"I greatly appreciate your very swift response, and your organization's work in general. It's a terrific source of authoritative information."

– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018

Key CFE Obstacles are Not “Subregional”

Peter Perenyi

Wolfgang Zellner’s thoughtful article (“Can This Treaty Be Saved? Breaking the Stalemate on Conventional Forces in Europe,” September 2009) reminds us of the contribution to European security that could result from resolving the impasse over the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. However, the article’s analysis of contentious issues in discussions of the treaty is mistaken in distinguishing between “Euro-strategic” issues, including NATO enlargement and its effect on the European conventional force balance, and two ostensibly “subregional” issues. The distinction has important implications for policy decisions on how to approach the impasse and craft solutions to it.

One of the issues that Zellner classifies as subregional is Russia’s continued occupation of Georgia and Moldova, which contravenes Moscow’s 1999 Istanbul summit commitments. NATO countries that are parties to the CFE Treaty insist that Russia must fulfill these commitments before they ratify the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty, which updates the CFE Treaty, notably by eliminating its bloc-to-bloc structure. The second issue is the Adapted CFE Treaty’s “flank” provisions limiting ground forces equipment in Russia’s Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts, limits which Russia rejects and NATO wishes to preserve.

Zellner’s article overlooks the negotiating history and broader significance of these issues, which extend beyond the regions immediately involved to the overall strategic relationship between NATO and Russia. Perhaps the most troublesome issue in that relationship is the rules governing NATO and Russian behavior in the entire former Soviet domain, which Russia refers to as its “near abroad.” The parts of that area where current or prospective NATO forces are closest to Russia are naturally the most sensitive. These are areas involved in the flank issue and the dispute over Georgia.

Zellner would resolve the Georgia issue by somehow updating the Istanbul commitments to reflect the reality that Russian forces will not be withdrawn soon. By defining the Georgia problem as less than Euro-strategic and ignoring the real basis for linking the Istanbul commitments to the treaty regime, his article seems to imply a resolution doing little to redress the situation. Regardless of “who started it,” the result of the Georgian-Russian conflict of August 2008 has been two Russian brigades in Georgia’s breakaway regions—a substantial Russian force south of the Caucasus Mountains, readily reinforced from Russia and within easy reach of pipelines relieving Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. In this context, the lack of verifiable limits on forces in parts of Georgia amounts to a strategically significant gap in the treaty regime.

Ironically, by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent, Russia has ensured their dependence on Moscow and Russia’s hold over a former Soviet space. In the light of Vladimir Putin’s 2005 remark that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century,” this consolidation of Moscow’s control, whether one motivation for Russian actions or merely a result, may serve as a precedent for Russia’s restoration of its influence by encouraging separatism on its periphery. Ukraine is vulnerable to similar tactics. Ignoring the implications of this precedent by failing to insist on militarily significant steps to begin to restore confidence would not enhance European security.

These considerations argue, at a minimum, for substantial verifiable reductions of Russian and other forces in separatist areas of Georgia. Such reductions, depending on their scope, could perhaps overcome a key barrier to Adapted CFE Treaty ratification or could constitute a significant confidence-building step that could be matched by, for example, providing some further clarification on future NATO force levels.

Complete or near-complete Russian withdrawal is unlikely if it appears that NATO would then offer Georgia a membership action plan, a step Russia’s intervention has complicated and delayed, perhaps indefinitely. NATO will not withdraw its stated commitment to Georgia’s membership, and even if it or Georgia were to do so, there is no guarantee that Russia would loosen its military grip on Georgia. Neither, unfortunately, will Moscow withdraw its recognition of the separatist governments. Russia has so far blocked a status-neutral solution to placing observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on separatist territories. But certainly, there are status-neutral ways to approach verifiable CFE Treaty reductions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. If it wished to pursue them, Russia could preserve its position by claiming consent from secessionist “governments.”

Zellner says the need for Georgia’s consent to the presence of foreign forces is a “political consideration.” He never specifies how the principle of host-nation consent relates to the CFE Treaty. It is integral to both the current and Adapted CFE treaties; it is strengthened in the latter by requiring explicit host-nation notification of consent, and it is the underlying basis for linking the Istanbul commitments to ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty.

That linkage is neither artificial nor an afterthought. The Adapted CFE Treaty would never have been signed if Russia had not first signed the bilateral agreements involving withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova. NATO made a public issue of the linkage between Adapted CFE Treaty ratification and the Istanbul commitments only in 2002, three years after the signing of the treaty, because Russian foot-dragging in implementing its commitments took time to reach a crisis.

Zellner points out that the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist area of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, has not blocked NATO states’ ratification. However, Russia’s occupation of Georgia and Moldova involves a violation by a major treaty partner and has larger implications for European security.

The problem in Moldova should be somewhat easier to resolve than the one in Georgia. The Russian force in Moldova is small, isolated by Ukraine and Moldova from Russia’s borders, and thus of less strategic concern, although equally important from a treaty perspective. Moreover, Moldova is not an active candidate for NATO membership, and Russia has not recognized the independence of Transdniestria, a secessionist region of Moldova.

The second issue that Zellner mislabels as subregional is the flank issue. The Adapted CFE Treaty’s flank provisions, by limiting reinforcements of ground forces equipment, stabilize large areas of northern and southern Europe where NATO and Russian forces are closest to each other. It would be wrong to suggest that this has no broader impact on European stability. The flank provisions cover not only the Russian Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts, but also nearby Norway and Turkey and, in the near abroad, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia. When Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania accede to the Adapted CFE Treaty, Russia will doubtless insist that all three be subject to flank restrictions. Renegotiating the Adapted CFE Treaty to drop coverage of the Russian flank would mean that, within its overall limits, Russia could theoretically bring any size force into its flank areas, while nearby NATO flank states could receive only limited reinforcements.

Zellner faults what he sees as a failure to address Russia’s demand to drop the Russian flank limits. Yet, Russia has repeatedly agreed to resolutions of the flank issue only to reopen it. The limits on Russia’s flank zone were eased in the 1997 Flank Agreement and again in the Adapted CFE Treaty. Last March, NATO offered to consider adjusting the treaty’s equipment limits—which include Russian flank limits—once the Adapted CFE Treaty enters into force.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, has publicly criticized the treaty flank restrictions as imposing unacceptable movement restrictions on Russia. Interestingly, however, Russia has made politically binding commitments outside the treaty to restrictions on two parts of its territory, the Kaliningrad enclave, bordering Poland and Lithuania, and the Pskov Oblast, which borders Estonia and Latvia and was excluded from the northern part of the flank zone by the Flank Agreement. At the Istanbul summit, Russia pledged to refrain from permanent stationing of “substantial additional combat forces” in those areas. This echoed earlier NATO pledges to refrain from “new stationing,” i.e., the stationing of “substantial” combat forces on the territory of new NATO members. Russia has since demanded that NATO define what it means by “substantial” combat forces. NATO has publicly offered to do so in the context of Russian agreement to a NATO compromise proposal calling for parallel steps toward Russian fulfillment of its Istanbul commitments and NATO states’ ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty.

It seems reasonable that Russia should reciprocate such a far-reaching NATO commitment on stationing. If a definition of “substantial” were mutually agreed and a similar commitment applied reciprocally to other areas of Russia, including the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts, this might be a useful interim confidence-building step that could spur progress. In the end, however, some legally binding and evenhanded means of stabilizing the flank regions by limiting force buildups must be found. It would be a mistake to conclude that the choice for the CFE Treaty regime is either permanent impasse or unwise concessions. A comprehensive solution will contribute to, and might require some parallel progress in, resolving larger underlying conflicts involving NATO enlargement and Russia’s desire for dominance in its near abroad. But, at a minimum, early  steps to build confidence in the CFE Treaty regime should be possible and could hasten progress.

Peter Perenyi is a senior analyst at ANSER, a not-for-profit research institute. Until July, he represented the Office of the Secretary of Defense on U.S. delegations dealing with the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The views expressed in this letter are his own and are not intended to reflect those of the U.S. government or any of its agencies.


Wolfgang Zellner’s thoughtful article (“Can This Treaty Be Saved? Breaking the Stalemate on Conventional Forces in Europe,” September 2009) reminds us of the contribution to European security that could result from resolving the impasse over the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. However, the article’s analysis of contentious issues in discussions of the treaty is mistaken in distinguishing between “Euro-strategic” issues, including NATO enlargement and its effect on the European conventional force balance, and two ostensibly “subregional” issues. The distinction has important implications for policy decisions on how to approach the impasse and craft solutions to it.

Why We Don't Need To Resume Nuclear Testing: A Reply to Senator Jon Kyl



In a Nov. 3 "Proliferation Analysis" published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball responds to Sen. Jon Kyl's October 20 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Kimball's essay is available here.

Country Resources:

Can This Treaty Be Saved? Breaking the Stalemate on Conventional Forces in Europe

Wolfgang Zellner

Overshadowed by more pressing issues—Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and global terrorism—European security relations with Russia have deteriorated dramatically since the late 1990s. Over the last 10 years, European security policy has been increasingly dominated by unilateral and frequently confrontational approaches.

As a recent report by the EastWest Institute noted, there is “a growing desire in some quarters to punish or retaliate rather than to solve problems.”[1] This is a far cry from the principle of cooperative security to which the members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) committed themselves in the 1990 Charter of Paris. Nor is it compatible with NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept, according to which a “strong, stable and enduring partnership between NATO and Russia is essential to achieve lasting stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”[2] Although U.S.-Russian relations are currently warming up, nearly every major security policy issue relating to Europe is still highly disputed; the list includes NATO enlargement, missile defense, military bases, energy security, conventional arms control, and subregional conflicts. The 2008 Georgia war was the definitive wake-up call when, for the first time, two OSCE states went to war against each other and one state recognized the independence of two entities, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, even though the other 55 OSCE states do not recognize them.

This development is all the more alarming because Europe in the early 1990s was the locus of the most comprehensive arms control regime in history. The regime’s core is the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which was signed in 1990 and entered into force in 1992. This agreement limits its parties’ holdings in five categories of military equipment that were seen as particularly relevant for initiating large-scale offensive action: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters. General limitations are complemented by regional ceilings in the center of Europe and at the “flanks” in the north and south of the treaty’s area of application, which stretches from the Atlantic to the Urals. The implementation of the treaty, which has largely been successful, is based on the detailed exchange of information and an intrusive verification system, under which more than 5,000 routine and challenge inspections have been carried out.

The treaty is based on parity between two “groups of States Parties,” identical to the members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War and their successor states. When the first members of the Eastern group of states-parties joined the Western alliance, it became necessary to adapt the treaty to accord with the changed political reality. The 1999 CFE Adaptation Agreement, which was signed at the OSCE Istanbul summit, replaced the treaty’s bloc-to-bloc structure with a system of national and territorial ceilings.[3] Regional ceilings were abolished, apart from the flank limitations. Almost immediately after the CFE Treaty entered into force in 1992, Russia became highly critical of the flank rule. As early as September 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent a letter to Western governments saying that “the cessation of the existence of the USSR, the adaptation of the Treaty to the new composition of membership—the dramatic development of several local conflicts and the large-scale withdrawal of our troops to the Russian interior” have created a new situation. “In these circumstances, the flank limitations acquire a unilateral and discriminatory character for Russia.”[4]

Today, the whole CFE regime is in jeopardy. The Adapted CFE Treaty has not yet entered into force because NATO states have not been ready to ratify it as a result of Russia’s nonimplementation of what are known as the Istanbul commitments: the complete withdrawal of its armed forces from Georgia and Moldova. Russia, in turn, does not accept any link between the legally binding Adapted CFE Treaty and its politically binding Istanbul commitments. In December 2007, Moscow unilaterally suspended its implementation of the original CFE Treaty out of frustration with the Western countries’ inaction on Adapted CFE Treaty ratification. Consequently, the Russian government no longer provides information on its treaty-limited equipment and refrains from accepting or participating in inspections. In contrast to earlier years, Russia is now demanding not only the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty by the NATO states, but also a kind of balance between Russian and NATO forces; a definition of the term “substantial combat forces”; the accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the Adapted CFE Treaty; and, most importantly, the “abolition of flank restrictions on Russian territory.”[5] This situation is by no means sustainable, especially because the parties are currently not engaged in negotiations. If no decisive action is taken soon, the treaty regime will collapse with incalculable consequences not only for conventional arms control in Europe, but also for the whole idea of a cooperative security policy with Russia.

Several questions need answering: What caused the serious downturn in relations? What role did the CFE Treaty play in European security policy in the past, and what will the function of the Adapted CFE Treaty be in the future? Most importantly, what options exist for re-establishing a viable regime of conventional arms control in Europe?

Origins of the Crisis

To sort out the diverse factors that influenced the CFE Treaty, it is useful to distinguish among the strategic, Euro-strategic, and subregional levels. At the strategic U.S.-Russian level, which is dominated by nuclear weapons issues, relations worsened substantially during the last decade. Relevant developments were the failure to bring into force START II, the termination of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by the United States, and particularly U.S. plans for a global missile defense system with elements deployed in Europe. A short-lived improvement in U.S.-Russian relations following the September 11 attacks could not reverse this general negative trend. Although conventional armaments are certainly linked to missile defense in the Russian perception, this issue was not the decisive factor in the Russian suspension of the CFE Treaty. It is not even mentioned in the decree issued on the matter by President Vladimir Putin.

The key issue at the Euro-strategic level was and is NATO’s consecutive rounds of enlargement. The first round, in 1999 (the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland), was still embedded in a cooperative context both by NATO’s announcement, in the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, that it would not deploy nuclear weapons or “substantial combat forces” in the new member states and by the signing of the CFE Adaptation Agreement in 1999. This certainly cannot be said of the second round, in 2004. In a far tenser political environment, seven new NATO member states were accepted, among them three former Soviet republics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and two flank states (Bulgaria and Romania). The accession to NATO of flank states is especially sensitive, given Russia’s continuous opposition, since the early 1990s, to the flank rule that limits its equipment levels, particularly in the North Caucasus. The Russian government is thinking in terms of a military balance between the NATO states and Russia; re-establishment of the balance was one of the key demands in Putin’s December 2007 suspension decree. NATO’s April 2008 decision to accept Georgia and Ukraine as future members has further aggravated this matter.

NATO enlargement can be seen as one of the most important root causes of the CFE Treaty impasse, but NATO’s deliberate linking of the CFE Treaty and subregional conflicts provided the occasion for the outbreak of the current crisis. The CFE Treaty regime, including the Adapted CFE Treaty, has always been focused on the Euro-strategic balance of forces. Thus, its contributions to correcting subregional force asymmetries are fairly limited. With the exception of the balancing of Armenian and Azeri holdings through equal ceilings and the 1996 Florence agreement among Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and (later) Montenegro, which was modeled almost entirely on the CFE Treaty, the treaty has not had much to offer for the regulation of subregional asymmetries.

