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“The Arms Control Association and all of the staff I've worked with over the years … have this ability to speak truth to power in a wide variety of venues.”
– Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment
June 2, 2022
EU / NATO

Senator Helms' Floccinaucinihilipilification

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

As self-appointed arbiter of U.S. foreign policy, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) recently disdainfully dismissed an appeal by all 45 Democratic senators that he allow the Senate to consider the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has languished before his committee for two years without hearings. In his supercilious reply, Helms proclaimed his "floccinaucinihilipilification" of the CTBT, or in plain English, his belief that the treaty is absolutely worthless. With Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's (R-MS) support, Helms reasserted his intention to hold the treaty hostage to advance his campaign to destroy the unrelated ABM Treaty, thereby blocking Senate action on the CTBT. Failure to ratify the CTBT will endanger U.S. security by undercutting U.S. efforts to build international support for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and by allowing further nuclear weapon developments by countries that could threaten the United States.

The 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which now bars testing by the 181 non-nuclear-weapon states-parties through their agreement not to acquire nuclear weapons, allows the five recognized nuclear-weapon states to continue testing, underscoring the inherently discriminatory nature of the treaty. By applying equally to all nations, the CTBT would end the privileged status of the nuclear-weapon states to continue testing to further develop their nuclear capabilities. The treaty is widely seen as the litmus test of whether the nuclear-weapon states recognize their own NPT treaty obligation to move toward nuclear disarmament.

The CTBT would ban nuclear testing by Russia, the only country that can now possibly threaten the survival of the United States, and by China, the only other country that might in the future achieve that capability. But neither Russia nor China will ratify before the United States does. The treaty also provides a practical means to limit the development of more advanced weapons by India, Israel and Pakistan, three nuclear-capable countries that are unlikely to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states because it would require the elimination of all their nuclear weapons. Finally, by establishing an international norm against testing, the CTBT would put additional pressure not to test on North Korea and Iraq, which are in violation of their NPT obligations, and Iran, which the United States believes is positioning itself to violate the NPT.

Despite these compelling considerations, test ban opponents assert in a campaign of false and misleading statements that without testing the U.S. deterrent will be threatened by the loss of stockpile reliability and that the treaty is "unverifiable." These alarming assertions could not be sustained in a serious Senate debate. The leaders of the three U.S. nuclear weapon laboratories agree that the reliability and safety of the stockpile can be maintained without further nuclear testing. This will be accomplished by the generously funded stockpile stewardship program, which will monitor the reliability of the stockpile with non-destructive and non-nuclear testing, as well as computer simulations. This will give ample warning if weapons or components must be refabricated. The current chairman of the JCS, General Henry Shelton, as well as four former JCS chairmen have endorsed the treaty as serving U.S. security interests. They are confident of the reliability and safety of the U.S. stockpile and see no need to develop new types of weapons to meet U.S. military requirements in an era of declining relevance of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. record of successfully identifying some 1,000 foreign nuclear tests (about 700 underground) refutes the charge that the treaty is unverifiable. With the added capabilities of the treaty's international monitoring system, any tests large enough to affect U.S. security will be detected. And the treaty provision to permit on-site inspections will provide a mechanism for taking violations to the United Nations with the support of the international community if clear evidence is discovered or if the inspection is denied.

Helms' obstruction has already lost the United States voting participation in the special Vienna conference October 6-8 to facilitate entry into force of the CTBT. If he is allowed to continue to block ratification, the U.S. leadership role will be seriously undercut at the important five-year NPT review conference scheduled for April-May 2000. Rather than being looked to as the leading force against nuclear proliferation, the United States will be widely held as responsible for the failure of the nuclear-weapon states to honor their pledge on the CTBT in obtaining the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995.

The Republican leadership should not permit Helms to co-opt them as co-conspirators in his effort to block CTBT ratification. If Helms succeeds in denying the Senate the right to exercise its constitutional responsibility to consider this important treaty, the issue must be taken to the American people. Polls indicate that an overwhelming bipartisan majority does not share the senator's cavalier "floccinaucinihilipilification" of the CTBT.

KLA Disarming Slowly and Reluctantly

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an estimated 17,000 ethnic Albanians who fought to separate Kosovo from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, is on pace to meet its September 19 disarmament deadline according to KFOR, the international security force in the war-torn province. KFOR, however, has stepped up its search and seizure operations, while Russia, a KFOR member with pro-Serbian sympathies, charged on August 18 that the process is "proceeding very slowly."

