of ensuring peace and stability in Asia and the world.
Our people appreciate the efforts made by the Russian Government and people in the past to expand and develop DPRK-Russia friendly relations in many areas and hope that everything goes well in Russia.
The pact on economic and cultural cooperation between the governments of the DPRK and Russia will demonstrate its vitality fully in further expanding and developing the relationship of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
1. Committee on House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations - Statement of Thomas H. Kean Chair, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Federal News Service
(for personal use only)
Chairman Shays, Ranking Member Kucinich, members of this distinguished panel: It is an honor and privilege to appear before you today, to testify about the status of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
It is almost two years since the 9/11 Commission completed the largest investigation of the U.S. government in history. The mandate of the Commission was to "investigate and report to the President and Congress on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures that can be taken to prevent acts of terrorism."
We found that our government failed in its duty to protect us on September 11. We found failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management. We made 41 recommendations to ensure that we were doing everything possible to prevent another attack.
After the Commission ended, we formed a non-profit organization, the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, for the purpose of public education on behalf of our recommendations.
Many of the Commission's recommendations, including those to reorganize the Intelligence Community, were taken up by the Congress and enacted in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
Changing the Law - only the first step
We also understood that changing the law is only the first step in changing public policy. No law is self-executing. Implementation is often the more difficult step. The Public Discourse Project tracked both legislation and implementation of the Commission's recommendations and issued a report card in December 2005.
That Report Card contained one "A," twelve "Bs," ten "Cs," twelve "Ds," four "Fs" and two "Incompletes." In other words, we found a very mixed record. We have continued to track those recommendations since we issued the report card. Our perspective six months later is about the same. There still is a great deal we can and should do to protect the American people.
So what do we need to do? We analyzed the 41 recommendations from another standpoint: Where do we need legislation, and where do we need work on implementation?
We found that roughly half of the Commission's were addressed by legislation, primarily in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.
The bigger problem, we have found, is the challenge of implementation. Even when the letter of our recommendations was written into law, implementation has been lagging. In some cases, implementation can be expected to take years. In every case, Congress needs to provide robust oversight to ensure that reforms are carried out.
For this reason, we welcome and strongly support the bill H.R. 5017 introduced by Chairman Shays and Representative Maloney. HR 5017, a bill to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, changes the law where necessary to carry out the Commission's recommendations.
Just as importantly, H.R. 5017 shines a bright light on the question of implementation and ensuring that Executive branch agencies stay focused on carrying out what the law already requires.
We believe our time before you today is best spent focusing on a few issues, where the attention of the Congress is most necessary.
Homeland Security Funding
First, scarce homeland security dollars must be allocated wisely. Right now, those funds are spread around more like revenue- sharing projects. Pork barrel politics is a time-honored approach in Washington, but the pork-barrel approach must not prevail
In our report we recommended that homeland security funds be allocated on the basis of the greatest risks and vulnerabilities of attack. Secretary Chertoff has stated many times the position of the Administration in support of funding based on risks and vulnerabilities - a position we strongly support.
Therefore, we are surprised and disappointed that analysis by the Department of Homeland Security has led to proposed cuts in homeland security funding for New York City and Washington, D.C.
The terrorists targeted New York and Washington. So far as we know, they continue to target symbols of American power.
It defies our understanding of the nature of the threat to reduce funding designed to protect New York and Washington. We await further explanation. Last year, the House of Representatives passed a very good bill - three times - that would focus scarce resources on the greatest risks and vulnerabilities.
On two separate occasions -- including most recently the conference Committee on renewal of the PATRIOT Act earlier this year - the House provision on homeland security funding was in conference with the Senate. In both cases, nothing emerged from the conference. Senate conferees rejected the House position.
The Public Discourse Project gave the Congress an "F" because of its failure to act on a risk-based & vulnerability-based formula for homeland security funding. A letter grade of failure is fully deserved.
Unless and until the Congress sends a bill to the President allocating homeland security funding on the basis of risk, scarce dollars will continue to be squandered.
Plans for Emergency Response
States and localities need to practice their plans for emergency response. Hurricane Katrina taught us again a lesson that we should have learned from 9/11. Every metropolitan area and every locality needs to have a working response plan that embraces the Unified Incident Command System.
A response plan needs to be practiced and exercised regularly. You cannot wait for a disaster to hit and then look for the plan. All first responders need to know from the moment they learn of a disaster who is in charge and what their job will be.