On the other hand, the linkage between the CFE Treaty and unresolved subregional conflicts, in the form of the Istanbul commitments, has substantially contributed to the undermining of the treaty. Although it might have always been clear to the U.S. government that ratifying the Adapted CFE Treaty would be possible only on the condition of the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia and Moldova, at the NATO level this position was established only at the November 2002 Prague summit when the alliance “urge[d] swift fulfillment of the outstanding Istanbul commit­ments on Georgia and Moldova, which will create the conditions for Allies and other States Parties to move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty.”[6] A statement in the German government’s 2002 disarmament report demonstrates that this position was disputed within NATO before the Prague summit:

But some states are also insisting on the fulfillment by Russia of these non-CFE-relevant commitments [i.e., with­drawal from Georgia and Moldova] contained in the Istanbul Document. This would make the ratification of the adaptation agreement dependent upon the solution of some issues of rather less importance, and there would be a danger that the entry into force of the arms control agreement, which is of such basic importance for the security and stability of the whole European continent, would be delayed or even made impossible.[7]

The basic rationale for NATO’s linkage of Adapted CFE Treaty ratification and the Istanbul commitments is the idea that Russia’s great interest in the CFE Treaty would provide enough incentive for it to contribute to the resolution of the conflicts in Georgia and Moldova and to withdraw its forces from those countries. This expectation has proven false, and the experiment of using arms control as an instrument to resolve protracted conflicts has failed. In addition, Russia has followed the Western model and has established its own linkage between the CFE Treaty and subregional issues by demanding the abolition of the flank rule for Russia before the Adapted CFE Treaty can be put into force.

History and Future of the Regime

Undisputedly, the CFE Treaty contributed substantially to ending the Cold War in a controlled way. It removed Soviet superiority in heavy conventional armaments, thereby fulfilling its primary goal of eliminating the potential for surprise attack and large-scale offensive action. It mitigated fears connected with German reunification by limiting the size of German treaty-limited equipment holdings to ceilings that had already been agreed within NATO. Also, the treaty was highly useful in dividing up the conventional arms holdings of the Soviet Union among the eight successor states that are within the treaty’s area of application, under the Tashkent agreement of May 1992. All this was done in a completely transparent manner and verified.

It is far less clear, however, how the Adapted CFE Treaty can strengthen security and stability in the future.[8] A first contribution—for some experts, the most important one—is that the Adapted CFE Treaty would continue to provide verified transparency and thus prevent mistrust and a lack of information from leading to the emergence of new security dilemmas and related buildups of armaments. That does not mean that there would be a danger of a new, all-out arms race in Europe without the CFE Treaty, but the danger of specific arms races does exist. In an open letter to the Obama administration, more than 20 former political leaders from central European countries called for “contingency planning, prepositioning of forces, equipment, and supplies for reinforcement in our region.”[9]

A second benefit is that the Adapted CFE Treaty, if brought into force, would contribute to avoiding subregional arms races. This is particularly true for Armenia and Azerbaijan, where the lifting of equal ceilings would almost certainly lead to a new arms race that would undermine the chances for a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and could lead to new tensions between NATO countries and Russia. Another question is whether the Florence agreement can survive if its model, the CFE Treaty, collapses.

Third, conventional stability can prevent tactical nuclear weapons from assuming a larger role in Europe. If gross conventional imbalances exist, it might be tempting for Russia to deploy tactical nuclear weapons as a type of compensation.

Fourth, the impact of the collapse of the CFE Treaty would not be limited to this specific treaty but would influence European arms control in general, as well as all institutions and instruments dealing with cooperative security. It is doubtful whether the Vienna Document 1999 on confidence- and security-building measures could survive if the CFE Treaty failed.[10] More broadly, institutions such as the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council could be affected. Finally, the breakdown of cooperative security policy in Europe would have a negative impact on U.S.-Russian strategic relations. It is difficult to imagine that they could continue to improve if tensions in Europe were to rise.

Revitalizing the Regime

In recent years, there has been almost no public debate on the CFE Treaty. This has now changed significantly; in the past few months, a number of meetings and publications have looked into options for overcoming the CFE Treaty impasse. In May 2009, the EastWest Institute convened a discussion on the CFE Treaty, resulting in the publication of a paper by Jeffrey McCausland.[11] The EastWest Institute has also published a report on Euro-Atlantic security that deals with CFE issues.[12] Further, on June 10, 2009, the German Federal Foreign Office organized an informal, high-level expert meeting on conventional arms control in Europe; about 40 governmental delegations participated. The following section, which outlines three options for dealing with the CFE Treaty, builds on ideas contained in the two EastWest Institute reports as well as those contained in a book with 24 articles from U.S., Russian, and European experts, co-edited by the author.[13]

The first option is the easiest in terms of activity, but possibly the most severe in terms of consequences: do nothing, apart from starting the blame game, and wait until the treaty collapses. If nothing is done, it is only a question of time until one or more parties raise the question of whether the nonimplementation of the CFE Treaty by Russia constitutes a material breach of the treaty justifying withdrawal under Article XIX, paragraph 2 (“extraordinary events”). This option is perhaps not particularly tempting for advocates of arms control, but it certainly has its followers—all those who do not believe in negotiated arms control or who prefer unilateral military options to cooperative approaches.

The second option, NATO’s parallel action package (PAP), was introduced in the fall of 2007 and published in March 2008. NATO’s statement on the PAP says, “NATO Allies will move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty in parallel with implementation of specific, agreed steps by the Russian Federation to resolve outstanding issues related to Russian forces/facilities in the Republic of Moldova and Georgia.”[14] The PAP is the only agreed negotiating platform on the CFE Treaty, and even the Russian Foreign Ministry conceded that it “contains some positive moments.”[15] Several Russian demands raised in the context of suspension could be resolved within the PAP framework. NATO’s statement says, “NATO members that are not Parties to the CFE Treaty will publicly reiterate their readiness to request accession to the Adapted Treaty,” as demanded by Russia. In the same way, the alliance declared that NATO and Russia would develop a definition of the term “substantial combat forces.” The statement is rather vague, however, on Russia’s request for lower ceilings for the NATO countries: “[W]e would consider changes, where possible, to the level of equipment ceilings.” Russia’s main demand, the abolition of the flank ceilings for Russia, is not addressed at all.

The principal shortcoming of the PAP is the difficulty in imagining, after the 2008 Georgia war, “implementation of specific, agreed steps by the Russian Federation” (the implementation of the Istanbul commitments). A solution for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Moldova is still conceivable if Russian peacekeeping forces there are excluded from the Istanbul commitments, as suggested by one of the options in the EastWest Institute report, and if the focus is on the closure of the Russian ammunition depot in Colbasna, as proposed by other experts.[16] In this context, it is remarkable how optimistic German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were in their description of the situation in Moldova with regard to the CFE Treaty. In a joint article for this year’s Munich Security Conference, they wrote, “Through our dialogue with Russia, we wish to create the conditions for ratifying the [Adapted] CFE Treaty. A rapid solution could for example be found for the Transnistria issue so as to create a different atmosphere.”[17]

Yet, there seems to be no realistic way to resolve the issue of the withdrawal of the Russian forces from Georgia, where Russia has deployed significant levels of forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The expectation that Russian forces will be withdrawn from these two entities, even in the medium term, is as unrealistic as the hope that Russia will revoke its recognition of their independence. Therefore, the German government’s 2008 annual disarmament report was right to state that “[n]onetheless, developments in Georgia mean that the Parallel Action Package needs to be adapted with regard to the Istanbul Commitments.”[18] The only remaining question concerns the form this adjustment should take. For just as it would be counterproductive to simply insist on the Istanbul commitments in their current form, political considerations, particularly regarding the need for host-state support for any deployment of armed forces, make it all but impossible to simply drop them.

The third option of a larger “package solution,” one of the variants discussed in the EastWest Institute report, has much in common with the PAP but goes beyond it in two important elements. First, the report proposes “lifting territorial sublimits for the Russian Federation,” meaning the abolishment of the flank rule for Russia. In reality, it will be very difficult for NATO members to agree on this because of the strong opposition of Turkey and, to a lesser extent, Norway. Second, the report stipulates “negotiating reduced levels of armaments for NATO members,” which might be somewhat easier. Like the PAP, however, the report cannot resolve the question of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia.

This problem is basically one of subregional disputes and cannot be fixed by means of arms control. That is what the Istanbul commitments tried to achieve and why they failed, even if this is not yet recognized by most NATO states. If there are disputed territories, either they have to be excluded from relevant arms control agreements, or status-neutral solutions must be found. This is possible, as evidenced by the case of Nagorno-Karabakh, where hundreds of pieces of so-called uncontrolled treaty-limited equipment exist that are under neither Armenian nor Azeri control. Although the uncontrolled treaty-limited equipment problem has been discussed again and again, nobody made its solution a condition for ratifying the Adapted CFE Treaty. All in all, there is no ready-made technical solution for this problem, which can only be resolved at a high level and probably only within the scope of an even larger package deal that goes beyond arms control. Political leaders will have to decide whether or not Georgia is important enough to block a pan-European arms control agreement.

Finally, there is broad agreement among experts that the Adapted CFE Treaty itself has become outdated in certain respects. This particularly concerns the need to introduce elements that address subregional asymmetries between small states and between small and large states, an issue where conceptual thinking has only recently started. Thus, efforts to bring the Adapted CFE Treaty into force must be combined with the launch of a new round of CFE-3 negotiations.

Cooperative Security Policy

At the moment, there are no active negotiations on the CFE Treaty. Everybody is waiting for the new U.S. policy. Although Rose Gottemoeller testified in March, during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on her nomination to be assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation, that “helping to resolve the impasse with Russia on the CFE Treaty also will be one of my top priorities,”[19] nothing is known about what a new U.S. position on the CFE Treaty might look like.

The real problem is not arms control in a more technical sense, but rather the quality of political relations among states. Consequently, one has to ask what key political problem arms control, among other means, can address. An important answer was provided by Gottemoeller, who, in an article written before she joined the Obama administration, said the key task is “no less than trying to correct the major problem that went unresolved at the end of the Cold War: how to weave Russia, and Russian security interests, into the full fabric of European security.”[20] If the CFE Treaty fails, this will become nearly impossible. If conventional arms control in Europe, in the form of the Adapted CFE Treaty and beyond, can be revitalized, it could become an essential tool for integrating Russia into Euro-Atlantic security structures. Although instruments of arms control cannot overcome basic political disagreements, they can seal political accords.

Wolfgang Zellner is deputy director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg and head of its Centre for OSCE Research. From 1984 to 1991, he worked as an adviser to a member of the German Bundestag on military and security issues, including European arms control.


1. EastWest Institute, “Euro-Atlantic Security: One Vision, Three Paths,” June 2009, p. 1, www.ewi.info/euro-atlantic-security. The author was a member of the group that prepared the report.

2. “The Alliance’s Strategic Concept,” April 24, 1999, para. 36, www.nato.int/docu/pr/1999/p99-065e.htm.

3. For an analysis of the differences between the CFE Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty, see Wade Boese, “Executive Summary of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty,”Arms Control Today, November 1999, www.armscontrol.org/act/1999_11/wbno99.

4. The Arms Control Reporter, November 1993, pp. 407.D.85-86. The original flank area, according to article 5, paragraph 1(A) of the CFE Treaty, comprised Bulgaria, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Romania, and Turkey, along with several military districts of the Soviet Union: Leningrad, Odessa (today Moldova and part of Ukraine), Transcaucasus (today Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), and North Caucasus. According to the Tashkent agreement of May 15, 1992, which divided the treaty-limited equipment of the Soviet Union among its successor states, Russia was allotted 1,300 tanks, 1,380 armored combat vehicles (ACVs), and 1,680 artillery pieces. At the first CFE Review Conference in May 1996, Russia was given considerably higher flank ceilings. According to the formula “old geography, new figures; old figures, new geography,” Russia was allowed 1,800 tanks, 3,700 ACVs and 2,400 artillery pieces in the old flank zone, whereas the figures from the Tashkent agreement were now applied to a new, considerably smaller flank area. The 1999 CFE Adaptation Agreement raised the Russian ACV ceiling again, this time in the smaller flank area, from 1,380 to 2,140.

In 1990, the flank rule was of strategic importance: its aim was to ensure that armaments withdrawn from the center of Europe would not be redeployed in the flanks, creating options for large-scale offensive action there. Since the mid-1990s, however, it has lost its strategic relevance and can be considered a subregional issue today. See Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (1990), www.osce.org/documents/doclib/1990/11/13752_en.pdf; Final Document of the First Conference to Review the Operation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the Concluding Act of the Negotiation on Personnel Strength, Vienna, May 15-31, 1996, pp. 7-8, www.osce.org/documents/doclib/1996/05/13755_en.pdf; Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, p. 22, www.osce.org/documents/doclib/1999/11/13760_en.pdf.

5. President of Russia, “Information on the Decree ‘On Suspending the Russian Federation’s Participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and Related International Agreements,’” July 14, 2007, www.kremlin.ru/eng/text/docs/2007/07/137839.shtml.

6. NATO, “Prague Summit Declaration,” (2002)127, November 21, 2002, para. 15, http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2002/p02-127e.htm.

7. “Report of the Federal Government on the State of the Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Efforts and on the Development of Military Potential (Annual Disarmament Report 2002),” 2002, p. 87 (author’s translation).

8. See Jeffrey D. McCausland, “The Future of the CFE Treaty: Why It Still Matters,” EastWest Institute, 2009, http://www.ewi.info/future-cfe-treaty.

9. Valdas Adamkus et al., “An Open Letter to the Obama Administration from Central and Eastern Europe,” July 15, 2009, http://wyborcza.pl/1,86671,6825987,An_Open_Letter_to_the_Obama_Administration_from_Central.html.

10. The Vienna Document 1999 calls for an exchange of military information, risk reduction mechanisms, military contacts, the prior notification and observation of certain military activities, and other confidence- and security-building measures. Today, many of its provisions have become outdated, and the whole document would need a thorough review. See OSCE, “Vienna Document 1999 of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures,” November 16, 1999, www.osce.org/documents/fsc/1999/11/4265_en.pdf.

11. McCausland, “Future of the CFE Treaty.”

12. EastWest Institute, “Euro-Atlantic Security.”

13. Wolfgang Zellner, Hans-Joachim Schmidt, and Götz Neuneck, eds., The Future of Conventional Arms Control in Europe (Baden-Baden: Nomos Publishers, 2009).

14. NATO, “NAC Statement on CFE,” (2008)047, March 28, 2008, www.nato.int/docu/pr/2008/p08-047e.html.

15. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, “Russian MFA Information and Press Department Commentary on NATO’s Statement on Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe,” April 1, 2008.

16. For comparison, see Wolfgang Richter, “Ways Out of the Crisis: Approaches for the Preservation of the CFE Regime,” in The Future of Conventional Arms Control in Europe, eds. Wolfgang Zellner, Hans-Joachim Schmidt, and Götz Neuneck, p. 361.