General Michael Jackson, commander of KFOR, said August 23 that the KLA had met the second of three benchmarks on August 20, by which all of its heavy weapons and 60 percent of its small arms were to be handed over to registered storage sites. By September 19, all KLA small arms, except pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles, are to be turned over and the wearing of KLA uniforms and insignia will be proscribed as the separatist group is officially disbanded.

KFOR's measure of KLA compliance is somewhat suspect given that its original weapons holdings are not known. Though "encouraged by the results," a KFOR spokesperson, who declined to release total numbers of weapons turned over, said that KFOR is "still not satisfied with the number of weapons in circulation and continued acts of violence." With the international security presence now numbering over 40,000, KFOR is taking a more active role in disarming the province, according to the spokesperson. Though pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles are not proscribed, KFOR is confiscating the weapons if they are carried in public.

Belgrade to Abide by Sub-Regional Arms Control Agreement

Wade Boese

NEARLY ONE MONTH after withdrawing its armed forces from Kosovo, Yugoslavia pledged on July 19 to resume its implementation of the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, which Belgrade suspended one week after the start of NATO's 78-day bombing campaign in March. Countries in the region, including Yugoslavia, are also now expected to renew talks on building a "regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia" as called for under Article V of the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

The sub-regional agreement caps the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that each party to the agreement can possess. Weapons limits for Yugoslavia (comprised of Serbia and Montenegro), Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were set according to a 5-2-2 ratio based on the size of their respective populations. Bosnia-Herzegovina's limits were further divided between the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska on a 2-1 basis. The agreement calls on all parties to annually exchange information and permit inspections of their holdings.

As a first step in renewing its participation in the agreement, Yugoslavia is expected to provide updated information on its weapons holdings in early September. With conflicting reports by NATO and Belgrade regarding Yugoslav weapons losses during the 11-week war in Kosovo, it is unclear how much lower the forthcoming figures will be than those Yugoslavia provided in its last report in December. Prior to the war, Belgrade had the maximum number of weapons allowed in each of the five categories.

Any weapons reductions claimed by Belgrade will need to be verified by the other parties to the agreement. For example, if Belgrade claims 50 fewer tanks, then evidence of 50 destroyed tanks must be provided. Once verified, Belgrade would then be permitted under the agreement to replace its losses—up to its weapons ceilings—if it so chooses. Any future weapons acquisitions by Yugoslavia, however, are also dependent upon the lifting of the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo.

Discussions on resuming implementation of the sub-regional agreement, including inspections, and on how to verify Yugoslavia's pending data submission are anticipated to take place at a September 16 meeting of the parties. Yugoslavia has said it will attend, but Republica Srpska may not in response to the August 25 arrest in Vienna of its army chief of staff, General Momir Talic, on war crimes charges for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Belgrade's interest in complying with the sub-regional agreement stems in part from a desire to improve its standing in Europe and possibly gain readmission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). While Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia are all OSCE members, Yugoslavia's membership has been suspended since July 1992. The fact that the Yugoslav army's 1997 modernization plan, "Model 21," was developed with the sub-regional agreement in mind further encourages adherence to the agreement. Implementation of the sub-regional agreement is also viewed as a necessary step for the so-called Article V negotiations, which Belgrade has strongly supported as a means to formalizing ties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania—neighbors with which it has uneasy relations.

Preliminary Article V talks have focused on transparency and on confidence- and security-building measures rather than on weapons limits. French Ambassador Henry Jacolin, OSCE special representative for the talks, has said he would like to see progress by the OSCE's November summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The first Article V meeting since February is scheduled for September 6, and approximately 20 countries, including the United States, are expected to attend.

Senators Call on Helms to Allow Vote on CTB Treaty

Craig Cerniello

WITH TIME RUNNING out for the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before a special conference is convened to examine ways to bring the accord into force, a bipartisan group of senators in late June urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) to finally act on the treaty. Only states that have ratified the treaty can serve as full participants at the conference, likely to be held October 6-8 in Vienna.

