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G-8 Leaders Agree to Fund Threat Reduction Programs
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Wade Boese

Meeting in Canada for a two-day summit, President George W. Bush and leaders of the world’s other top economic powers announced June 27 that they will aim to spend up to $20 billion over the next 10 years to help Russia and other former Soviet states secure and destroy their nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons stockpiles and materials.

Under the initiative, known as “10 Plus 10 Over 10,” the United States plans to supply half of the funding; and Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom will attempt to raise the rest. Other countries, aside from these G-7 nations, were also invited to contribute toward meeting the $20 billion goal. A senior Bush administration official told reporters after the meeting that the Nordic countries are “quite interested” in participating.

Effectively, the initiative—formally called the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction—simply commits the United States to continue its current level of threat reduction expenditures for the next 10 years. Bush asked Congress earlier this year for roughly $1 billion in global threat reduction and nonproliferation funding for the coming fiscal year. According to the White House, the United States has allocated approximately $7 billion for threat reduction programs in the former Soviet Union since October 1991.

Specific plans by the other six countries remain largely undetermined. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice explained June 27 that because the initiative is new, “countries are going to have to go back and make commitments.”

Relative to the United States, these other countries combined have provided a modest amount of funding for threat reduction in the former Soviet Union, and it remains uncertain whether they will be able to match the U.S. commitment.

The United States and its allies identified future key priorities for the program, including assisting with the destruction of Russia’s 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons agent, dismantling Russia’s decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines, employing former Russian weapons scientists, and securing Russian fissile materials, which are estimated to total more than 1,000 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and at least 150 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

Any participating country will decide for itself what activities it wants to fund and will have to negotiate implementation details with Russia. Moscow pledged that it would grant such contributors the same rights and protections as it grants the United States, such as exemption from taxation and liability.

The G-7 countries and Russia, collectively called the G-8, pledged to annually review programs under the initiative, and they established nine general guidelines for their projects, including the need for the creation of milestones to measure implementation.

In addition to the initiative, the G-8 adopted six principles to deny terrorists and the countries that support them access to weapons of mass destruction. These principles include broad, political commitments to bolster border controls and to account for, protect, and destroy weapons-usable materials. The G-8 leaders also called on other capitals to do the same.

Posted: July 1, 2002