The Department of Homeland Security requires a Unified Incident Command System to be in place or states will be unable to receive homeland security funding after October 1, 2006. That's a good provision - as far as it goes.
During Katrina, Louisiana and New Orleans had a paper plan, but it wasn't executed when it was most needed. DHS needs to make sure that these plans are living documents, that first responders have practiced working together.
If you are a first responder and you are talking to your counterpart for the first time the day a disaster hits, your emergency response plan will fail.
Broadcast Spectrum for Public Safety
First responders still do not have the ability to communicate with each other effectively. The Commission recommended that Congress expedite for public safety purposes the allocation of a slice of the broadcast spectrum ideal for emergency communications.
Those frequencies - able to get messages through concrete and steel high-rises without difficulty - are now held by TV broadcasters. They have been promised for public safety purposes for a decade, and will finally be turned over to first responders in February, 2009.
HR 5017 includes the text of the Homeland Emergency Response Act (the HERO Act) to provide this broadcast spectrum to first responders much earlier, by January 1, 2007. We strongly endorse this earlier date.
The reason for an early date is simple: Who can say that no disaster will strike before 2009? Why should public safety have to be put on hold for the next three years in order to accommodate the broadcast industry? It is scandalous, and we call on the Congress to act.
Progress on information sharing is still lagging. As the Commission's report documented again and again, we missed opportunities to disrupt the 9/11 plot because of the failure to share information.
The federal government is doing a better job sharing terrorist threat information within its own structure, but there are still huge gaps in information-sharing with state and local authorities.
The first presidential-appointed Program Manager for Information Sharing did not receive the support he needed to carry out his task. There is now a new Program Manager, but precious time and momentum was lost.
An important milestone is a report due on June 14 from the Program Manager for Information Sharing and the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
That report will provide detailed guidance for an Information Sharing Environment, due to be created by December 2006. I urge this Committee to review that report carefully, as it will be the blueprint for future information sharing.
Both of us continue to hear about turf fights about who is in charge of information-sharing with state and local governments. We continue to hear complaints from state and local officials about the quality of the information they receive. The problem of information sharing is far from resolved.
FBI reform has been moving in the right direction, but has been far too slow. These problems have been well-documented not only by the Commission, but by the Department of Justice's Inspector General, and the excellent work of the National Academy of Public Administration.
Numerous problems still impede the Bureau: failure to improve the FBI's inadequate information technology; continuing deficiencies in the FBI's analytic capabilities; shortfalls in information sharing; too much turnover in the workforce and bureau leadership, and insufficient investment in human capital and training.
We have great respect for the reform efforts of Director Mueller. There are steps forward, and sometimes -- with computer systems, for example -- steps backward. The Bureau is still struggling.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
We have taken a special interest in the work of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, which we recommended and the Congress created. It is the only office within the Executive branch to look across the government at the actions we are taking to protect ourselves, to ensure that privacy and civil liberties concerns are appropriately considered.
It is our belief that the government needs strong powers in order to protect us. It is also our belief that there needs to be a strong voice within the Executive branch on behalf of the individual, and on behalf of civil liberties.
We commend you for inviting the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board to testify before you. We have had the opportunity to speak with them, and we want to do everything we can to encourage their work.
The Board needs to move forward smartly with its important mission. Stories we read in the newspaper every day point up the importance of a strong voice and a second opinion within the Executive branch before it goes ahead with controversial information-gathering measures.
Airline Passenger Screening
We still do not screen passengers against a comprehensive terrorism watchlist before they get on an airplane. The airlines do the name-checking, and the government wants to protect sensitive information and therefore does not share all names on its watchlist with the airlines. So the airlines screen passengers against an incomplete list.
The solution, recommended by the Commission, is a straightforward one: the government should do the name checking of all passengers against its own comprehensive watchlist. As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, there seems to be little prospect that we will achieve this solution soon.
The problems that stand in the way of this solution are multiple: Poor management at the Transportation Security Administration is one. Attempts to integrate commercial data into the screening process are another, and they have set off a host of civil liberties and privacy issues. There are also many questions about the security of personal data. The proper solution to passenger screening appears to be delayed indefinitely.
Congress needs powerful Intelligence and Homeland Security oversight Committees. The Congress has provided powerful authorities to the Executive branch in order to protect us against terrorism -- and now it needs to be an effective check and balance on the Executive.