In a June 28 letter to Helms, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), James Jeffords (R-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) pressed the committee chairman to promptly hold hearings and allow the treaty to come up for a floor vote. "Many nations are waiting for the United States to lead on this important issue before completing ratification in their countries. Failure to act on the [CTB] Treaty will deny the U.S. an active voice at the conference and could severely weaken U.S. non-proliferation efforts, including the effort to bring India and Pakistan into this treaty," the letter said.

Under Article XIV, the CTBT cannot enter into force until it has been signed and ratified by the five major nuclear-weapon states, India, Pakistan, Israel and 36 other states that have nuclear power and/or research reactors. If the CTBT has not come into effect three years after it opened for signature, Article XIV allows a majority of states that have already ratified the treaty to call a special conference to "decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty."

This spring, a majority of the ratifying states wrote UN Secretary General Kofi Annan requesting that such a conference be held shortly after the treaty's third anniversary on September 24, 1999. Unless the United States ratifies the CTBT before then, it will only be able to attend the conference as a non-voting "observer."

Although President Clinton signed the CTBT in September 1996 and submitted it for ratification a year later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not conducted a single hearing on the treaty. Senator Helms has repeatedly stated that his committee will not consider the test ban until it has first voted on the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty as well as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, neither of which have yet been submitted by the Clinton administration.

Thus far, the CTBT has been signed by 152 states and ratified by 38 states, and of the 44 states whose ratification is required for the treaty's entry into force, only 19 have ratified. Britain and France are the only two nuclear-weapon-states that have ratified, but Chinese President Jiang Zemin promised June 16 that his government "will soon submit the treaty to the National People's Congress for ratification."

Serbs Withdraw; KLA to Disarm

Wade Boese

SOME 47,000 SERBIAN military and paramilitary forces completed their withdrawal from the Yugoslav province of Kosovo on June 20, leading NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana to officially end the alliance's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Hours later, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an estimated 17,000 ethnic Albanians fighting for Kosovo independence, agreed to turn in its weapons and disband.

On June 21, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Serb forces left Kosovo with nearly 800 tanks, armored personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery batteries in tow. Under the terms of a June 9 military agreement, no Serb forces can be within a 5-kilometer "ground safety zone" extending from the Kosovo border into Yugoslavia.

With scant evidence of destroyed equipment, the Defense Department is backing away from earlier calculations that 120 tanks, 220 APCs and 450 artillery and mortar positions were struck by the more than 23,000 bombs and missiles used in NATO air strikes. Any Serb weapon losses, however, are unlikely to be replaced soon as the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia remains in force.

Moreover, future Yugoslav force levels for tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters are capped by the 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control. Though Belgrade suspended implementation of the agreement March 31, and has yet to resume, the other parties (Croatia and both entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska) have said that Yugoslavia has assured them it will abide by the agreement.

For their part, KLA members are prohibited from possessing proscribed weapons (everything but pistols and non-automatic rifles) after midnight July 21. By that date, all KLA heavy weapons and 30 percent of all small arms are to be turned over to registered weapons storage sites. Sixty days later, all KLA weapons, including small arms, are to be in the storage sites under the control of KFOR, the international security force in Kosovo. While skepticism about KLA compliance runs high, initial reports show some weapons are being handed over.

Russian Compliance With CFE 'Flank' Limit in Doubt

Wade Boese

WHILE REMAINING within overall weapons limits under the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Russia is suspected of not being in compliance with its revised "flank-zone" limits on armored combat vehicles (ACVs), which entered into force on May 31. Until a July 1 information exchange takes place, an official judgment on Russian compliance cannot be made, but Moscow has failed to meet earlier interim limits. On June 1, NATO called on all CFE countries to fulfill current legal obligations.

The treaty's flank zone, which will be retained in the "adapted" accord now under negotiation among the CFE states (see ACT, March 1999), limits the tanks, ACVs and heavy artillery located in Europe's northern and southern regions. Russia, one of 12 countries with territory in this zone, has persistently sought to increase, or abolish, its flank limits. Moscow contends the limits unfairly constrain Russian weapons deployments on its own territory, where serious security threats, like Chechnya, exist.

In a move to address Russian concerns, CFE parties renegotiated Russian flank limits in May 1996 so that the original limits of 1,300 tanks, 1,380 ACVs and 1,680 artillery would apply to a smaller area. New limits of 1,800 tanks, 3,700 ACVs and 2,400 artillery would apply to the original flank territory. Both sets of limits entered into force on May 31.