17. “‘Security, Our Joint Mission’ - President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel’s Joint Article in ‘Le Monde,’” February 4, 2009, www.ambafrance-uk.org/Security-our-joint-mission.html. The conflict between the Republic of Moldova and its secessionist region of Transdniestria broke out in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and led, in 1992, to a war with 1,000 casualties and about 100,000 refugees. Despite 17 years of OSCE mediation, the conflict has not yet been resolved.

18. “Report of the Federal Government on the State of the Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Efforts and on the Development of Military Potential (Annual Disarmament Report 2008),” 2009, p. 60 (author’s translation).

19. “Testimony of Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State-designate for the Bureau of Verification and Compliance,” March 26, 2009, http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2009/GottemoellerTestimony090326p.pdf.

20. Rose Gottemoeller, “Russian-American Security Relations After Georgia,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 2008, p. 7, www.carnegieendowment.org/files/russia_us_security_relations_after_georgia.pdf.


Overshadowed by more pressing issues—Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and global terrorism—European security relations with Russia have deteriorated dramatically since the late 1990s. Over the last 10 years, European security policy has been increasingly dominated by unilateral and frequently confrontational approaches. (Continue)

Editor's Note

Daniel Horner and Elisabeth Erickson

Treaties in trouble are the subject of two articles in this month’s issue. In one, Wolfgang Zellner examines the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty. The latter was never ratified, and Russia has suspended its implementation of the former. At the heart of the problem is the presence of Russian armed forces in Georgia and Moldova. Zellner argues that reviving the CFE Treaty regime is critical and that the parties to the treaty should either exclude disputed territories or find “status-neutral solutions.”

Paul Meyer analyzes the prospects for a fissile material cutoff treaty at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Treaty advocates applauded the CD’s May 29 adoption of a program of work, but events since then, which Meyer describes in detail, have largely doused the initial optimism. Supporters of the treaty need to find a way out of the CD’s chronic gridlock or consider moving the negotiations to another venue, Meyer says.

In contrast, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) appears to have some momentum behind it, in part because of the rhetorical support of President Barack Obama. Verification is a key issue for the CTBT in the U.S. Senate, where it will face a crucial test. In our cover story, Ambassador Tibor Tóth describes how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which is responsible for putting in place a system to monitor and verify the CTBT, has created “a very high probability today that a militarily significant test anywhere on the planet will be detected.”

In our news section, several stories provide detailed coverage of arms control issues that do not have a profile as high as the CTBT’s. Among them are Jeff Abramson’s report on the failed attempt to expand the UN Register of Conventional Arms and Rachel Weise’s coverage of the British decision to revoke five licenses for arms exports to Israel.

Elsewhere in the issue, the complicated nuclear legacies of Ronald Reagan and Robert McNamara are examined by Paul Boyer and J. Peter Scoblic, respectively. Boyer reviews Martin and Annelise Anderson’s new book, which highlights Reagan’s pursuit of nuclear disarmament. However, Boyer argues, a key part of Reagan’s legacy is his strong support of missile defense, which blocked progress on disarmament. McNamara, who died July 6, left a “fraught legacy,” says Scoblic, who draws an illuminating comparison between McNamara’s approaches to Vietnam and nuclear weapons policy.

Finally, we sadly note the Aug. 25 death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), a champion of arms control and disarmament. His contributions to arms control will be the subject of future coverage.


Treaties in trouble are the subject of two articles in this month’s issue.

Steinmeier Calls for U.S. to Withdraw Nukes

Oliver Meier

In an unprecedented statement for a German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier last month called for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in his country. Steinmeier told the German magazine Der Spiegel April 10 that "these weapons are militarily obsolete today" and promised that he would take steps to ensure that the remaining U.S. warheads "are removed from Germany."

NATO keeps details of its nuclear deployments secret, but it is estimated that the United States probably still deploys 150-240 B61 bombs in Europe. Under nuclear sharing arrangements, up to 140 weapons can be assigned for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, which are non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). (See ACT, September 2008.) These weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime but can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war. According to independent estimates, there may be as many as 20 U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Germany.

Steinmeier's call appears to be at odds with views held by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In a March 26 debate in the German Bundestag, Merkel defended Germany's involvement in nuclear sharing by stating that "it secures Germany's influence in this sensitive area of alliance politics." That argument is also prominent within the Federal Ministry of Defense, which is led by a member of Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union.

Steinmeier, of the Social Democratic Party, and Merkel are the front-runners in Germany's Sept. 27 national elections. The Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats form the current "Grand Coalition" governing Germany.

It is unclear what steps Steinmeier will take to follow up his initiative. Steinmeier "will speak about the nuclear weapons stored in Germany" in his next meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rolf Mützenich, the Social Democratic spokesperson for disarmament, said in an April 24 parliamentary debate. Steinmeier will also say that the tactical nuclear weapons eventually "have to disappear" from all of Europe, Mützenich said.

In an April 20 interview with Arms Control Today, Mützenich said Merkel should discuss the issue with President Barack Obama "with a view to relatively quickly reaching an agreement on the withdrawal, preferably within the next couple of months." Mützenich also said he assumes that the German delegation at the May 4-15 NPT preparatory committee meeting will present as its position that Berlin aims for a withdrawal of the remaining U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany.

The three smaller opposition parties in the German parliament also support withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany.

Only the Christian Democrats take a different view. Ruprecht Polenz, Christian Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Bundestag, was quoted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper April 8 as arguing that "an isolated discussion" of a withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany is "wrong and premature." Christian Democratic foreign policy spokesperson Eckart von Klaeden pointed out during the April 24 debate that Steinmeier had personally been involved in reaching a recent NATO consensus in support of nuclear deterrence. Von Klaeden argued that nuclear weapons deployed in Germany have to be discussed against that background of the continued need for nuclear deterrence. "Unfortunately we have to conclude that proliferation risks in recent years have not decreased but further increased," he said.

Steinmeier specifically placed his initiative in the context of Obama's April 5 speech in Prague, in which the president stated that the United States would reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security and urged "others to do the same."

Steinmeier said in the April 24 debate that an agreement on tactical nuclear weapons has to be part of reaching the goal of complete nuclear disarmament. "Europe also has a role to play" in reaching a formal accord on tactical nuclear weapons, he argued. "If we want Europe to evolve into a nuclear-free zone, then what I say of course also applies to the remaining nuclear weapons in Germany," Steinmeier said.

The chair of the subcommittee on disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation in the German parliament, Uta Zapf, told Arms Control Today April 20 that Germany and Norway should raise withdrawal as an issue under their initiative to strengthen NATO's profile on arms control.

On Dec. 7, 2007, Steinmeier and his Norwegian counterpart, Jonas Gahr Støre, launched an initiative "to identify areas in which NATO can better define its profile on disarmament, arms control and nuclear non-proliferation." (See ACT, April 2009.)

Asked about the implications of Steinmeier's call for NATO's upcoming review of its strategic concept, State Secretary Espen Barth Eide of the Norwegian Ministry of Defense told Arms Control Today April 17 that "all issues are on the table in NATO, including the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe as well as tactical nuclear weapons and de-alerting." He cited recent statements on nuclear arms control by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

At its April 3-4 summit in France and Germany, NATO agreed to review its 1999 Strategic Concept, including its nuclear policies. Alliance leaders agreed that "qualified experts" would support the alliance's secretary-general in the drafting and that the new strategy should be approved by the next summit, scheduled for late 2010 in Lisbon. Some are doubtful that NATO can meet that deadline because of the broad range of disputes among the allies. A U.S. official said April 20 that he would "be surprised if we get there by the next summit."

The recent summit, which was dominated by a dispute over the appointment of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a successor to the current secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and the future of NATO's mission in Afghanistan, did not clarify what future role the alliance should play in arms control and nonproliferation. According to the U.S. official, "NATO managed to collectively underperform before the summit to the point where nobody expected any breakthroughs" on those issues. Assessing the outcome of the summit, the deputy head of NATO's Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre, Roberto Zadra, told Arms Control Today April 20 that "allies have explored areas where NATO can provide added value to strengthening arms control and nonproliferation." They will continue to do so, but "one needs a certain degree of realism when addressing this question," he said.

Many had expected that NATO would endorse the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), just as it had done prior to the Bush administration, but the communiqué issued at the end of the summit does not mention the CTBT. The U.S. official attributed the omission to inertia. "Frankly, the issue didn't come up, and it was too soon for the U.S. at the working staff level" to champion the CTBT prior to and during the summit, he said.

The official said there was a dispute on the role of deterrence in alliance security. "This was a very sophisticated debate which involved a number of allies," he said. Sources indicated that some allies wanted to contrast the NATO summit communiqué language that "arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to make an important contribution to peace, security, and stability" with a direct reference to the importance of deterrence for alliance security.

Privately, officials said others opposed that approach, apparently with success. The final text of the communiqué does not contain any reference to deterrence while the "Declaration on Alliance Security," also adopted at the summit, states that "deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element" of NATO's overall strategy. According to several sources, the inclusion of that statement in the declaration was also contentious.

NATO leaders also adopted a "Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of WMD and Defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Threats." This document, which updates NATO's 1994 "Policy Framework on Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction," remains classified, although it appears to be a description of the current policy rather than a proposal for revising it.



In an unprecedented statement for a German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier last month called for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in his country. Steinmeier told the German magazine Der Spiegel April 10 that "these weapons are militarily obsolete today" and promised that he would take steps to ensure that the remaining U.S. warheads "are removed from Germany." (Continue)

News Analysis: NATO, Arms Control and Nonproliferation: An Alliance Divided?

Oliver Meier

NATO's April 3-4 summit in France and Germany is expected to initiate a review of the alliance's 1999 Strategic Concept, which is likely to lead to a lively debate over the role the alliance should play in arms control and nonproliferation efforts. Some alliance members, such as Germany and Norway, are expected to favor a broader role for the alliance on arms control and nonproliferation issues. Others, particularly those from eastern Europe, are likely to oppose such a departure from NATO's traditional mission.

The issue remains controversial among the 26 allies partly because it is a reflection of the debate about NATO's future more generally. Those who believe that NATO ought to concentrate on its core missions-defense of allied territory and interests-tend to argue that NATO's contribution to arms control is marginal and should remain so. According to this view, the alliance would be well advised to concentrate on successfully mastering key challenges, such as fostering stability in Afghanistan, and avoid getting distracted by secondary and potentially divisive issues, such as arms control and nonproliferation.

By contrast, others believe that, in order to remain relevant, NATO needs to speed up its transformation from a military alliance to a political organization. They tend to view arms control as a useful and necessary addition to the alliance's portfolio. From this perspective, arms control and nonproliferation are instruments that NATO must use to strengthen European and global security.

To be sure, NATO cannot avoid the issue completely. NATO members individually and the alliance as a whole regularly articulate positions on arms control, particularly conventional arms control. Moreover, NATO's military posture has an influence on efforts to reduce armaments and control the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Exactly how the debate over the Strategic Concept plays out and where the Obama administration places itself in the debate could affect issues from conventional arms agreements to the future of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Moreover, as the debate unwinds, NATO members will have to answer a series of specific and difficult questions: What relationship do the allies want with Russia? Does NATO need to rely on nuclear weapons for collective security? To what degree should the military alliance become operationally involved in counterproliferation efforts?

Dealing With Russia

NATO's formal dealings with Russia take place through the NATO-Russia Council, which has a mandate to discuss arms control, nonproliferation, and confidence-building measures with Moscow. Consultations in the council were suspended in August 2008 in response to Russia's military action in Georgia, but on March 5, NATO foreign ministers agreed to relaunch formal discussions with Russia in the council "as soon as possible after" the Strasbourg/Kehl NATO summit this month.

The decision came after the Obama administration announced its desire to hit the "reset" button in U.S.-Russian relations. NATO allies right now are generally "following the lead of the U.S. in relations with Russia," a U.S. official told Arms Control Today in an interview March 16.

On March 5, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton argued during a press conference after the decision was taken to re-engage Russia that nonproliferation and arms control are among the issues where the United States believes "we not only can, but must cooperate with Russia."

Similarly, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has supported a quick resumption of the NATO-Russia Council and consideration of a proposal by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss a new European security architecture.

In his March 5 statement announcing the resumption of formal discussions in the council, NATO's outgoing secretary-general, Jaap de Hoof Scheffer, concluded that "there's certainly a willingness in NATO...to discuss...the hard security aspects of the Medvedev proposals in the framework" of the council, although he pointed out that "the primary forum for discussing these issues was and is" the 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Some new and formerly Soviet-dominated NATO members believe that it is not the alliance's business to accommodate Russian security interests. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in a Feb. 7 speech to the Munich security conference warned against NATO taking up the Medvedev proposal. He said that "a security architecture of Europe based on this notion of privileged interests so egregiously violates the fundamental values and assumptions of liberal democracy that binds the West together that we have to approach such new structures with extreme caution." Ilves argued that the West first needs "to return to the core mission of NATO, the defense of the alliance, and only after that begin to discuss other, new structures."

In any case, two stumbling blocks will have to be removed before NATO can fully engage Russia on arms control. One is the future of plans to deploy parts of the U.S. national missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Indications that the Obama administration may suspend deployment until it has been proven that the system is workable and cost effective (see ACT, March 2009) have created a breathing space for U.S.-Russian relations but have also widened the gap within NATO on the issue.

Although most western European governments were visibly relieved by signs that the Obama administration intends to step back from immediate deployment, the Czech and Polish governments, which have each invested considerable political capital to secure domestic support, appear to feel betrayed. Part of the anger stems from a letter by Obama sent to his Russian counterpart in February, in which he tied U.S. missile defense plans to Russian pressure on Iran. As the U.S. official pointed out in the Arms Control Today interview the Obama administration "has carefully tied the system to Iranian behavior," not European security issues.

Some eastern Europeans take a different view. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was quoted by the Czech news website ceskenoviny.cz as saying on TV March 15 that missile defense "is a project that has a European dimension, NATO dimension, and in this sense I do not expect Obama to make any breakthrough negative statement." Topolanek predicted that the United States will deploy a missile defense radar base in the Czech Republic. Two days later, however, Topolanek was forced to withdraw from parliament a bilateral agreement with the United States on the hosting of the radar base because opposition parties threatened to vote it down. Topolanek pledged to resubmit the agreement for parliamentary ratification after the NATO summit and a visit by Obama to Prague on April 5.

The Polish government also is fearful that the United States might not fulfill the promises made by the Bush administration. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski was quoted Feb. 13 as saying that "regardless of what kind of decision the U.S. will take, we expect that the declaration on strategic cooperation will be fulfilled."

The bilateral declaration on strategic cooperation, signed Aug. 20, 2008, by the United States and Poland allows for U.S. missile defense interceptors to be based in Poland. In return, Washington pledged to base Patriot missile defense systems in Poland and to provide other military assistance.