Because so much information is classified, Congress is the only source of independent oversight on the full breadth of intelligence and homeland security issues before our country. Turf battles have kept the oversight committees weak. They need stronger powers over the budget, and exclusive jurisdiction.
The Congress cannot play its proper role as a check and balance on the actions of the Executive if its oversight committees are weak. To protect our freedoms we need robust oversight.
Stopping Terrorists from Gaining Access to Nuclear Materials
Finally, preventing terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons must be elevated above all other problems of national security. Nuclear terrorism would have a devastating impact on our people, economy and way of life. The Commission called for "a maximum effort" against this threat.
Given the potential for catastrophic destruction, our current efforts fall far short of what we need to do.
We see increased efforts by the Administration to improve nuclear detection technology at our ports and borders. These are good steps. But we cannot be safe if we rely only on our last line of defense to protect us.
We need a much stronger, forward leaning policy: to secure nuclear materials at sites outside of the United States. If those sites are secure, the terrorists cannot get nuclear materials. If the terrorists cannot get nuclear materials, they cannot build nuclear bombs.
The President should request the personnel and resources, and provide the domestic and international leadership, to secure all weapons grade nuclear material as soon as possible - in the former Soviet Union and the rest of the world. There is simply no higher priority on the national security agenda.
As we review our recommendations, it is clear that so much more needs to be done and there is little time left to do it. The terrorists will not wait.
If we can make progress on our recommendations, we will make significant progress in providing for the common defense, the first purpose of government. The task before us is urgent.
We thank you for your time and attention, and we look forward to your questions.
2. Transcript of Meeting with the Leaders of the News Agencies of G8 Member Countries
G8 2006 Summit Website
(for personal use only)
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon dear gentlemen!
I am very glad to meet with you in Moscow. I want to thank you for accepting your Russian colleagues’ invitation.
Your are the heads of the largest international news agencies and your companies definitely occupy a special place among the international media.
It is through your news reports that the world learns about the majority of events that take place on our planet. The materials and facts that your reporters obtain become the basis of news programmes, radio broadcasts, and editorials in newspapers and magazines.
Independently of your national origin, there are common and truly professional principles that unite you in your work. Principles such as efficiency and the desire to obtain the freshest, most objective and trustworthy information. All of this unites different countries’ news agencies and establishes them as partners in international cooperation in the sphere of information. I know that you have been successful in exchanging information and developing joint media projects, including with your Russian colleagues. And I believe that in practice you were convinced of their high level of professionalism.
I shall point out that even in older times national news agencies developed as the world’s major suppliers of information. In new democratic Russia they are also assuming their role as information agencies on a global scale. And each year their potential, technical capabilities and network of correspondents, including those in foreign countries, increases.
It is especially important to note that the role and scale of independent agencies continues to increase and develop in today’s world.
Soon journalists from your companies will report on the G8 summit St Petersburg. This is really one of the world’s most significant events. Issues on its agenda have truly global implications and are pressing issues for more countries than simply the G8 member states.
We sincerely hope that your work will be successful and interesting, and expect that the leading international news reports will contain full and objective information on all the issues and events that take place in St Petersburg.
For our part we will try to do everything possible to provide the media with the best organizational and technical conditions for going about their work.
Before the summit I would like to quickly go over the fundamental points on the agenda that we are putting forward for discussion.
This is Russia’s first G8 presidency and we suggested emphasizing the three themes that you already know. I will just remind you that these themes are international energy security, the fight against infectious diseases and education. We chose these themes as priority ones in part because they can improve the quality of life of millions of people and, as a whole, ensure that humanity develops in a stable and positive way.
Russia’s strategy for ensuring international energy security remains as it always was and is well known. We want to form a stable system of legal, political and economic relations that ensures a reliable demand and stable offer of energy resources on the international market. Of course, on the conditions of all necessary measures to ensure technological and environmental safety.
We consider one of the main tasks to be further investing as well as incorporating new technologies into the extraction process, transport and use of traditional energy resources.
Global energy security is impossible without the development of nuclear energy. In connection with this we are putting forward the idea to create an international network of nuclear centres. Their goal is to provide new consumer countries with nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to simultaneously ensure technical safety and international monitoring over non-proliferation. Because energy resources are limited we consider it essential to develop a programme that oversees energy supply and energy efficiency. And finally, Russia supports improving the quality of protection for the major components of the world’s energy infrastructure. This implies protecting them both from technical threats and the threat of international terrorism.