While at or near flank limits for tanks and artillery, Russia is reportedly in excess of ACV limits in the smaller, revised flank zone by roughly 1,500 and in the larger, original zone by several hundred. In fact, Russia, according to a March 8 White House compliance report, exceeded higher interim limits of 1,897 tanks, 4,397 ACVs and 2,422 artillery in the original flanks. Moscow has sought exemptions for the excess equipment, describing it as not militarily usable.

A March 30 agreement among all CFE parties to permit Russia a larger ACV limit of 2,140 in the revised flank zone under an adapted treaty has helped mute NATO reaction to Russia's suspected non-compliance. Because completion and entry into force of an adapted treaty remain wild cards, however, NATO has stressed compliance with existing treaty obligations. The White House compliance report described Moscow's earlier non-compliance with the interim flank limits as not militarily significant to NATO.

Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) said on May 26 that the "validity" of the May 1996 flank agreement has been called into question because the Clinton administration has failed to submit the 1997 ABM succession and demarcation agreements to the Senate. (See story.) As part of its 1997 resolution of ratification for the flank agreement, the Senate required any future ABM succession agreements be submitted to the Senate. The Clinton administration has repeatedly said it plans to submit the ABM agreements once the Russian Duma ratifies START II.

NATO Unveils 'Strategic Concept' at 50th Anniversary Summit

Wade Boese

AT ITS 50TH anniversary summit April 23-25 in Washington, NATO adopted a new "strategic concept" formally recasting the alliance's Cold War-era mission from collective defense to one that, in the words of NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, will guarantee European security and uphold democratic values "within and beyond our borders." While the new strategy, particularly nuclear weapons policy, departs little from the strategic concept approved in 1991 when the Soviet Union still existed, the new language officially sanctions NATO out-of-area action—such as the air campaign against Yugoslavia launched one month earlier. The alliance also reaffirmed its "open-door policy" for new members, but opted not to name any at this time. Russia condemned the summit results.

Unveiled on April 24, the strategic concept identifies the UN Security Council as having primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, but does not tie alliance action to Security Council endorsement. Some European allies, such as Greece and Italy, had questioned whether NATO could act without Security Council authorization prior to the launching of NATO's attacks against Yugoslavia on March 24. Alliance leaders dropped from the new strategic concept a 1991 statement that NATO is "purely defensive in purpose: none of its weapons will ever be used except in self-defense."

According to the 1999 concept, NATO's 19 members must "safeguard common security interests" and be prepared to act in conflict management and crisis response operations, including those beyond alliance territory. Yet, NATO's air strikes during the Bosnian war and the on-going air war against Yugoslavia, which muted what was to have been a summit celebrating alliance membership for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, suggest that the alliance was already willing to engage out-of-area.

Side-stepping German and Canadian calls last year to review NATO nuclear policy in the strategic concept, including consideration of a no-first-use policy, the alliance reiterated that nuclear weapons provide a "unique contribution in rendering the risks of aggression against the alliance incalculable and unacceptable."

In a separate communique on April 24, however, NATO noted that the "reduced salience of nuclear weapons" would permit consideration of options for "confidence- and security-building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament." Proposals for a process to review such options, presumably including revival of the no-first-use debate, are to be readied by December.

NATO described the circumstances for contemplating the use of nuclear weapons as being "extremely remote," a change from the 1991 language of "even more remote." This falls shy, however, of 1990 language in the London Declaration that the alliance would make nuclear arms the "weapons of last resort."

Excluding British and French national forces, NATO is estimated to have between 150 and 600 nuclear gravity bombs in seven European countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey and Britain. NATO has stated that it has "no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons" on the territories of its three new members.

NATO nuclear and conventional forces, according to the strategic concept, will be kept at a "minimum sufficient level." At the same time, however, the document assigns these forces with the tasks of securing freedom of action and fulfilling all alliance missions. While the new concept judges large-scale conventional aggression against NATO "highly unlikely," it claims that "the possibility of such a threat emerging over the longer term exists."

Describing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery as a "serious concern," NATO, at the insistence of the United States, launched a "WMD Initiative" to strengthen "common understanding among Allies on WMD issues and how to respond to them." A "WMD Center" for coordinating alliance policy will be central to these efforts. European allies, some of which question the threat posed to NATO by proliferation beyond Europe's borders, had resisted past U.S. efforts to give the issue greater attention within the alliance.