Czech and Polish fears that the United States might hold off deploying the system appear justified. The U.S. official pointed out that the Obama administration is "open minded" about the future of missile defense bases in the Czech Republic and Poland. "There is no dedication to speed ahead with missile defense," he told Arms Control Today. NATO is likely to follow that line by postponing any decision on the alliance's involvement in strategic missile defenses.

Finding a way out of the deadlock on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty will be another major challenge for NATO. Conventional arms control has been a key arms control responsibility for the alliance since the 1980s, when allied positions on the negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions were coordinated at NATO's Brussels headquarters. To this day, the alliance is responsible for CFE Treaty implementation and coordination among its members.

Russia announced suspension of CFE Treaty implementation Dec. 12, 2007, bringing to a head a long-standing dispute with the alliance.

The 1990 CFE Treaty limits the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft that its 30 states-parties may station between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Russia is upset that the 22 NATO members bound by the 1990 agreement have not moved to ratify the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty, which sets national weapons limits for each country, as compared with the original treaty's equal bloc limits on NATO and the defunct Warsaw Pact.

NATO had maintained that Russia must first fulfill commitments to withdraw its military forces from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova. Russia made those political commitments at the Istanbul summit at which the Adapted CFE Treaty was concluded and signed. (See ACT, November 1999.)

Formally, NATO continues to insist that Russia needs to fulfill the Istanbul commitments, as outlined in its proposal for a "parallel actions package" that was agreed by NATO members March 28, 2008. (See ACT, June 2008.) According to that proposal, NATO countries would begin their national ratification processes, some of which could take several months or longer, while Russia resumes its military withdrawals from Georgia and Moldova.

The war in Georgia, however, has further complicated the issue, and it appears increasingly unlikely that a solution to the impasse can be found on the basis of existing proposals. (See ACT, September 2008.)

Privately, some NATO officials believe allies should make Russia a new offer to resolve outstanding questions. De Hoop Scheffer, in his Feb. 7 speech to the Munich security conference, appeared to support that case by saying that "Russia has a legitimate case to make in asking for a discussion of existing arms control treaties."

Yet, there are few concrete ideas on how to break the deadlock. The U.S. official said that, with few members of the Obama administration in place, it will be difficult to address crucial issues such as the CFE Treaty and missile defense early on when the NATO-Russia Council resumes its formal consultations, but argued that "getting the process right will be the victory." Moreover, Russia apparently has not yet indicated what issues it would like to include on the council agenda, leaving NATO officials unsure how to engage Russia in this forum. To foster discussions outside the council, the German government will host a meeting June 12 of high-level experts from CFE Treaty countries in Berlin.

NATO and Multilateral Arms Control

As a military alliance of 26 nations operating on a consensus basis with few collective resources, NATO is not well configured to support multilateral arms control. Guy Roberts, NATO's deputy assistant secretary-general for WMD policy, said in a Feb. 5 interview with Arms Control Today that "[s]ince NATO is not a party to these multilateral arms control treaties, it is sometimes very challenging to find ways where we as an organization can contribute. Nevertheless, we are constantly looking for ways in which we can support or participate in nonproliferation activities or initiatives."

At least the new tone in Washington will make it easier for NATO to take a coherent position on multilateral arms control and nonproliferation regimes. Most notably, the alliance is now unified in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and all 26 allies will be full members if and when the United States completes its ratification procedure.

NATO has consistently stated its "support for existing multilateral nonproliferation agreements," such as the NPT, and called for universal compliance with it. It remains unclear to what degree NATO can and should contribute beyond declaratory policies. In particular, NATO's contribution to a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference is being discussed.

During the Clinton administration, NATO allies had explicitly endorsed the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament agreed by the 2000 NPT Review Conference. That position, as well as other recommendations to strengthen verifiable, multilateral arms control agreements, were the result of NATO's most thorough review of its arms control policies, recorded in the Dec. 14, 2000, report entitled "Report on Options for Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs), Verification, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament." The arms control consensus of that time did not continue during the Bush administration and might be difficult to re-establish, particularly on nuclear arms control.

France, for example, supported the Bush administration in questioning the validity of NPT disarmament commitments and has never recommitted itself to the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament, which are part of the political obligations Paris entered into by accepting the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

On March 11, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the French intention to reintegrate into NATO's military structures. Yet, Paris will not return to NATO's Nuclear Planning Group and other bodies discussing NATO's nuclear weapons policies.

Votes by NATO states in the UN General Assembly's First Committee also indicate different perspectives among allies on nuclear arms control. For example, NATO in 2008 was divided on resolutions supporting the New Agenda Coalition's initiative on nuclear disarmament and a resolution calling for the de-alerting of nuclear forces, with NATO nuclear-weapon states France and the United States rejecting both resolutions. The United Kingdom, which recently has recommitted itself to the NPT and the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world, abstained on the New Agenda Coalition resolution but rejected the de-alerting initiative. (See ACT, December 2008.)

NATO Nuclear Sharing Questioned

NATO nuclear policies have been a point of contention at all recent NPT states-parties meetings. Nonaligned countries in particular have criticized NATO's practice of nuclear sharing as being inconsistent with the treaty. (See ACT, June 2008.)

NATO keeps details of its nuclear deployments secret, but it is estimated that the United States probably still deploys between 150 and 240 B61 bombs in Europe. Under nuclear sharing arrangements, as many as 140 weapons can still be assigned for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, none of which have their own nuclear arms. These weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime but can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war. (See ACT, September 2008.)

There are differing views among NATO members as to whether changes in the alliance's nuclear deployments, doctrine, and policies can have an impact on a successful outcome of the NPT review conference.

Some NATO officials argue that NATO nuclear sharing has become more relevant, not less, in a multipolar nuclear world. Michael Rühle of NATO's policy planning unit, writing in his personal capacity, warns in the most recent issue of Comparative Strategy of "abolitionist delusions" and predicts that "it is only matter of time until Europe finds itself in a much less comfortable situation" because of developments in the Middle East and Russia. In such a situation, NATO nuclear sharing, Rühle writes, "is supposed to spare Europe the nervousness that is so palpable in the Middle East and Asia." Accordingly, in a Jan. 15 speech on the topic of NATO's upcoming 60th anniversary, British Secretary of State for Defense John Hutton stated that "the Strategic Concept needs to recognize the ongoing relevance of nuclear deterrence as one of its fundamental security tasks."

NATO officials concede that, as a result of the Strategic Concept review, nuclear deployment patterns might change. Roberts said that "although there are no plans currently to do so, there is a possibility that there might be further reductions." He said that such reductions in overall numbers would not imply the complete withdrawal of nuclear weapons from one or more countries where the United States currently deploys short-range nuclear weapons. Roberts cautioned, however, that any such changes to NATO nuclear deployments "will most likely not occur until the United States completes its mandated nuclear posture review and adjusts its policies accordingly."

It is not clear to what outcome that review will lead. It might result in a push for even more radical changes, particularly because the Obama administration has committed itself to the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world. Ivo Daalder, nominated as U.S. ambassador to NATO, in an article with Jan Lodal in Foreign Affairs argued that U.S. "non-nuclear allies are likely to embrace" a course by the United States that follows the "logic of zero" on nuclear weapons.

Daalder specifically recommended that the United States limit the role of nuclear weapons to the deterrence of other nuclear-weapon states and that it do so unilaterally. By contrast, the interim report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, released Dec. 15, specifically stated that the U.S. nonproliferation strategy "will continue to depend upon U.S. extended deterrence strategy as one of its pillars." The commission, headed by former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concludes that, without credible U.S. security, many U.S. allies "would feel enormous pressures to create their own nuclear arsenals."

It would be a radical change for NATO to bring its own nuclear doctrine in line with Daalder's recommendation. NATO does not exclude the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for non-nuclear attacks. The alliance also maintains the right to use nuclear weapons first, although in its current Strategic Concept the likelihood of having to use nuclear weapons is described as "extremely remote."

The U.S. official interviewed by Arms Control Today said that Daalder is "ahead of the administration" in advocating unilateral changes to the U.S. nuclear posture and predicted that "Washington is not going to impose these ideas on allies." The same official also predicted "fascinating discussions" on NATO's new nuclear policy when the alliance begins the review of its Strategic Concept at the April summit. In particular, proponents of nuclear sharing will have to make the case why U.S. security guarantees in today's world still hinge on the forward deployment of a few hundred tactical nuclear weapons on the territories of non-nuclear-weapon states and whether existing security guarantees by the United States and the two other NATO nuclear powers do not suffice to assure allies.

Despite much-improved NATO-Russian relations, NATO states generally tend to argue that a possible withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe could only happen in the context of a negotiated agreement with Russia on tactical weapons.

Russia is believed to possess thousands of such short-range nuclear weapons. At the 2008 NPT preparatory committee meeting, Russia proposed an initiative to "concentrate nuclear weapons within the territories of the nuclear-weapon states."

The United States is currently the only nuclear-weapon state known to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear-weapon states.

In a Nov. 14 interview with Arms Control Today, Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak stated that U.S. willingness to withdraw those tactical nuclear weapons from Europe would be a "serious factor" in changing Russia's position on consolidating, reducing, or eliminating its tactical nuclear weapons generally but warned that "we need to have a little bit more complex discussion between us and the United States and between us and NATO on the security environment in Europe" before such a decision could be taken. (See ACT, December 2008.)

In a March 7 statement to the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added an additional twist by pointing out that Moscow deems it "necessary to exclude possible deployments of strategic offensive arms outside national territories" in the context of negotiations on a follow-on agreement to START, due to expire in December.

An Operational Role for NATO in Counterproliferation and Disarmament?

Institutionally, NATO has prepared to play a stronger role in nonproliferation and counterproliferation ever since it launched its WMD initiative in 1999 and a Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre was set up at NATO headquarters in 2000. The center's role includes efforts to strengthen consultations on nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament issues.

In reality, NATO's operational role in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction remains limited, partly because of the lack of joint assets and partly because of disagreement among allies about the usefulness of counterproliferation as an instrument to prevent or roll back WMD proliferation.

Counterproliferation split the alliance in 2003 when the Bush administration asked NATO to support its invasion of Iraq in order to destroy Saddam Hussein's alleged WMD programs. Allies are not keen to repeat the debate.

Since then some have proposed more modestly that NATO could play a larger role, particularly in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

The PSI was launched in May 2003 as part of an increased effort by the Bush administration to address the risks of unconventional weapons proliferation. According to the statement of interdiction principles concluded by the 11 founding states at that time, the effort is intended to "establish a more coordinated and effective basis through which to impede and stop shipments of [unconventional weapons], delivery systems, and related materials."

Still, the alliance does not have significant assets to interdict relevant transports, and NATO as an institution cannot participate in the PSI. Leading PSI participants regularly inform NATO's Senior Politico-Military Group on Proliferation of PSI-related developments, but specific contributions by the alliance have remained small.

A NATO briefing paper states that NATO's Operation Active Endeavour "contributes to achieving the PSI's objectives by enhancing maritime security in the Mediterranean, and helping to detect, deter, defend and protect against activities by non-state actors." Under Operation Active Endeavour, NATO ships are patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping.

NATO also has recently established a Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center in Greece to train NATO forces "to better execute surface, sub-surface, aerial surveillance, and special operations activities in support of Maritime Interdiction Operations."

The U.S. official interviewed March 16 believes that a larger role for NATO in counterproliferation is likely to remain a "red line for many allies." With the new U.S. administration showing less determination to use military force in nonproliferation, there is now "stiffening resistance" to the idea of giving NATO a larger role in counterproliferation, he said. "That wave has seen its crest," the official concluded.

NATO does continue to support demilitarization through member states' contributions to so-called Partnership for Peace Trust Funds. Under these programs, NATO and partner countries support specific programs through voluntary programs often coordinated and implemented by the Luxembourg-based NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency. According to the NATO Web site, some 40 million euros (about $54 million) have been contributed to such projects between 2000 and 2008. In the context of these programs NATO has helped to destroy 105 million small arms ammunition, more than 4 million landmines, 2 million hand-grenades, 270,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance, more than 160,000 small arms and light weapons, 8,700 tons of munitions, 1,500 tons of chemicals including rocket fuel, 1,000 man-portable air defense systems, and 530 high-altitude anti-aircraft missiles.

What Role for NATO in Arms Control?

With the new U.S. administration still sorting out policy and personnel, the two key documents to be approved at NATO's forthcoming 60th anniversary summit, a short declaration on alliance security and a longer communiquè, are unlikely to contain sweeping changes to existing arms control policies.

Any more radical changes are likely to be dependent on the outcome of a more general debate about NATO's mission, which allies hope to finish by adopting a new Strategic Concept at the next summit in Lisbon, to take place in late 2010 or early 2011.

The outcome of this debate likely will be influenced by the format of the Strategic Concept review. Some countries prefer a review by external experts similar to the process that led to the 1967 Harmel report, which for the first time established the political role of the alliance. Part of the rationale behind proposals such as the German idea to have a group of "eminent persons" review the strategic concept is to bypass the inertia of NATO's complex bureaucracy. Others prefer an in-house review that is likely to result in less radical proposals.

The brief history of an initiative launched in December 2007 by Steinmeier and his Norwegian counterpart, Jonas Gahr Støre, "to identify areas in which NATO can better define its profile on disarmament, arms control and nuclear non-proliferation" illustrates how difficult it is to give new impetus to arms control discussions in NATO.

Against the background of the demise of arms control during the Bush administration, deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations, and the resulting CFE Treaty crisis, the initiative was cautiously supported by a number of NATO members, including Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain. Yet, eastern Europeans supported by France and the United States rebuffed the proposal.

Instead of endorsing the idea of giving NATO a greater role in arms control, members commissioned a report on the issue, which remains classified but apparently lacked any specific proposals. Likewise, an idea to institutionalize discussions on arms control-related issues in the NATO Council by scheduling a regular, annual debate on the issue also failed. In the end, the April 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest merely "took note of the report prepared for us on raising NATO's profile in this field" and tasked the NATO Council "to keep these issues under active review."

As long as divisions within the alliance on NATO's role cannot be overcome, those 21 alliance members that are also members of the European Union are likely to continue to look primarily toward the EU as the central institution for coordinating their arms control and nonproliferation policies. The EU is at a comparative disadvantage vis-à-vis NATO because it has been unable to address the role of nuclear deterrence in its foreign and security policy and it does not have a permanent dialogue with Russia on security-related issues. The EU's arms control policies are far more integrated than those of NATO, however, and the EU has larger resources at its disposal.

EU Nonproliferation Chief Sketches Transatlantic Agenda

Oliver Meier

While NATO is about to re-evaluate its role in arms control and nonproliferation, EU officials hope that the change of administration in Washington will kick-start transatlantic cooperation. In a Feb. 16 interview with Arms Control Today, Annalisa Giannella, the personal representative for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, said that Europeans will have "a better chance of getting very good results in the next few years with the United States and EU working together in the same direction."

Giannella noted the broad convergence with Washington on a variety of arms control issues, with the possible exception of an arms trade treaty. "[T]he EU is in favor of and is actively promoting the beginning of negotiations on an arms trade treaty. I'm not yet sure that the Obama administration will be entirely supportive of this," she noted.

