G-8 Partnership Needs More Funding

U.S. partners have formally pledged about half of the money they promised earlier this year to fund nonproliferation and disarmament projects in Russia, Undersecretary of State John Bolton testified to Congress October 9. Bolton added that legal and logistical obstacles in Russia are hindering negotiations to secure more funding.

At their meeting in June, the Group of Eight (G-8) countries created the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction—an initiative informally known as “10 plus 10 over 10”—which is intended to provide Russia with $10 billion in threat reduction funding from the United States, matched by $10 billion from G-8 and other countries, over the next 10 years. (See ACT, July/August 2002.)

Bolton reported to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that several large contributors have announced funding, including Germany ($1.5 billion), the European Commission ($1 billion), the United Kingdom ($750 million), and Canada ($650 million). Not all pledges that have been made have been publicly announced yet. Bolton added that countries outside of the G-8 might also choose to join the program.

Some countries have been reluctant to provide funds because previous projects have suffered from “poor coordination within the Russian government and among federal, regional, and local entities,” Bolton said.

In addition, he criticized Russia for assisting nuclear and missile programs in Iran and other countries. “Concerns about Russia’s performance on its arms control and nonproliferation commitments have already adversely affected important bilateral efforts and, unless resolved, could pose a threat to new initiatives, including the Global Partnership,” he said. Bolton urged the Russian government to take action to resolve these concerns.

G-8 senior officials are expected to meet later this year to continue discussions on threat reduction efforts.