We consider that one of the international community’s strategic tasks consists in fighting infectious diseases. Humanity has already achieved impressive successes in this field. Many very dangerous diseases which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of people have disappeared. Today’s pharmaceutical industry provides us with an effective means both for preventing and treating diseases. An international system designed to monitor large-scale diseases is developing actively. Along with this developing countries’ expenses in the health sector are still far below their real needs and this means that millions of people do not have access to many vaccines and medicines. And along with this even the richest states are not able to lower the levels of some of the most infectious diseases such as AIDS or tuberculosis. Recently the world was faced with an outbreak of avian flew. And we must acknowledge that the international community is not always able to react to epidemics in a prompt and effective way.
When discussing such serious issues we knowingly refused to make false promises and put forward catchy slogans. We consider it much more important to observe the obligations that the G8 has already taken on concerning the struggle against epidemics and, in particular, attaining the goals we declared at Gleneagles. I am referring to providing those suffering from AIDS with access to necessary treatments and increasing the international community’s readiness to fight against new diseases.
Regarding education, we intend to draw attention to several aspects. They include increasing the quality of education and making it easier to receive recognition for degrees obtained from different education systems. In connection with this we are proposing to create an international centre that will evaluate different education systems by comparing the amount of knowledge that students receive. Its main task will be to certify graduates’ qualifications and, in practice, provide them with access to the international labour market.
We also greatly value developing cooperation between research establishments, businesses and universities. This will allow to eliminate unnecessary barriers in the innovation process and expand the possibilities for launching joint projects. Russia actively participates in the programme Education For All and will continue to develop principles that help evaluate the quality of primary education. We intend to contribute a significant amount of money to this programme already this year.
The fact that population mobility is increasing requires creating special programmes to facilitate immigrants’ social, cultural and professional acculturation. This problem is so topical that your agencies draw attention to it almost every day. We see what is happening in other countries and it gives us cause for concern. Russia is country with a very large immigrant community and Russia needs more immigrants. Of course this is a very important problem for everyone. We shall certainly address this issue in St Petersburg.
In connection with this, we consider it especially important to constantly share our experiences as well as work and educational methods. Practice has shown that these programmes really do help immigrants find their place in a new society and, in general, act as an important instrument within migration policy.
Of course, this is not a full list of all the themes that will be raised during the summit discussions. We will absolutely discuss problems such as the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the settlement of regional conflicts and the struggle against terrorism.
We will also address the issue of helping the African continent resolve serious social and economic problems, develop health systems and other factors that influence the population’s quality of life. In general, at the summit we are prepared to examine any aspect of topical issues and engage in a joint search for answers to these problems.
And as a conclusion to this opening address I would like to say that we consider our G8 presidency as a continuation of what has been done by the G8 so far, including what was done at Gleneagles. We also consider our presidency as the stage that precedes that of our German colleagues who will assume the presidency in 2007.
I think that we have an Italian colleague who is with us today. Today is Italy’s national holiday. First of all on my behalf and on behalf of all the Russian people I would like to congratulate you and all Italians on this holiday. Secondly I would like to give you the opportunity to say a few words in connection with this.
Please go ahead.
B.BIANCHERI: Thank you Mr President for your kind words. They touched me very deeply. I would especially like to thank you for giving news agencies the opportunity to talk to you today.
Mr President, as you just mentioned in addition to the three basic themes several other issues will be discussed in St Petersburg. As we know the UN system is undergoing certain difficulties connected with the lack of trust in this organization and the fact that the UN does not have adequate decision-making capabilities.
Mr President, can the G8 and should the G8 play a special role in resolving international conflicts and global problems including, for example, a necessary UN reform.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Despite Italy’s national holiday, I will allow myself to disagree with you.
First of all, I completely disagree with you that the UN is losing its significance. Was there ever a time when the UN was able to easily and simply provide solutions to complex and contentious international problems? Was it easier during the Cuban missile crisis? And I could provide you with other examples.
And the fact that today issues are discussed openly within the UN and that the UN remains a platform for settling international problems rather than serving the foreign policy interests of any one state makes it not only more universal but absolutely necessary for developing acceptable decisions in today’s international arena. We do not have any other such universal international organization. We do not have any other such international forums that could replace the UN, including the G8. Along with this the G8 is an important instrument for coordinating positions as well as developing common approaches towards today’s most important and perhaps most painful problems.