In 2006 the UN General Assembly voted to work toward establishing "common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons." A UN group of governmental experts on Aug. 26, 2008, adopted by consensus a report that called for further study within the United Nations in a step-by-step manner and on "the basis of consensus" of the possibility of an arms trade treaty. (See ACT, December 2008.)

Giannella explained that the European Union recently made its internal code of conduct on arms exports legally binding in order to become a "very credible actor" as a promoter of the arms trade treaty. "This is a question of coherence," she pointed out.

In the interview, Giannella also provided background on a number of other recent EU arms control initiatives. She explained that consultations with third countries on a draft code of conduct for outer space activities, approved by EU member states in December 2008, are underway and stated that "if the modified version can be accepted by most of the countries, we will be able to convene an ad hoc conference maybe at the end of the year or beginning of next year."

Looking ahead to the 2010 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, Giannella admitted that on nuclear disarmament in the past "the lowest common denominator between EU members was extremely low" but said that the "situation has started to improve over the last couple of years precisely because there has been a modification of the position in United Kingdom and most recently in France."

On Feb. 4, British Foreign Minister David Miliband presented a six-point plan on nuclear disarmament, in which he described conditions for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. After the interview, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a March 17 speech further elaborated the British position and offered that the United Kingdom would be ready to participate in broader negotiations "as soon as it becomes useful for our arsenal to be included." On Dec. 5, 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his role as acting president of the EU, wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, outlining the EU position on nuclear arms control issues. Among other things, the letter calls for increased nuclear weapons transparency and initiatives on tactical nuclear weapons.

Describing the EU's NPT agenda, Giannella said that it would be a success "if we could have progress on multilateral nuclear fuel approaches and on disarmament" at the review conference.

Speaking about the Obama administration's new offer for talks with Iran, Giannella disputed that the United States would be prepared to unconditionally enter into a dialogue with Tehran on nuclear issues. "If 'without preconditions' is being taken to mean that there is no need for Iran to suspend or freeze enrichment activities, I am not sure if this is what is meant by the U.S. administration," she said.

She also expressed disappointment with Iran's reaction to the Obama administration's new stance. "Instead of saying 'Okay, happy to see that now we have an interlocutor who is ready to talk to us. We are ready to talk as well, and maybe both of us should calm down our rhetoric,' we hear 'The Americans should apologize for what they have done in the past,'" she said.

Giannella said she favors a direct dialogue between Tehran and Washington before the Iranian presidential elections in June, warning that "we should not waste time." With regard to the possibility of China and Russia supporting a new set of sanctions, she reacted cautiously and pointed out that "we haven't had maximum convergence of views on this element" with Moscow and Beijing recently.

Click here to read the complete interview.


Interview with Annalisa Giannella, Personal Representative on Nonproliferation of WMD to EU High Representative Javier Solana



Interviewed by Oliver Meier

On Feb. 16, Arms Control Today international correspondent Oliver Meier spoke with EU nonproliferation chief Annalisa Giannella to discuss Europe's nonproliferation and security policies against the background of the new U.S. administration taking office. Giannella has served in her current position since October 2003 and previously served as the EU Council of Ministers' director for security and defense policy and head of the division for security issues.

ACT: What do you think will be the impact of the change in administration in Washington on European efforts to strengthen arms control and nonproliferation agreements?

Giannella: I think that it will have a revitalizing effect. Since the adoption of the European Security Strategy and the [weapons of mass destruction (WMD)] strategy,[1] we have been very active in supporting what we call effective multilateralism, in support of universalization but also of effective implementation of all the multilateral treaties and conventions, as well as supporting new treaties which would fill the gaps in the nonproliferation/disarmament regime.

We must say that, over recent years at least on some of these points, we have not had full convergence of views with the United States. The emphasis has always been on nonproliferation. There was no consensus on nuclear disarmament, for instance. On the Biological Weapons Convention, there was no possibility of agreement on a verification protocol. The EU has always been in favor of entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), but the United States didn't want to ratify the treaty and join our effort to promote universalization.[2] On the fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), the United States even put forward a proposal for initiating negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) but opposed the very idea of verification.[3]

However, there have been quite a number of areas where we had very good cooperation with the Bush administration, including Iran of course. For instance, we have both and sometimes jointly been supporting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540.[4] We have been cooperating together with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and the 1540 Committee in support of the resolution. We have been working in synergy in the area of export control assistance to third countries. We have regularly compared notes about the assistance projects that we launch for third countries. The problem we have had was basically with the way we viewed our support for some multilateral treaties and conventions.

With the Obama administration, we are looking forward to the fullest cooperation and synergy because, from what we read and see and hear about Obama's intentions, they are very much along the same lines as the EU approach. We see that now the United States will be in favor of entry into force of the CTBT, is in favor of a verifiable FMCT, and in addition we also have a very open statement in support of a call for a world without nuclear weapons and the intention to start negotiations for a phased, verifiable, irreversible, transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.[5] This will also contribute to establishing a much better atmosphere in the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review process. We think that we have a better chance of getting very good results in the next few years with the United States and EU working together in the same direction.

ACT: Are there areas where you think differences will continue with the new administration or might even grow?

Giannella: It is very difficult to judge because so far we have not had very precise and detailed proposals from the U.S. side. So we have to base ourselves on what we have read in speeches by President [Barack] Obama, Vice President [Joe] Biden, and Secretary of State [Hillary Rodham] Clinton. From what I have seen, I don't think there would be any divergence of views as far as weapons of mass destruction are concerned.

Maybe we will still have some slight differences on conventional weapons because the EU is in favor of and is actively promoting negotiations on an arms trade treaty.[6] I'm not yet sure that the Obama administration will be entirely supportive of this.

ACT: On the recent initiatives on arms control and nonproliferation that were taken during the French presidency, particularly during the December 2008 meetings, there was for example a new document, "New Lines of Action," which outlines a variety of measures. Mainly it seems aimed at improving internal coherence among EU member states.[7] I found very few initiatives to strengthen multilateral instruments. Why is this, and are there any additional initiatives planned to strengthen multilateral instruments?

Giannella: In fact, the document that was agreed under the French presidency, the New Lines of Action, is just an additional document. It is additional with respect to our WMD strategy, which remains valid, and with respect to the priorities for implementation of the strategy, which were also adopted by the same meeting of the [EU] Council [of Ministers].[8] So, you are right that the new Lines of Action is more an improvement of coherence among the EU member states, but we still have the list of priorities for the implementation of the strategy. We still have an approach based very much on work in support of multilateralism and also on cooperation with other countries. These documents have to be seen as a whole and as complementing each other.

ACT: Another additional instrument that was approved was a draft code of conduct for outer space activities.[9] This was also presented to the CD by the Czech presidency.[10] Can you explain the added value of the EU code in comparison to other instruments on space security? What is your time frame for agreement on a consensus document? In this context, how do you want to engage Russia and China particularly on this issue?

Giannella: I'm glad to have this opportunity to stress that the fact that the council agreed [to] this draft doesn't mean that the draft is a document that cannot be modified. The ministers gave an endorsement to this draft as a basis for consultations with third countries. So it is an official EU initiative, but of course the text is really very open to modification in the light of comments by partners. The purpose of this code is to enhance safety, security, and predictability of outer space activities. It is a code because the assessment, which was made within the EU, was that there was no consensus, for the time being, for a legally binding instrument. On the other hand, there are more and more activities in outer space, and therefore something needs to be done. We do not want this document to replace or to prevail over instruments which already exist and most of which are legally binding.

There are a number of conventions and treaties in the area of outer space, but subscribing states would commit themselves to full implementation of these instruments whereas nonsubscribing states would commit to take steps to accede or to adhere to these instruments. This is because we don't want to exclude the possibility for countries who may not wish to ratify to decide nevertheless to implement the provisions of these instruments. Then there are also transparency measures, confidence-building measures, notification, registration, et cetera. We believe that this code will improve the situation in terms of confidence building and transparency, and we think that this initiative is not a substitute. It does not stand in the way of negotiation of a treaty if everybody agrees on the idea of a treaty preventing weaponization of space, as proposed by Russia and China.[11]

Now, you ask me how do you want to engage with Russia and China as well as other partner countries. Actually, we have started to engage. We have already had a first round of informal consultations, and now after endorsement by the council, we have started a round of formal consultations which will involve not only the United States, Russia, and China, but also other main partners of the EU and space-faring nations. So we are consulting Canada, Japan, India, South Korea, Brazil, et cetera.

ACT: Do you have a time frame for these consultations?

Giannella: We were in Canada a couple weeks ago. We will be in Asia in March. There will be other countries that we will meet in the margins of multilateral meetings.

ACT: There's no target date, is there?

Giannella: We hope that if consultations go reasonably well and if the modified version can be accepted by most of the countries, we will be able to convene an ad hoc conference maybe at the end of the year or beginning of next year. Of course, all of this depends on how these consultations go.

ACT: The EU made legally binding its code of conduct on arms exports.[12] Why did it take so long to make the code legally binding, and what impact do you think the change in the legal character will have on actual exports from EU member states?

Giannella: As you know, the content of the common position [on arms exports] is 90 or 95 percent identical to the content of the former code of conduct. However, there are some improvements. The criteria [for arms exports] are the same, but the scope is wider in the sense that, for instance, the common position covers brokering and intangible transfers. But the fact that it is legally binding gives the instrument a different status, and it makes the EU a very credible actor as [a] promoter of the arms trade treaty. We are proposing to the international community the negotiation of a treaty governing the arms trade, and we are demonstrating that we ourselves are already committed to a legally binding instrument. This is a question of coherence. We could not propose a legally binding instrument if we did not already have legally binding commitments among ourselves.

ACT: Turning back toward the NPT, can you generally say what your expectations for the review conference are at this stage? Do you expect there to be a new EU common position to be agreed?[13] What specific issues might the EU try to focus on in that context?

Giannella: For the review conference, our position is classical and is largely the same although the text of our common position [on the NPT], which was adopted before the last review conference, will probably be adapted next year.[14] We think that the review conference has to address the three pillars in a balanced way.

We have to work on nonproliferation and peaceful uses. In this context, one of the issues on which we should focus is the multilateral nuclear fuel approaches. We have to work on those approaches because it is clear that there are more and more countries turning to nuclear energy for civilian purposes. It is also clear that it is for each country to make its own energy choices, and if a country is in compliance with the treaty, clearly it has the right to have nuclear energy for civilian purposes. We have to make sure that programs for nuclear energy are developed in such a way as to avoid any proliferation risk and to meet the highest standards in terms of safety, security, and nonproliferation. The only way we can do that is through multilateral nuclear fuel approaches.

We need to work on disarmament, and I think that the statements by President Obama give us very good grounds to hope that we can have progress on the nuclear disarmament pillar.

In addition, the EU has already put forward a paper on withdrawal because we want to better specify the procedure and the conditions for withdrawal. We want to work on export controls, we want to work on safeguards, on nuclear security, et cetera. We have a lot of items, but I think if we could have progress on multilateral nuclear fuel approaches and on disarmament, it would be a big success.

ACT: There is a new discussion on a nuclear weapons-free world. France and the United Kingdom have both explained their positions and expanded to some degree their positions on nuclear arms control during the last year.[15] Last December, French President Nicolas Sarkozy as acting EU president wrote a letter to Ban Ki-Moon explaining the EU's stance on nuclear disarmament.[16] How does this initiative in your assessment differ from past EU positions on nuclear arms control and disarmament?

Giannella: It is no secret that, on nuclear disarmament, the lowest common denominator between EU members was extremely low. The situation has started to improve over the last couple of years precisely because there has been a modification of the position in the United Kingdom and most recently in France. Now that the Obama administration is taking a very different position with respect to nuclear disarmament, this will also facilitate the further evolution of the French and British approaches because nuclear disarmament cannot take place on a unilateral basis. It has to be a negotiated process amongst the five [NPT nuclear powers]. The more Obama elaborates his approach, the more easily France and the United Kingdom will elaborate their own approaches and vice versa. It will be a mutually reinforcing process and will encourage Russia and China to move as well. Since the other countries in the EU have had no difficulty in being much more in favor of nuclear disarmament, this will help us to develop the EU position in a positive way.

ACT: One specific proposal that Sarkozy made in the letter to Ban Ki-Moon was the inclusion of tactical nuclear weapons in general arms control and disarmament processes. Do you think if this were to happen, this would also affect the deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in EU countries also?[17]

Giannella: It is premature for me to make comments on specific elements in the Sarkozy letter or in proposals made by other main actors. All these elements need a thorough examination, a thorough discussion. I think that the Sarkozy letter was meant to give a message that there is a new readiness to discuss these issues. How exactly the question of nuclear disarmament will develop, what exactly will be the elements for an agreement, it is too early for me and maybe for others to say.

ACT: There has also been a reversal of U.S. policies on CTBT ratification. What generally do you think Europe can do to speed up entry into force? Specifically, are there any lessons or experiences that Europe can offer to U.S. senators to convince them that U.S. security will be enhanced by approving the treaty?

Giannella: The EU has set a precedent because our own nuclear-weapon states, France and the United Kingdom, have ratified the CTBT very quickly. That means the CTBT does not necessarily entail any risk or danger even for countries which, after all, still believe in nuclear deterrence. Second, the EU has been working a lot in support of the entry into force of the CTBT. We have made demarches in support of ratification in countries which have not ratified, in particular in the countries listed in annex two of the treaty. Only a few months ago, we agreed on an energetic action plan in support of its entry into force.[18]

That is not all. We believe that the monitoring system of the CTBT has to be credible. We have also tried to use that leverage in our campaign. The fact is that the CTBT monitoring system can also be very useful for civilian purposes, for civil protection purposes. It can help, for instance, to give an early warning of tsunamis or earthquakes. So, it can be very much in the interests of each and every country to make use of this monitoring system. The EU is contributing financially to some activities which help the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization to maintain credibility and to further develop the monitoring system. Over the past two or three years, the council has adopted a couple of decisions by which we have supported training courses for monitors, for improvements of the monitoring system including radionuclides, noble gas, and many other things. We believe that an effective monitoring system is an important element in making the CTBT attractive.

ACT: The Obama administration has offered direct dialogue with Tehran without preconditions, which has long been the EU position. What is your assessment of Iran's reaction to the new U.S. position on this dialogue?

Giannella: I don't know whether the offer of the United States is to have direct talks without preconditions. If "without preconditions" is being taken to mean that there is no need for Iran to suspend or freeze enrichment activities, I am not sure if this is what is meant by the U.S. administration. I have understood the U.S. administration position as being that they are ready to be more directly involved with Iran in each and every phase of the negotiations on the nuclear issue and that they also want to have a direct channel of communication covering not only the nuclear issue but also other important issues such as the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, et cetera. This is very positive, this can only increase the possibility, the hope, for positive developments in the EU-3 Plus 3 process with Iran. But I'm not sure that there will be such a dramatic change in the U.S. position that it might deal on the nuclear issue only bilaterally and at no condition. This is not our reading. The preconditions are set in UN Security Council resolutions.