Further Expansion Promised

Alliance leaders opted not to extend membership to any of the nine aspiring states (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), but stated that "the three newest members will not be the last." The common refrain that "no European democratic country" will be excluded from membership consideration was repeated, raising Russia's ire. Moscow fervently opposes Baltic membership in NATO, and released an April 28 Foreign Ministry statement charging that the NATO summit represented a "claim by the alliance for domination in European and world politics."

NATO stated in the strategic concept that it did not consider itself to be "any country's adversary," and that it saw a strong NATO-Russia relationship as essential to European stability. But current NATO-Russian relations, already strained by NATO expansion and exacerbated by Russian economic ills, have been frozen because of NATO's war with Yugoslavia. On March 24, Moscow suspended its participation in both the Partnership for Peace program, a military cooperation program between NATO and 25 non-NATO countries, and the Permanent Joint Council, a body for NATO-Russia consultations.

Belgrade Suspends Implementation of Sub-Regional Arms Accord

Wade Boese

ONE WEEK AFTER NATO began its bombing campaign against Yugoslav territory and military forces, Belgrade suspended implementation of the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, but stressed that the move was not a withdrawal from the regime. All other parties to the agreement, Croatia and both entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina (the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska) said they will continue implementation where possible.

In letters dated March 31 and April 1, Yugoslavia informed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is helping implement the agreement, that it was temporarily suspending implementation because of the impossibility of conducting inspections on Yugoslav military forces in light of NATO air strikes, which began March 24. No provision exists, however, for temporary suspensions, while withdrawal from the agreement, which Belgrade emphasized it was not doing, would require a 150-day notice and is proscribed until after December 14, 1999.

As a key goal of the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended the fighting in Bosnia, the 1996 agreement capped the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that the former warring parties could possess. Limits were apportioned according to the size of each party's population on a 5:2:2 ratio between Yugoslavia (composed of Serbia and Montenegro), Bosnia and Croatia. The Bosnian limit was further divided on a 2:1 basis between the Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serbs.

All parties met, and have remained at or below, their limits after destroying nearly 6,600 weapons by November 1997. As called for by the agreement, the parties annually exchange information on and conduct inspections of the capped weapon holdings. To date, 338 inspections have been conducted.

Meeting informally without Yugoslavia on April 28, the other parties to the agreement decided that implementation should continue, although "adapted to the circumstances." Seven inspections involving Yugoslavia from April to August have been postponed, while the other parties carried out two inspections in May. The parties agreed to continue to meet informally until Belgrade renewed its participation, which an OSCE official said all parties, at this time, expect to take place.

U.S. Halts 'Train and Equip'

For the second time, the United States on April 19 suspended the "train-and-equip" program that provides the Muslim-Croat federation with U.S. weapons and training, a major carrot for its adherence to the 1996 agreement. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, special representative to the president for implementation of the Dayton accords, reportedly cited inflammatory speeches regarding Bosnian-Muslims by Croat and Bosnian-Croat generals and the continuing failure of the two entities to truly integrate their forces as reasons for the move. Last year, the program was halted from June 1-17 until the forces put into use common rank insignia and flags.

The $400 million program aims to create a Muslim-Croat force in Bosnia that can counter Republica Srpska. U.S. and European critics of the program fear it may create a much stronger federation force that could go on the offensive once the international presence leaves Bosnia.

According to Stephen Geiss, deputy director of the program, most of the weapons, including 15 UH-1H utility helicopters and 126 howitzers, have been delivered and the focus is now on creating a professional, integrated force that is oriented toward NATO military doctrine. U.S. officials have not identified what steps are necessary for the program, currently expected to run through September 2000, to get back underway.

Once train and equip ends, Washington hopes to develop a normal arms sales relationship with Bosnia, much like Croatia, which President Clinton on April 8 determined as eligible to receive U.S. weapons. Zagreb, however, is currently at its limits for all five categories of arms under the sub-regional agreement and would first need to make headroom before importing any U.S. weapons.