But it is only a club for coordinating positions, while developing solutions, including obligations for participants in the international dialogue, solutions that constitute an important part of today’s international law, takes place under the auspices of the UN.
Т.КЕНТ: Yesterday six countries met to discuss the Iranian problem. If possible could you confirm what Russia’s position is on this issue – will Russia participate in economic sanctions against Iran if Iran does not agree with the existing offer? And will Russia participate in negotiations concerning Iran?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: There is a proverb that says if a grandmother had certain reproductive organs, she would have been a grandfather. Politics does not accept subjunctive mood. First of all we must develop common approaches with our partners, approaches that would be acceptable to our Iranian partners and that would not restrict their possibilities for using modern technology. At the same time these approaches must completely assuage the international community’s concerns about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear technologies that could prove dangerous for international peace.
What form these decisions will take will become clear in the course of discussions with our European and American partners. In any case we welcome the fact that the USA has decided to join the negotiation process. I consider that the American administration has taken a very important step. And this allows the whole process to take on an absolutely new character. In my last conversation with the President of the United States I agreed that Russia should participate in this process. Of course we will also participate in this process.
Our main position is well known. We are against the use force in any circumstances. That is clear.
We also think it is too early to talk about sanctions. We must engage in a detailed and profound discussion with the Iranian leadership. Only after that will it be possible to speak about the process’ prospects for development. But in any case Russia is ready to participate actively in this process.
T.GLOSER: Mr President, first of all I would like to thank you on behalf of us all for giving us this opportunity. I would like to use this opportunity to thank Mr Ignatenko, with whom we have excellent professional and personal relations, for organizing this meeting. He is an excellent diplomat, even in his official capacity.
My question concerns energy policy. Right now the oil price is very high. These high oil prices enabled you to establish a Stabilization Fund. That is proof of foresight. But my question is as follows: if oil prices fall again and the price of oil goes down to about 30-40 USD, what steps do you think are necessary so that the Russian economy could have sustainable competititve advantages?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: You ask about when the oil price goes to 30 or 40 USD. I would like to inform you that the Russian Federation’s budget is calculated based on an oil price of 27 USD per barrel. For that reason we are creating a very stable situation both for solving Russia’s social problems and developing its economy; here I am referring to the budget’s role in this process.
But as a whole one of the most important tasks that faces Russia is the task of diversification. We have a whole list of measures designed to make our economy more innovative. First of all, these measures involve stimulating our economy through the tax regime. We have already taken a number of decisions which involve certain structural changes. I don’t want to go into detail but, say, allocating research and development activities to expenses which, as a matter of fact, are exempt from taxation, and a number of other such tax measures have already taken effect and are producing the desired results. And we are planning other means to regulate taxes, for example changing the tax charged for extracting energy resources.
There are other means to regulate taxes that will be used to achieve these goals but, of course, that is not all. The government and the State Duma are taking decisions. We took a number of measures that encourage innovation and first and foremost concerning infrastructure. For example, the Law on Concessions that ensures that investors will receive easier access to infrastructure in Russia.
We made the decision to establish an investment fund which will also be used for attracting private capital towards infrastructure and we hope to create a partnership between the public and private sectors in this field. We plan to create a venture fund. We made the decision to establish high-tech zones with special administrative and tax regimes.
All of this together and also a number of other measures that we are planning will, I hope, allow us to increase innovation within the Russian economy. If this all works out – and I have not doubts that it will – then the changes and fluctuations on the world oil market and the prices of energy resources in general will not be able to affect the Russian economy in any way.
And of course one of the most important and perhaps the most difficult of our problems today concerns the development of small and medium businesses. Their development helps the whole economy develop in a stable way, just as it would in any other economy.
P.LUET: Mr President, I would also like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet with you. By doing so you recognize the role that news agencies play in providing news and establishing democracy everywhere in the world.
Just recently a vote was held in Montenegro, following which Montenegro became an independent state. Do you think this constitutes a legitimate precedent for regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia to become a part of the Russian Federation?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Russia never raised the issue about joining any territories beyond its borders to the Russian state. And we have no plans to do so.