The other question is how the Iranians have reacted to the new statements by the U.S. administration. I think the reaction is typically Iranian. Instead of saying, "Okay, happy to see that now we have an interlocutor who is ready to talk to us. We are ready to talk as well, and maybe both of us should calm down our rhetoric," we hear "The Americans should apologize for what they have done in the past." Iranians are very difficult people to deal with, and I hope that American statements are not misinterpreted in Iran as unconditional acceptance that Iran need take no steps in order to the meet the criteria of the Security Council.

ACT: Now Iran's enrichment program is gaining speed and is proceeding much faster than many experts had predicted. Do you think direct dialogue can actually wait until after the Iranian presidential elections in June? What will be the EU-3's and EU's role in the context of such new talks?

Giannella: There is this debate about whether we should or should not wait until the presidential election [in Iran]. It is clear that it is difficult for Iran to take a bold decision in a transitional period. On the other hand, when we think about the data concerning the development of enrichment in Iran, they have already produced more than 1.000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, they already have 4,000 centrifuges in operation, they have 2,000 more centrifuges under test, et cetera. That means that, in a few months, they will have produced a quantity of enriched uranium which could be then enriched further to highly enriched uranium and would be enough to produce one nuclear device. Of course, other elements are needed to weaponized, et cetera, but in a few months Iran will reach a really important threshold.

Against this background, I think that we should not wait. It would be better not to wait. How many chances we may have to pressure Iran into making a major policy change I don't know, but I would not wait. My personal opinion is that we should not waste time.

ACT: The other side of the new U.S. position on this is that if Iran does not accept the new offer, more sanctions will be needed. What steps do you see member states and the EU as a whole taking to heighten pressure on Iran, and what can the EU do to engage Russia and China more on this?

Giannella: As you know, we have been implementing the Security Council resolutions very fully, and not just fully but always a little beyond the letter of the Security Council resolutions. We have been a little tougher or more comprehensive. Now we are re-examining the list in order to see whether any updating is needed. This is already a way of increasing pressure. We share the U.S. position that we have to work on the dual-track approach, which means that, on one hand, we have to be open to negotiations and, on the other hand, as long as Iran does not meet the UN Security Council requirements, we have to increase pressure.

What do we do to engage Russia and China? We regularly have meetings with them together with the Americans, and I hope that the increased readiness by the United States to engage directly with Iran, to be involved in all phases of negotiations with Iran, will make Russia and China more ready to adopt new sanctions if Iran continues to refuse to engage.

ACT: You don't sound very optimistic on this.

Giannella: Clearly we haven't had maximum convergence of views on this element over the last two months, but don't forget that the U.S. position was also much more prudent in terms of negotiations. So maybe we will find a new balance with more openness to negotiations and pressure.

ACT: On Russia particularly, at the Munich security conference, Javier Solana said that the Medvedev proposal for a new European security architecture should be taken seriously and that there should be an engagement and a debate on this issue.[19] Could you specify what this means for the security dialogue of the EU with Russia, what specific topics the EU could become engaged on, and how the division between old and new EU members, if you like, in terms of approaching Russia can be overcome?

Giannella: I hesitate to respond to your question because this is really beyond my remit. I am responsible for disarmament, nonproliferation, and arms control. What I can tell you is that, in my area of competence, we do have very good cooperation with Russia, and we are looking forward to improve it even more. We work and consult a lot with Russia on nonproliferation [and] disarmament issues, and we also have good practical cooperation with Russia on disarmament projects. We consider and we treat Russia as a major partner of the EU.

ACT: One of the areas of cooperation is the Global Partnership, which is due to expire in 2012.[20] There is going to be a discussion starting on whether to extend the Global Partnership and maybe also to support its geographical expansion. Do you have a position on this already?

Giannella: We are basically in favor of some geographical expansion because we think the objective of Global Partnership cannot be limited to Russia and the former Soviet Union. If there are proliferation threats, [Group of Eight (G-8)] members should address them. On this issue, we do have an open discussion with Russia in the context of the G-8.

ACT: Thank you very much.

[1] Council of the European Union, "A Secure Europe in a Better World: European Security Strategy," December 12, 2003, www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/78367.pdf; Council of European Union, "EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction," December 12, 2003, register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/03/st15/st15708.en03.pdf.

[2] The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions anywhere. It has been signed by 180 countries and ratified by 148 states. The treaty will not take full legal effect until nine key states, including the United States, ratify the accord. See Arms Control Association, "The Status of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Signatories and Ratifiers," February 2008. [at http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/ctbtsig.asp... numbers do not match up, I will work on this]

[3] A proposed fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) would outlaw the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes. A nuclear weapon cannot be made without one or the other. In July 2004, the Bush administration changed the U.S. policy position on an FMCT, announcing that it does not believe an agreement can be crafted to protect against cheating. This has further complicated the commencement of negotiations on such an accord. See Wade Boese, "Bush Shifts Fissile Material Ban Policy," Arms Control Today, September 2004, pp. 20-21.

[4] Resolution 1540, adopted in April 2004, is a legally binding effort that requires all states to implement a variety of domestic measures to prevent nonstate actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, and related materials.

[5] "Arms Control Today 2008 Presidential Q&A: President-Elect Barack Obama," December 2008, special section.

[6] In 2006 the UN General Assembly voted to work toward establishing "common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons." A UN group of governmental experts on August 26, 2008, adopted by consensus a report that called for further study within the UN in a step-by-step manner and on "the basis of consensus" of an arms trade treaty. See Jeff Abramson, "Arms Trade Treaty Discussion Creeps Forward," Arms Control Today, December 2008, pp. 53-54.

[7] Council of the European Union, "Council Conclusions and New Lines for Action by the European Union in Combating the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems," 17172/08, November 23, 2008, available at http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st17/st17172.en08.pdf.

[8] Council of the European Union, "Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy: Providing Security in a Changing World," S407/08, December 11, 2008, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/reports/104630.pdf.

[9] Council of the European Union, "Council Conclusions and Draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities," 17175/08, December 17, 2008, http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st17/st17175.en08.pdf.

[10] "Statement by the Czech Presidency on Behalf of the European Union: 'PAROS,'" Geneva, February 12, 2009, http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/political/cd/speeches09/1session/12feb_EU.pdf.

[11] In February 2008, Russia and China co-sponsored a proposal at the CD to ban weapons in space. See Wade Boese, "Russia Pushes Pacts as U.S. Kills Satellite," Arms Control Today, March 2008, pp. 50-51.

[12] Council of the European Union, "Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 Defining Common Rules Governing Control of Exports of Military Technology End Equipment," 355 OJ 99, December 13, 2008, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:335:0099:0103:EN:PDF.

[13] Common positions are designed to make cooperation more systematic and improve its coordination. EU member states are required to comply with and uphold common positions that have been adopted unanimously by the council.

[14] Council of the European Union, "Council Common Position 3005/329/PESC of 25 April 2005 Relating to the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," 106 OJ 32, April 25, 2005. (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/spru/hsp/documents/2005-0525%20NPT%20CP.pdf)

[15] On February 4, 2008, British Foreign Minister David Miliband presented a six-point plan on nuclear disarmament, in which he described conditions for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. After this interview, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a March 17 speech further elaborated the British position and suggested that the United Kingdom would be ready to participate in broader negotiations "as soon as it becomes useful for our arsenal to be included."

[16] On December 5, 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his role as acting EU president, wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, outlining the EU position on nuclear arms control issues. Among other things, the letter calls for increased nuclear weapons transparency and initiatives on tactical nuclear weapons. http://ambafrance-se.org/france_suede/spip.php?article2084

[17] It is estimated that the United States still deploys between 150 and 240 B61 bombs in Europe. Under nuclear sharing arrangements, as many as 140 weapons can be assigned for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, none of which have their own nuclear arms. These weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime but can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war. See Oliver Meier, "NATO Mulls Nuke Modernization, Security," Arms Control Today, September 2008, pp. 37-39.

[18] Council of the European Union, "Council Joint Action 2008/588/CFSP of 15 July 2008 on Support for Activities of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) in Order to Strengthen Its Monitoring and Verification Capabilities and in the Framework of the Implementation of the EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction," 189 OJ 28, July 17, 2008, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:189:0028:0035:EN:PDF.

[19] On June 5, 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed a new security treaty for Europe. Medvedev elaborated on his proposal in more detail in a speech on October 8 at the World Policy Conference in Evian, France.

[20] The Group of Eight (G-8) Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction is an initiative launched in June 2002. The initial participants pledged $20 billion over a 10-year period to this effort, including $10 billion from the United States and, to date, have primarily funded projects in Russia.


Interviewed by Oliver Meier

Country Resources:

EU Issues Space Code of Conduct

Jeff Abramson

In December, the European Union issued a draft code of conduct for outer space activities that skirted many thorny issues that have plagued prior international efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space. Designed to encompass civilian and military uses of space, key features of the text include a voluntary commitment to refrain from intentionally harming space objects, measures to control and mitigate space debris, and mechanisms for cooperation and consultation. The EU is now expected to hold consultations to revise the text so that it is acceptable to more countries.

Concerns about an arms race in outer space and harm to orbiting satellites have grown in recent years. In February 2008, the United States, citing safety concerns, destroyed an ailing satellite before it deorbited using a modified interceptor designed to counter short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The action was interpreted by some as a demonstration of U.S. anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities. (See ACT, March 2008.) In January 2007, China tested an ASAT system, destroying one of its own satellites and creating significant space debris. (See ACT, March 2007.)

Making progress on space issues was a goal of Nicolas Sarkozy during France's presidency of the EU, which ended with the close of 2008. Paris hosts the headquarters of the European Space Agency, and the French space agency CNES owns a major share in Arienspace, a leader in commercial space launch services.

In issuing the draft code, the EU specifically pointed to a 2006 UN General Assembly resolution asking states for concrete proposals for "outer space transparency and confidence-building measures."

The code encompasses civilian, commercial, and military activities, seeking to "enhance the safety, security and predictability of outer space activities" and "prevent outer space from becoming an area of conflict."

It calls for states subscribing voluntarily to "minimize the possibility of accidents in space...or any form of harmful interference" and to "refrain from any action which will or might bring about, directly or indirectly, the damage or destruction of outer space objects."

It contains an important proviso, allowing for destruction of space objects to "reduce the creation of space debris and/or justified by imperative safety considerations," an apparent reference to the February 2008 U.S. destruction of an ailing satellite due to claimed terrestrial safety concerns. (See ACT, March 2008.)

The code also includes commitments to provide notifications "in a timely manner" of maneuvers, orbital changes, and malfunctions that might place space objects at risk, including any accidents or collisions that have taken place. It would establish annual information sharing, a consultation mechanism, biennial meetings of subscribing states, and a database of key contacts and activities in order to create cooperative mechanisms and an organizational infrastructure to support them.

Recent efforts to develop codes of conduct have generally been less controversial than treaty-based approaches to limit the placement of weapons in space.

China and Russia jointly submitted to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in February 2008 a draft "Treaty on the Prevention of Weapons in Outer Space and the Threat of Force Against Outer Space Objects" (PPWT). Under the proposed accord, states would commit not to place in orbit "any objects carrying any kind of weapons." Such a prohibition goes further than the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forbids placing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in space.

The Chinese-Russian draft treaty also would obligate its members "not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects."

In an Aug. 19, 2008, letter to the CD, U.S. Ambassador Christina Rocca rejected the PPWT, reiterating U.S. opposition to "prohibitions on military or intelligences uses of space." She raised concerns about the lack of clarity in defining what constitutes a threat and the ease of breaking out of the treaty because it does not ban the research, development, and terrestrial storage of ASAT systems or space-based systems. She restated U.S. concerns that "it is not possible to develop an effectively verifiable agreement" that would ban space-based weapons or terrestrial-based ASAT systems.

Rocca reiterated, however, U.S. support for the negotiation of voluntary transparency and confidence-building measures so long as they were done without "linkage" to any arms control agreement.

The draft code indeed avoids many of those linkages. It includes no definition of weapons nor prohibits their placement in space. It also does not expressly limit missile defense, which particularly after the 2008 U.S. test is viewed by many as a latent ASAT capability. A French diplomat told Arms Control Today in an e-mail Jan. 7 that the code instead "focuses on the development of space activities for all states for peaceful purposes."

The diplomat indicated that the code would not be submitted to the CD or considered a counterproposal to the PPWT. As next steps, the EU will launch bilateral consultations with space-faring and other interested countries "with a view to amending the project and reaching a text that would be acceptable by the greatest number of countries."




In December, the European Union issued a draft code of conduct for outer space activities that skirted many thorny issues that have plagued prior international efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space. Designed to encompass civilian and military uses of space, key features of the text include a voluntary commitment to refrain from intentionally harming space objects, measures to control and mitigate space debris, and mechanisms for cooperation and consultation. The EU is now expected to hold consultations to revise the text so that it is acceptable to more countries. (Continue)

EU Pledges Funds for IAEA Fuel Bank

Miles A. Pomper

The European Union Dec. 8 pledged 25 million euros (about $33 million) toward the establishment of a nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The EU contribution means that supporters have come close to meeting the initial financial requirements set down by a nongovernmental organization and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei for establishing the fuel reserve.

Interest in such a fuel bank has grown in recent years amid increasing concerns that global tensions over Iran's uranium-enrichment program may be the first in a series of future crises, spurring governments and private organizations from nuclear supplier countries to step forward with new efforts to limit the spread of nuclear fuel-cycle technology. It is not clear if the steps will be enough to dissuade additional countries from undertaking activities that can provide either fuel for nuclear reactors or critical materials for nuclear weapons.

The EU pledge follows on a September 2006 offer from billionaire Warren Buffett in conjunction with the nongovernmental Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Buffett pledged to provide $50 million to the IAEA to fund "a last-resort fuel reserve for nations that have made the sovereign choice to develop their nuclear energy based on foreign sources of fuel supply services and therefore have no indigenous enrichment facilities." The money would be used to create a stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be manufactured into nuclear fuel, available for countries whose supplies of nuclear fuel were cut off for purely political reasons.

Buffett's offer was initially contingent on one or more IAEA member states contributing an additional $100 million in funds or an equivalent amount of LEU within two years and on agency member states agreeing on a political framework to manage such a stockpile. At ElBaradei's request, Buffett and the NTI extended the deadline for meeting the conditions until September 2009 after states pledged some but not all of the required $100 million. Other states that have pledged funds include the United States ($50 million), the United Arab Emirates ($10 million), and Norway ($5 million). After the EU pledge, only about $2-3 million is needed to meet Buffett's requirements.

ElBaradei told IAEA board members in March 2008 that he did not plan to approach them to establish the fuel bank or the rules to govern it until sufficient funding had been pledged. Javier Solana, the EU's top foreign policy official, told a Brussels conference Dec. 9 that the EU contribution "will allow the IAEA to finalize the modalities for the bank, so the IAEA board can approve it."