Regional Process Stalled

As a follow-on to the 1996 agreement and as called for in Article V of the Dayton accords, Southeast European countries were to work on "establishing a regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia." By December 1998, however, only very vague goals of continuing a process of stability and transparency had been proclaimed, without any reference to arms limitations. In February, French Ambassador Henry Jacolin, OSCE special representative for Article V negotiations, held a plenary to set out a negotiation schedule, but NATO air strikes have brought the languid process to a standstill.

NATO Strikes Against Yugoslavia Cloud U.S.-Russian Arms Control

 Craig Cerniello

DRAMATICALLY underscoring Russian anger at NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov turned his plane around over the Atlantic and canceled a March 23–25 visit with Vice President Al Gore in Washington to discuss a broad range of issues, including arms control. Yet the degree to which the air strikes, which began March 24, will impede U.S.-Russian progress on arms control remains unclear, as setbacks on START II and "Y2K" cooperation were balanced by progress on the highly enriched uranium (HEU) purchase agreement and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. (See CFE story.)

START II Delayed—Again

Primakov, recognizing that the NATO air strikes had poisoned the political climate for START II ratification, asked the Duma on March 26 to postpone its consideration of the treaty. The next day, the Duma overwhelmingly adopted a 16-point resolution condemning NATO's military action and recommending that the Russian government "temporarily revoke" the draft START II resolution of ratification submitted by President Boris Yeltsin only days earlier.

On March 16, the START II ratification process—sidetracked by the U.S.-British air strikes against Iraq in December (see ACT, November/December 1998)—had resumed when the Duma forwarded to Yeltsin the resolution of ratification produced by International Affairs Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin and Defense Committee Chairman Roman Popkovich. Under Russian legislative procedures, only the president can submit ratification bills to the Duma.

Also on March 16, Primakov warned on national television that if Russia failed to ratify START II, the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty, creating the possibility of a new arms race.

On March 17, the Duma almost unanimously approved the first "reading" (an initial step in the legislative process) of a separate bill guaranteeing funding for Russia's strategic nuclear forces through 2010. Popkovich had argued that resolving such financial issues was necessary for ratification of START II. Two days after the vote, the Duma announced that it would debate START II ratification on April 2.

Yeltsin submitted the Lukin-Popkovich bill to the Duma on March 22, clearing the way for its approval. When NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia began on March 24, however, momentum for START II ground to a halt.

Despite their opposition to the NATO action, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev defended START II during the special March 27 Duma session on the Balkan crisis. During his sixth annual address to the nation on March 30, Yeltsin also expressed Russia's continuing support for the START process.

Y2K Cooperation on Hold

On March 26, an official from the Russian Ministry of Defense told Interfax that in response to the NATO air strikes, it would cease cooperation with the U.S. Defense Department on the so-called "Y2K" problem, whereby computers mistakenly interpret the digits "00" as 1900 instead of 2000. Malfunctions caused by this problem could have serious consequences in areas such as early warning.

During a February 18-19 meeting of the Defense Consultative Group—a regular forum for discussions between the Defense Department and Ministry of Defense—the United States had proposed creating a temporary joint early-warning center in Colorado Springs to help monitor foreign ballistic missile launches during the transition to the new millennium (roughly mid-December 1999 through mid-January 2000). The United States also offered to work with Russia about management techniques and key technologies that could be used to combat Y2K-related problems.

The United States and Russia have already agreed to create a permanent joint early-warning center on Russian territory. The center is part of an agreement made at the Moscow Summit in September 1998 for the two nations to share, on a continuous and real-time basis, early-warning information on the worldwide launches of ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles. (See ACT, August/September 1998.) Because of the complexity of the negotiations over implementation of the summit agreement, however, this permanent center will not be completed in time to deal with the Y2K problem.

Prior to the NATO air strikes, Russia had responded positively to the U.S. proposal for a temporary joint early-warning center. A Defense Department spokeswoman stated that despite the March 26 Ministry of Defense statement, the department has not received any official communication from Russia regarding cancellation of Y2K cooperation and is still making preparations for the Colorado Springs facility.

Nuclear Redeployment Rejected

As a gesture of defiance toward the NATO air strikes, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a resolution on March 24 calling upon the government to abandon its non-nuclear status. (Ukraine returned the last of its strategic warheads to Russia in 1996.) Just two days later, however, President Leonid Kuchma said Ukraine would not reconsider the nuclear option. These developments came about one month after Ukraine destroyed the last of its 130 SS-19 ICBMs in accordance with START I.