Yes, Montenegro is a telling example. But it is not everything because there is still the Kosovo problem. Together we must understand and decide what are the priorities when resolving such problems. Whether protecting the territorial integrity of today’s states is a fundamental priority or whether our priority consists in defending the concepts of political expediency and historical justice, something that is perhaps more difficult to define.
I consider that we must develop uniform rules, norms and approaches to punctual events in different regions of the world. Otherwise there will be chaos. Since when we hear that in one region of the world or in part of Europe – just a stone’s throw away by Russian standards – one approach is possible yet in another place such an approach would be absolutely inappropriate, it is difficult for us to understand why. And I am not even speaking about the difficulty of explaining this approach to one’s citizens.
Because if someone considers that it is possible for certain territories that have difficult relations with the state in which they are to become independent, if such precedents arise, then they will have a negative influence not only in post-Soviet space. These precedents will also carry negative implications for the so-called rich countries of Europe. It will not only be difficult to explain to the inhabitants of South Ossetia or Abkhazia why Kosovar Albanians can separate from the country they are now formally a part of, but that they can’t. What will happen in Spain or in France? Or even in Italy where many different groups want to separate?
I am very worried about this. And I would like Russia’s concern to be transmitted and shared by all. We must understand that this is not a sports competition in which someone wins something back from someone else. Defining general principles and skillfully protecting those principles will act as an important measure in ensuring the future stability of international relations.
М.TROTA: Mr President, many thanks for agreeing to meet with us.
I would like to come back to the energy issue. For over 40 years Russia and Europe’s energy relations were harmonious ones. However some partners are now arguing about the reliability of Russian deliveries of energy resources. Europeans look a bit strangely at Gazprom’s efforts to start working in the European market. On the other hand, there are many countries who want more liberalization in the Russian energy market and I would say that they are trying to obtain their share of the Russian gas and oil markets. Is this a temporary phenomenon? Or is it the end of harmonious relations between Russia and Europe in the energy sector?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I consider that our business partners, especially European ones, never doubted and today do not doubt that their Russian partners are responsible. And we see such issues and their positions as a means to incite us to make one-sided decisions which would satisfy our partners and but would not be in the interests of the Russian economy. In our opinion this is just competition.
Russia has been delivering energy to Europe for 40 years. There was never a day or any hour that witnessed a failure. And at the beginning of this year Russia provided full, and I want to stress it, the full amount of deliveries to our western European partners and European consumers. To understand why Ukraine, a transit country, illegally siphoned off a significant part of European resources you must not ask us you must ask Ukraine. And let’s not complicate things unnecessarily. Let’s talk directly and honestly about this problem.
Our western friends supported the ‘orange events’ in Ukraine in a very active way. We see perfectly well what is happening there the whole time. The country has been faced with a great deal of problems. But if you want to support what happens there in the future, then you will have to pay for it. Why should we pay for that?
Everyone is well aware that over the last 15 years Russia subsidized the Ukrainian economy by a sum that amounted to three to five billion USD each year. I want to emphasize that we did this every year. And each year we raised the issue of whether we should change to the European regime for determining prices.
Let’s work out uniform rules together. You, for example, represent a German news agency. Why should German consumers pay 250 USD for a 1000 cubic metres and Ukrainians 50? If you want to give Ukraine such a gift why don’t you pay for it? Why do you want us to give such presents? Take these three to five billion USD, take them from the pockets of German taxpayers, and explain to them why you are doing so. We have nothing against this. Pay up. That’s the first thing.
The second concerns access to our energy systems. I want to emphasize that they are our energy systems. The transport systems have been paid for by Russian money and the deposits belong to the Russian people. We have a very responsible energy policy. We are very cooperative during this teamwork. But we will always look for mutually acceptable decisions. Just recently at the Russia-EU summit we discussed these problems in a very frank, companionable and even friendly way, and this was very pleasant for me. I asked our partners a question and I can ask you the same question. What are we talking about when you try to convince us to ratify an energy charter and other agreements? We are talking about access to two types of infrastructure – infrastructure used in extraction and for transportation, which is first and foremost our main pipelines.
It should be a shared, mutual decision. So it is natural that we are asking the question: okay, our partners are allowed to use our infrastructure for extraction and transport but what will you let us do? Where are the deposits that we can help exploit? There are simply none. As a matter of fact it is very one sided. And many of our partners with whom we met recently in Sochi at the Russia-EU summit agreed that together we need to look for methods of cooperation that would satisfy both sides.