Solana added that "[w]e want the bank to be established very soon. In any case, before the next NPT [nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] review conference in spring 2010" and said he was "convinced that the creation of a fuel bank will have a positive impact on the general climate" of that once-every-five-years gathering. The next opportunity the IAEA board would likely have to consider the matter would be at its March 2009 session.

NTI Vice President Laura Holgate said she hoped that the March meeting might direct the IAEA Secretariat and board to finalize the terms and conditions for the fuel bank in time for the board to vote on the matter this June or September. Of particular importance, she said, will be for potential consuming nations to become involved in negotiations, something from which they have shied away until now.

"Consuming nations need to be constructively a part of the conversation," Holgate said.

Solana also noted that the "fuel bank is not exclusive in its character. There are parallel initiatives and ideas that may prove useful to different situations."

Several other fuel cycle initiatives have been floated, with the most advanced being a Russian plan to establish a multinational enrichment center and fuel bank at Angarsk in Siberia. In 2007 the Russian Duma approved enabling legislation that would grant countries the right to participate financially in the facility. In addition, Russia began exploring a means through which a separate LEU stockpile could be set aside under IAEA safeguards for the use of IAEA member states.

Since then, Armenia and Kazakhstan have joined the facility, and Ukraine is on the verge of doing so. Russia's ownership share is slated to drop to 51 percent as other partners are admitted. In order to address concerns regarding the spread of technology, the International Uranium Enrichment Center will be structured in such a way that no enrichment technology or classified knowledge will be accessible to the foreign participants.

In a recent interview with Arms Control Today, Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, likened the Angarsk plan to "offering a Mercedes if you know how to shift gears and drive the car, but there will be somebody else, specialists, who will take care of your engine." (See ACT, December 2008.)

In December 2007, the Russian government took the decision to include the Angarsk enrichment center in the list of facilities it is willing to submit to IAEA safeguards. Safeguards are to be applied, in particular, to a 120-ton LEU stockpile that is to be set aside as a fuel bank in the event of a supply disruption for political reasons unrelated to nonproliferation.

Russia wants the IAEA to apply safeguards to the uranium materials at the facility, including feed uranium, enriched uranium, and uranium tails. Russia's atomic energy chief, Sergey Kiriyenko, told the IAEA General Conference in September that he was confident that the facility would "receive before the end of the year all necessary licenses to go into operation." No such agreement has been finalized.

Some analysts say that a final agreement has been held up in part because Moscow wants to ensure that its enrichment technology remains a secret. It is also unclear who will cover the cost of IAEA inspections.

Yet, Russian officials say a final agreement has been held up because of a dispute between the Russian government and the IAEA over which countries should be eligible to receive fuel from the facility. IAEA officials say that all IAEA members should be eligible to draw from the fuel bank.

Russian law, however, requires Moscow to follow Nuclear Suppliers Group criteria that limits such trade to states that have signed the NPT and have full-scope IAEA safeguards, aside from India, which won an exemption from such rules in September.

Similar issues could hinder the NTI effort as well, Russian officials caution, particularly as U.S. law contains similar requirements.


The European Union Dec. 8 pledged 25 million euros (about $33 million) toward the establishment of a nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The EU contribution means that supporters have come close to meeting the initial financial requirements set down by a nongovernmental organization and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei for establishing the fuel reserve. (Continue)

A Fresh Start? An Interview with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

Interviewed by Daryl G. Kimball and Miles A. Pomper

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russia's new ambassador to the United States, has assumed his post at a critical time in U.S.-Russian relations and at a point when presidential transitions are underway in both Moscow and Washington. Kislyak has served in a number of senior foreign policy positions in Moscow. Most recently, he served as Russia's deputy foreign minister where he played the lead role on arms control and nonproliferation issues. On November 14, Arms Control Today spoke with Ambassador Kislyak about his views on a number of issues in U.S.-Russian strategic relations, including missile defense, future strategic arms reductions, the status of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and Russian views on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

ACT: One of the more immediate security challenges facing the United States and Russia is the December 2009 expiration of START, including its verification regime.[1] Obama has told this magazine that he wants to work with Russia to "make deep cuts in global nuclear stockpiles" during his first term and "extend the essential monitoring and verification provisions of START I prior to its expiration." Would Russia be willing to extend START if necessary?

Kislyak: It is difficult to say what you mean by "extend." Do we extend it the way it is, do we extend it for five years, do we extend it for two? All of these questions need to be discussed between our two teams.

If you ask me where we are currently, having discussed all these issues for quite a long period of time, I would say unfortunately I cannot report to you that we are satisfied with the level of agreement between us and the current administration of the United States on this particular issue. We have quite different views as to what the follow-on to START should be. We think there needs to be an extension of START, preserving the main systematic structure of the agreement, which does not mean we need to carbon-copy the agreement. It is large and had a strong emphasis on the destruction of weapons that have been fulfilled completely by the United States and Russia.[2] We need to focus on things that do provide guarantees for stability in the future. That would certainly include limitations on delivery vehicles. Also, we need to be sure deployment modes do not change in a way that will be threatening to each other. Those elements of START that can provide stability for the future, we want to preserve in the future agreements.[3]

With lowering levels, I am not discussing with you now what the exact numbers I think that need to be filled in. It is something that should be negotiated between the delegations. One should not negotiate through the press, but I am trying to help you to understand how we see the follow-on to START. Sometimes the treaty was criticized for being too lengthy and too complicated. I would say it was not too lengthy because it was addressing challenges that we had at the [time of] signing of the agreement. We were entering a process that was new to us, new to you. That was the first agreement to practically reduce strategic components of both sides.

But by now, after the treaty is almost completed, we have accumulated a wealth of experience on how to implement it. We are now concerned about taking pieces that we know how to implement and to import them in the follow-on agreement that would be providing guarantees for the stability of the future. One of the most important things for us is that [the START follow-on] addresses delivery vehicles because you have to be sure that the deployment modes of both sides would not be any more threatening than they are now. Hopefully, they will be less so, more predictable, and at a lower level. That has always been our philosophy and position on this issue, whereas the philosophy of the U.S. government is a little bit different. What our [U.S.] colleagues are suggesting basically is not a follow on to START but rather an extension or a follow-on to the Moscow Treaty.[4] Those are two different treaties, but they are mutually complementary. The Moscow Treaty, partially at least, was relying on the verification procedures and the system of mutual exchanges provided for in START. Those are two complementary things and not substitutes for one another. What we would like to see happening is that we have a follow-on to START that will be picking up those elements that are still important today and would provide extended stability in our relations, hopefully at the lower levels covering everything: delivery vehicles and [warhead] deployments. A Moscow Treaty plus the follow-on to START would do the trick.

ACT: A hybrid approach?

Kislyak: It is not a hybrid. The Moscow Treaty is there. It is valid until 2012. Currently, we have to resolve the issue on what is to succeed START. The first discussion on what we are going to have afterwards needs to be taken before December of this year. The treaty will expire unless anything else is created or decided in a year. If we do not have anything in January 2010, we will wake up, all of us, in a situation where there are no limits on delivery vehicles and no limits on anti-ballistic missile defense.[5]

I'm asking myself, are we going to be better off in terms of providing stability in our relations and in the world context? I think it would be a very unfortunate , if not dangerous, situation, because it is a kind of free-for-all of strategic arms and we might lose the mutual constraints provided for on a mutual basis by arms control agreements.

ACT: Can you be a little bit more specific in terms of what Russia is looking for in terms of which verification provisions from START should be continued? It was not clear if you wanted those in the future agreement.

Kislyak: Yeah, we do want the follow-on to be providing for verification, exchanges of information, and transparency. It is not that we favor just political declarations. We want to be sure that if we do have an agreement, the agreement needs to be verified and that the American side will be as compliant as we are.

As to the particularities of what we want-once again, I do not negotiate in the press.

ACT: Former President Vladimir Putin said at one point that Russia would be prepared to reduce its strategic forces down to 1,500 warheads or less.[6] That has been interpreted in different ways. What does that mean in terms of whether those warheads would be counted under the SORT [Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty] system or START? Can you provide any clarification of what he meant or what was meant in those comments?

In moving forward in talks with the United States on strategic systems, what is Russia's view about how best to deal with the United States' interest in converting some of the strategic systems that are armed with nuclear warheads to conventional warheads? How might that be taken into account in these future discussions?[7]

Kislyak: First of all, the numbers. We are certainly willing to go lower. That has always been our position, even at the time of negotiating the Moscow Treaty. The number of 1,500-there is nothing magic about it. Those are the numbers as a target that we are willing to negotiate with our American colleagues on. So whatever the mechanism is for arriving at this number, we are willing to be open and stick together. What we want to see happening is the mutual constraints provided for in START should not be lost because they do provide stability and are one of the important things that also should be preserved and should not be discarded.

As to the idea of converting nuclear strategic weapons into conventional weapons, we are very much concerned about this concept. We don't believe that, so far, that there is a mechanism that would ensure that it would not be destabilizing. We have been told that this conversion of strategic delivery vehicles into non-nuclear ones would not affect Russian security, but that's easily said. It is difficult to understand how it could be guaranteed; how one can be relaxed about a number of delivery vehicles that can be reconverted at any time, and secondly can have strategic missions. So, we do not agree in principle because we do not know of any guarantees that it is not going to be threatening to our security.

ACT: To date, U.S. and Russian arms control treaties have focused on strategic weapons. Yet, many analysts outside Russia have raised concerns about the size and security of Russia's stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons, as well as whether Russia has fulfilled past commitments to reduce these weapons.[8] Under what conditions would Russia be willing to provide a full accounting of these systems and start verifiably disposing of them?

First and foremost, on the security of these weapons, this issue has been talked about many times. In my opinion, having been involved in negotiations, I do not know of a single case where there has been a real problem with the safety and security of Russian nuclear weapons.

The United States has to work more seriously on how it deals with this issue. The latest reports on these issues that we know of indicates that a lot of things need to be looked at in this country.[9] I saw statements by the secretary of defense on this issue suggesting that there were decisions made in order to reinforce control of your stockpile and your components, and situations where some elements of them would find themselves in different countries. It is not acceptable, and we are certainly looking forward to seeing more control in this country of your components. As far as we are concerned, certainly, one cannot be complacent at any time, but the system of protection of Russian nuclear weapons is very, very stringent.

I remember, I think it was in Bratislava, that both sides, the presidents and the staffers and the advisers, had discussed the issue of safety of components of nuclear weapons. They agreed there was a good level of protection in both countries.[10] But one of the ideas was that we should never be complacent about it. That is something that is the case in my country. So I take exception to the notion that our nuclear weapons are insecure. Our strategic forces can be considered as secured.

As to the scope of nuclear weapons in negotiations, I think we need to be aware that the nuclear weapons unfortunately do not exist in isolation. It is also [a] part of military culture on both sides. We see that we have difficulties to even negotiate a follow-on to START that regulates the strategic component of [U.S. and Russian] forces.

At the same time, when you come say to the European situation we see a lot of imbalances in conventional weapons. We see a very disappointing situation with the CFE [Conventional Armed Forces in Europe] Treaty. We still believe the CFE Treaty that was negotiated for the situation when two opposing military blocs existed still regulates the relations between two groups of countries. We see that one group is no longer and the other is expanding and taking bit by bit the quotas that were given to the group that is no longer there, suggesting that the treaty doesn't work. It is something that is so surreal and does not provide the sense of stability, that we were forced to send [for the Russian moratorium] a strong signal to our colleagues that this situation should be corrected.

Some years ago ... on the initiative of Russia, we started negotiating the [adaptation] to the CFE Treaty that provides a little bit different approach.[11] It is not an ideal document either, but at least it does provide more predictability in this field by providing for two networks of limitations, not on the basis of groupings, but on individual membership to the treaty. We did expect that this treaty would have been in force already, say, five years ago. And what happens? Nothing. The adapted treaty has not entered into force. Our colleagues in the United States and NATO have decided not to start ratification of the treaty. The conditions for ratification, as far as we are concerned, are official; and we think that, first and foremost, there was lack of [NATO] interest in seeing it enter into force.

However, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus did ratify the [adapted] treaty, so we live in a very asymmetrical situation in terms of conventional buildups in Europe. I am not suggesting there are enormous buildups that are immediately threatening or deployed to prepare a tank attack, like we were concerned about in Cold War times. But the situation is that there is an expansion of conventional weapons in one grouping that is still there. The situation in conventional arms control is not satisfactory.

ACT: Is it fair to say then that the quantity of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe is not the main concern or the main motivation for why Russia would be prepared to retain its weapons?

Kislyak: It is one of them. We have always advocated the repatriation of all weapons to one's own territory. We do not keep nuclear weapons beyond the territory of Russia, and we have always advocated that it would be a good idea for the others to do the same.

ACT: If the United States was willing to withdraw those tactical nuclear weapons, would that change Russia's position on consolidating, reducing, or eliminating its tactical nuclear weapons?

Kislyak: It would certainly be a serious factor, but would it be enough? I think we need to have a little bit more complex discussion between us and the United States and between us and NATO on the security environment in Europe.

ACT: On the CFE Treaty, Russia last year suspended implementation of it.[12] When does Russia intend to resume implementation, and what actions will it take to bring the Adapted CFE Treaty into force?

Kislyak: Well, I do not believe that we are interested in resuming implementation of the current CFE Treaty [without it being adapted]. You know how the CFE Treaty works? You have the current CFE Treaty that is the old one, and we have an adapted treaty. The adapted treaty does not exist without the first one, so in order to have an adapted treaty in force, we have to have both (The old one to be adapted by the new one). So, the moment that the adapted treaty is in force, we will have both: the old one, as amended by the treaty of adaptation.

But legally speaking, we are already there. We have ratified the adapted treaty, so in a way, we are waiting for others to join us. It is not us blocking the treaty and implementation; it is us waiting [for the others].

ACT: The argument on the other side is that you have not fulfilled these political commitments.

Yes we have. We have fulfilled everything that is applicable to the CFE Treaty implementation.

ACT: What about the withdrawals from Moldova and Georgia that were supposedly tied to the Adapted CFE Treaty?[13]

Kislyak: No, no, no, we have done everything that is related to the treaty, we have withdrawn all TLE [treaty-limited equipment] from Moldova in time. But there are political agreements between us and Moldova and us and the United States on the political environment there. They are bilateral understandings. Same with Georgia, on the withdrawal of our bases. Our bases are no longer there, we have withdrawn them. But the Georgians also were under commitment to do several things, and they have failed to do so. But in any way all this goes beyond what was required to implement the treaty.

By the way, by the same token, one of the commitments of Istanbul for all of us, including the United States, was the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty. It is yet to be implemented [by the West].

ACT: The United States and Russia share the challenge of dealing with Iran's ongoing enrichment program, as well as Iran's construction of the Arak heavy-water reactor.[14] Just briefly, in your view, what do the United States and Russia and other members of the Security Council need to do in the near future to fortify the existing strategy or adjust the existing strategy to persuade Iran to suspend its enrichment program and comply with the IAEA investigation of its past nuclear activities?

Kislyak: Well, I do not believe we need to reinvent the strategy. This strategy has two basic components. One is based on decisions made by the IAEA Board of Governors enumerating for the Iranian government what needs to be done to return credibility to its program. The Security Council has adopted already four resolutions that are beefing up the requirements of the IAEA. So there have been strong but measured signals of the international community to Iran that it is expected to comply with the IAEA requirements. And that was reinforcing the latest [UN Security Council] resolution from September. It [the September resolution] was short but, I think, very important, with a serious message.

What needs to be done also is to try to engage in discussion with Iranian colleagues and work out the benefits, for them and for all of us, if they do cooperate with the requirements. The six [China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States] have produced a package of ideas which I think is a good one. It provides for the Iranians, if they choose to pick it up and to develop it with us through negotiations, an excellent opportunity to expand cooperation not only with us, but also with Europeans, with the United States, with China, on a very, very broad range of issues, including nuclear energy, even scientific research, and many other things that would help them to be more integrated into the world economy. That is an offer of cooperation by countries "from the Atlantic to the Pacific," to the Iranian colleagues. That is something we try to reinforce when talking with Tehran. We are very much interested in seeing the Iranian government understand that this package is an honest one. We are satisfied that the American government is more and more involved in promoting this package. We saw Bill Burns, together with us, at the Geneva meeting back in the summer, which I think was a good message reinforcing that if we do have an agreement on this package, the United States will be part of it.[15] That is a very important part.

There are a lot of concerns on both sides. There is a lot of mistrust on both sides that needs to be overcome. That is the track that, I think, is a little bit underdeveloped so far, and we need to work more on that.

ACT: Russia has asserted that the Bush administration has pursued several policies that threaten to upset U.S.-Russian strategic relationship and stability. Foremost among these is this administration's effort to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a new radar in the Czech Republic. Why is Russia concerned about 10 interceptors, and why does it keep threatening to target the proposed U.S. installations?

Kislyak: It is not about 10 interceptors per se. We certainly understand that these 10 interceptors and the radar stationed in Czech Republic are not isolated components. They are elements of strategic anti-ballistic missile deployment. We see this for the first time, as far as I understand in history, that the United States is planning to deploy strategic components of its forces in Europe. It is close to us. This is about destabilizing deterrence. There are several bases of strategic offensive force in the European part of Russia that will be within range of this system. What is planned to be deployed is not just an observation or [early] warning radar, this is a battle management radar. We understand that most probably it is not the last [planned] deployment in the region. There might be others. I do not know when or where. We see it not as 10 innocuous missiles being deployed. We see it as an element of a bigger picture. This picture seems to be increasingly destabilizing and potentially more destabilizing in the future. That is the concern.

ACT: What measures or actions could the United States take to mitigate Russian concerns about the proposed deployment?

Kislyak: We had proposed an alternative idea of cooperating against what was the stated goal for this deployment, and that is to offset the possibility that the deployment would appear threatening to other countries.[16]

ACT: Is there any possibility that your government and the Obama administration could build on this administration's proposals for joint threat assessment, limiting interceptor deployment, and pursuing a joint missile defense architecture?[17]

Kislyak: What we had proposed was to join our monitoring systems, including our radar station in Azerbaijan. There would be a system strategically located in the region that might be of service in the future of missile defense. What we were proposing was to create a joint monitoring system that would be giving all of us on a joint basis the possibility to monitor what is happening and what is not happening. That is equally important.
We also proposed that we will conduct a discussion as to what we can do and need to do together in order to offset any possible threat if and when it appears. We do not see a credible threat to the United States appearing any time soon, at least not in my opinion, to strike the United States from this region. To threaten the United States from that region one has to have missiles of 8,000 to 11,000 kilometers range, and I do not see an industry in this region that would be capable any time soon to produce that kind of system.

When it comes to arguments about the need to protect Europe, I do not believe Europe asked for protection. It was decided for Europeans without consulting Europeans. The problem is that we also have specialists on ballistics and trajectories and mathematics, and we understand that, had it been the goal to protect Europe, maybe we would have used a different scheme of deployment to protect all of Europe. So if this is not to protect the United States and it is not to protect Europe and if there is no threat to offset, then the only "clientele," as they say, for this system would be Russia. Russian territory is very close, and we have components of strategic deterrence there. That is the concern. We are concerned that this system is an added element (close to our borders) to the overall effort to undermine strategic deterrence. And we, you and us, have not yet abandoned strategic deterrence.

ACT: Bush discussed with Putin a few months back, I believe at Sochi, the possibility of limiting the scope of that deployment, in addition to the Russian proposal that you just outlined.[18] Is that a realistic area for future discussion because you did just say that the concern is not 10 interceptors per se, but the possibility of a broader and more robust missile defense capability of the United States?

Kislyak: No, these elements will be serving as part of a layered defense. Nobody was offering to us any limitation of the strategic missile defense of the United States. I never heard of any proposals of that kind. It is not nearly enough [to alleviate Russian concerns] because we have had that kind of discussion in the past and we have raised our concerns. To be honest, we have not seen those concerns always being taken seriously.

ACT: Russia is a strong proponent of negotiating an agreement to prevent an arms race in outer space.[19]

Yes, we are.

ACT: U.S. officials contend there is no arms race in space and that Russia's proposals are neglecting to address the real danger of terrestrial based anti-satellite systems. What is Russia's response to the U.S. arguments, and why has Russia made outer space a priority?

Kislyak: We made it a priority because we are concerned if you start an arms race in outer space, you would not be able to disinvent it. It is going to be destabilizing if it is allowed to take place. The notion that there is no arms race in outer space does not sound to us credible because we are concerned that there will be programs in the future that might lead to deployment of striking weapons in outer space. That is a problem. I remember there were a number of statements, even by experts outside of the government here, that had begun to advocate that kind of program should be accelerated. We understand there is a lot of thinking about this and, at some point in the discussions about the strategic defenses in your country, there were ideas to deploy various versions of weapons into outer space.

So, this issue has not been withdrawn from the table. We are concerned if that happens, and if others would have to reciprocate, if we will bring the competition into outer space, it will become increasingly destabilized and, in the long term, strategically dangerous. It will undermine [also] the ability of countries to explore outer space for peaceful purposes. So, there are many components why one can be concerned. We are very much satisfied that a lot of countries supported us in a vote for resolutions at the United Nations. The appreciation of the problem seems to be almost universal. It is only the United States that does not join us yet. We will see what the future will bring to us.

ACT: Many former U.S. statesmen are now calling for a renewed emphasis on making progress toward the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons. Do Russia's leaders see this goal as feasible? Do they share the views of Kissinger, Schultz, Perry, Nunn, and many others, that the nuclear-weapons states can and should move quickly on concrete steps to realize this goal?[20]

Kislyak: As the ultimate goal, yes, but in order to achieve this goal, a lot of things need to be done. Certainly the lower you go, the more complex the situation becomes. As we go down, we need to be sure that nuclear weapons are not going to appear in other countries. You need to work toward increasing the guarantees of nonproliferation at first. Secondly, we need to have all other [nuclear-armed states] on board. Third, we need to be sure that while we are moving toward this goal, how are the other components of security to be assured? It is complex. It is a very, very complex goal, but it is a noble goal. We can work toward this goal. It has always been our commitment in the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but we need to take first steps first.[21] The first priority for us and probably for you, today, is to decide what is going to follow-on to START. That would be a first step. That is a very good goal that needs to be worked on, I'm afraid, for a quite a long period of time.

Click here for a complete transcript of the interview.


1. START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) I calls for the reduction in the number of Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear arsenals of each party. Signed in July 1991, START I entered into force in December 1994. START I runs for 15 years with an option to extend the treaty for successive five-year periods. Extension provisions call for parties to meet at least a year before the treaty expires in December 2009. Neither the United States nor Russia supported a five-year extension. For a discussion on what might follow START I, see Alexei Arbatov and Rose Gottemoeller, "New Presidents, New Agreements? Advancing U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control," Arms Control Today, July/August 2008, pp. 6-14.
2. All member states to START I met the agreed December 5, 2001, implementation deadline.
3. The basic terms of START I call for reductions in delivery vehicles and deployment modes, so that seven years after the entry into force of START I and thereafter, numbers do not exceed 1,600 deployed ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers for each side. It also limits the number of warheads attributed to ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers. No more than 4,900 may be on ICBMs and SLBMs, 1,540 on heavy missiles, and 1,100 on mobile ICBMs.
4. The Moscow Treaty, also known as the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), was signed by Bush and Putin in 2002 and came into force in June 2003. SORT differs from START I in that it limits the number of operationally deployed warheads, whereas START I only limits "accountable" warheads attributed to their delivery vehicles. SORT calls for both parties to limit their nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed warheads each.
5. The now-defunct Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on May 26, 1972, and entered into force on October 3, 1972. The treaty barred Washington and Moscow from deploying nationwide defenses against strategic ballistic missiles. The United States withdrew from the treaty on June 13, 2002.
6. See "Statement of Russian President Putin on Strategic Reductions and Preservation of the ABM Treaty," Arms Control Today, December 2000, p. 30.
7. The Global Strike Initiative is a Pentagon initiative that would convert some long-range SLBMs to deliver conventional warheads instead of nuclear ones. See Wade Boese, "Panel Endorses U.S. Global Strike Initiative," Arms Control Today, June 2007, pp. 34-35.
8. Collectively known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs), President George H. W. Bush and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev both announced unilateral strategic reduction measures in the fall of 1991. The United States alleges Russia still has not fulfilled all of its PNI destruction commitments, and Moscow opposes the continued stationing of hundreds of U.S. tactical nuclear gravity bombs in Europe, which the PNIs did not cover. See Oliver Meier, "NATO Mulls Nuke Modernization, Security," Arms Control Today, September 2008, pp. 37-39.
9. In August 2007, a B-52 flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, unknowingly carrying six nuclear warheads. See Zachary Hosford, "Congress, Pentagon Probe Nuke Overflight," Arms Control Today, October 2007, p. 48. Additionally, the Pentagon revealed in March 2008 that four classified fuses to nuclear weapons had been mistakenly shipped to Taiwan in August 2006. See Jeremy Patterson, "Taiwan Fuse Shipment Reveals Nuclear Security Gaps," Arms Control Today, May 2008, pp. 46-47. In response to the mishandlings, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appointed a task force headed by former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to review nuclear security and command and control and fired the Air Force secretary and chief of staff.
10. The Bratislava Initiatives were announced in a joint statement on nuclear security cooperation issued by Bush and Putin in February 2005. Both presidents reaffirmed commitments to making securing vulnerable materials a top priority, as well as to work together on energy, counterterrorism, and space cooperation. These initiatives have contributed to efforts to remove highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Poland and Libya, secure U.S.-origin HEU around the world, and convert HEU-fueled reactors to operate on low-enriched uranium (LEU).
11. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, signed in November 1990, set equal limits on the amount of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that NATO and the former Warsaw Pact could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. With the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union after the Cold War, CFE Treaty states-parties overhauled the treaty in November 1999. The Adapted CFE Treaty replaces the bloc and zone weapons limits with national and territorial arms ceilings, and Russia notified signatories of its intended suspension of the original CFE Treaty in July 2007.
12. See Wade Boese, "Russia Suspends CFE Treaty Implementation," Arms Control Today, January/February 2008, p. 46.
13. After three years of negotiations, the Adapted CFE Treaty was concluded and signed at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul in November 1999.

NATO members' concerns regarding Russian compliance to the adapted treaty imperiled the official signing of the agreement. Several states, including Russia, made last-minute political commitments in an package called the "Final Act" to quell these doubts. Under the agreements, several NATO members pledged not to increase their territorial ceilings of treaty-limited equipment (TLE), and Russia agreed to reduce its TLE in Georgia and withdraw its military presence from Moldova.

Only Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine have ratified the adapted treaty. The United States and NATO allies have conditioned their ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty on Russia fulfilling its Final Act pledges. See Wade Boese, "CFE Adapted at OSCE Summit in Istanbul," Arms Control Today, November 1999, p. 23.
14. Iran has been making preparations for the construction of a 40-megawatt heavy-water research reactor near the town of Arak since the 1990s and began construction on the plant in 2004. The site was made public in 2002 by an Iranian dissident group, prompting an IAEA investigation at the previously undeclared site. Iran claims that the reactor will be used to produce medical isotopes, but the configuration of the reactor also makes it suitable for producing high-quality plutonium for nuclear weapons. Because of this concern, the UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend construction of the reactor. The IAEA has also requested that Iran provide updated design information for the reactor. Iran has not cooperated with the Security Council or the IAEA regarding these measures and continues construction of the plant, which is slated for completion in 2011. Iran completed construction of a heavy-water production plant to provide heavy water for the reactor at the same site in 2006.
15. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns participated in a July 19 meeting between the permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Germany and Iran to discuss proposals addressing Iran's nuclear program. Burns' participation marked a reversal of U.S. policy prior to the meeting in which Washington refused to send a representative to meetings with Iran until Tehran complied with UN demands.
16. See George N. Lewis and Theodore A. Postol, "European Missile Defense: The Technological Basis for Russian Concerns," Arms Control Today, October 2007, p. 13.
17. See Wade Boese, "U.S. Reaffirms Europe Anti-Missile Plan," Arms Control Today, July/August 2007, pp. 23-24; Wade Boese, "Report: No Progress on Missile Defense, Nukes," Arms Control Today, October 2007, p. 40.
18. See Wade Boese, "Bush, Putin Leave Arms Disputes Unsettled," Arms Control Today, May 2008, pp. 27-28.
19. Russia is a vocal supporter of an international agreement against the weaponization of space and has supported the creation of an ad hoc committee of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to focus on the issue. In February 2008, Russia and China co-sponsored a proposal at the CD to ban weapons in space. See Wade Boese, "Russia Pushes Pacts as U.S. Kills Satellite," Arms Control Today, March 2008, pp. 50-51.
20. See George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons," The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007, p. A15; George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, "Toward a Nuclear-Free World," The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2008, p. A13. For a more in-depth discussion, see George P. Shultz, Sidney D. Drell, and James E. Goodby, eds., Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2008).
21. Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligates nuclear-weapon states to work toward nuclear disarmament.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russia's new ambassador to the United States, has assumed his post at a critical time in U.S.-Russian relations and at a point when presidential transitions are underway in both Moscow and Washington. Kislyak has served in a number of senior foreign policy positions in Moscow. Most recently, he served as Russia's deputy foreign minister where he played the lead role on arms control and nonproliferation issues. On November 14, Arms Control Today spoke with Ambassador Kislyak about his views on a number of issues in U.S.-Russian strategic relations, including missile defense, future strategic arms reductions, the status of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and Russian views on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program. (Continue)


Subscribe to RSS - EU / NATO