With the German company BASF we found such a solution. We allowed them to start extracting in one of the major Russian deposits. We evaluated their transport possibilities in Germany, actually an independent evaluation was made, and BASF allowed us to use its network for distributing gas. We consider that this is a very good example of cooperation and establishes a really new level of trust that joins our economies and establishes the necessary conditions for teamwork and trust. But no one-sided solutions will be accepted.
S.ISIKABA: Mr President, thank you very much for meeting with journalists from the G8 countries.
Allow me to ask a question that presents a mutual interest and concerns Russian-Japanese relations.
As you know 50 years have passed since diplomatic relations were established between the Russian Federation and Japan. According to the 1956 declaration, after signing a peace treaty Russia should give two islands, Habomai and Shikotan, to Japan. Nevertheless, Japan demands that all four islands be returned. It is for this reason that even today a peace treaty has not been signed.
In your opinion, is there a third way or a conciliatory solution to this problem? Or it would it be possible to establish a special legal zone to develop joint economic activities in these islands? Do you think that such a possibility exists?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr Isikava, I should tell you that Russia never considered that she should give any islands back. But during the negotiating process in 1956 we made a compromise with our Japanese colleagues and agreed to the well-known text that you mentioned just now. It is true that the declaration mentions giving Japan two islands but the declaration does not state under which conditions or under whose sovereignty. These are all questions that the authors of the texts left open. I draw your attention to the fact that the declaration was ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the parliament of Japan. However, as a matter of fact, Japan unilaterally refused to implement this declaration even though Japan had initiated signing this document.
Several years ago, once again at Japanese initiative, we returned to this declaration. I can almost reproduce one of my colleague’s questions word for word: ‘will Russia agree to come back to the declaration of 1956?’ After a certain amount of reflection and a number of consultations within Russia we once again agreed to meet our Japanese partners halfway. We said: ‘we are ready’. And somewhat later on we heard that Japan didn’t want to. In that case, why did they raise the issue of returning to the declaration?
We do not want to dramatize anything unduly. Japan is one of our very important partners. And I can only regret that I did not mention Japan in my yearly Address. This was my mistake. Besides, Japan is not only an important partner today but a very promising partner for Russia in the future. We would like for all of these problems, all of this historical legacy, to be resolved. And we are going to look for ways to resolve these problems.
V.IGNATENKO: We worked together for several days. I think that we still have some questions left and we will still have the opportunity to discuss them.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to invite you all to dinner and we shall continue to talk there. I will talk more concretely and in more detail about energy issues and other ones, all the issues that we consider the most difficult ones.
But I can already add something to what I just said. Undoubtedly we will implement all our agreements and develop our cooperation. I will repeat once again that we only need to find adequate ways to satisfy our mutual interests. It is absolutely necessary that we do this. Without this there is no international cooperation possible nor is with Russia in the energy sector. This was always the case before. And we are not going to change the rules of the game in the future. In fact, our friends in Europe and in other countries are asking today that we allow them into the very heart of our economy. One of the colleagues asked earlier: ‘what will happen to Russia’s economy if oil prices fall?’ True, this is very important for us today. And they ask us: ‘will you let us in to the very heart of your economy?’. Of course the answer must be an asymmetrical one. Even today there are some decaying COCOM lists that limit the high-tech products that are allowed to enter the Russian economy. Why? The cold war has been over for a long time, the Soviet Union has also ceased to exist, yet the restrictions remain.
I can now give you the outline of the many issues and problems that we have and that we want you to listen to. We are not imposing anything. We have resources. We are offering them. You require them. Let’s search for solutions that would increase the level of trust and would allow us to benefit from long-term stable cooperation for many decades to come. Of course this is possible. And this is what we want.
Please, go ahead.
B.BIANCHERI: Mr President, I would like to add just a couple of words to what has already been said.
Thank you very much for inviting us to this interesting meeting, thank you very much for your openness and for your frankness in answering all these questions.
And I would just like to add, Mr President, that your idea to bring the news agencies that represent the G8 member states together was very successful. And we hope that our group will permanently work so that the news agencies continue to maintain contacts between them in the future. It will be some kind of Moscow Group, if it is possible to say so. I hope that we will continue this tradition in the future. Of course, provided that you support this idea.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Excellent idea. Thank you very much.
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