In Belarus, which likewise transferred its last strategic warheads to Russia in 1996, speculation about the restationing of nuclear weapons has persisted for quite some time, especially in connection with NATO enlargement. Responding to these latest rumors, President Alexander Lukashenko said on March 25 that "Minsk has not asked for the return of nuclear weapons" and no state will be allowed "to wave Belarus at the West like a big stick."

Progress on HEU Implementation

Though the cancellation of Primakov's U.S. visit forced the postponement of the formal session of the Gore-Primakov Commission, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov did co-chair a meeting of the commission's newly established Nuclear Policy Committee.

On March 24, Richardson and Adamov signed an agreement facilitating implementation of the 1993 HEU accord, under which the United States is to purchase, over a 20-year period, Russian low-enriched uranium (LEU) that has been blended down from 500 metric tons of HEU removed from dismantled nuclear weapons. Russia had threatened to terminate the purchase agreement because it believed that it was not being fairly compensated for the natural uranium component of the LEU deliveries, worth approximately one-third of the $12 billion deal. (See ACT, August/September 1998.)

The new agreement, which calls for the United States to buy the natural uranium from the 1997–1998 Russian LEU shipments, was made possible by the simultaneous completion of a commercial contract between Russia and three Western companies (Cameco, Cogema and Nukem) for the future purchase of the Russian natural uranium.

CFE Parties Outline Adapted Treaty; Limits to Allow NATO Growth

Wade Boese

DESPITE MOSCOW'S anger at NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia, as well as continued opposition to NATO expansion, Russia joined the United States and the 28 other states-parties to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty on March 30 in signing a preliminary agreement for adapting the Cold War-era treaty to the current security environment. The agreement is not legally binding, but will guide negotiations within the Vienna-based Joint Consultative Group (JCG)—the treaty's implementing body—for replacing the treaty's bloc-to-bloc structure with a system of national and territorial limits.

Though both Moscow and Washington welcomed the agreement, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement cautioned that the "decision does not cover the entire spectrum of problems of adaptation." Russia, which has sought through CFE adaptation to blunt some of the ill effects of NATO expansion, had demanded that talks conclude before the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland formally joined NATO (which occurred March 12). The adaptation negotiations, on-going since January 1997, are now expected to be wrapped up by November.

Signed in 1990, the CFE Treaty capped the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters—referred to as treaty-limited equipment (TLE)—that NATO and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. To prevent conventional force buildups in the center of Europe, the treaty employed a concentric zone structure that permitted larger TLE deployments the farther one moved away from the fault line between the two alliances.

Under an adapted treaty, there will be 30 separate national limits, each covering all five TLE categories, rather than two balanced bloc limits. Each country will also have a territorial ceiling capping the total amount of ground TLE, both national and foreign, allowed within its borders. For countries in the flank zone—created to limit the amount of ground TLE in the northern and southern flanks of Europe—territorial ceilings will be set equal to national ceilings. Therefore, if any flank country wants foreign forces on its territory, its actual TLE holdings must be lower than its national limits by at least an amount equivalant to the foreign TLE. A Russian proposal for territorial ceilings on combat aircraft and attack helicopters failed, as NATO argued that such equipment is too mobile to be verified on a territorial basis.

As part of the March 30 accord, all CFE parties agreed to prospective national limits except Azerbaijan, which claimed it was unable to declare such limits at this time. The sum of the proposed national limits for NATO's 19 members is lower than the their current entitlements (roughly 80,000 compared to 89,026) but much higher than their actual holdings of 64,091. Therefore, NATO will not have to remove or destroy TLE to meet the projected limits.

The United States proposed a TLE limit of 7,590, far below its current entitlement of 13,088 but more than twice its actual TLE holdings of 3,465. Germany undertook the second-largest NATO reduction in TLE (963), while Canada, Greece, Norway, Portugal and Turkey offered no TLE cuts. For its part, Russia proposed a reduction of 385 TLE from its current entitlement of 28,601.

States-parties agreed that territorial ceilings may be exceeded for notified military exercises and peacekeeping missions sanctioned by the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. These "basic temporary deployments" cannot exceed 153 tanks, 241 ACVs and 140 artillery pieces in any one country.

Countries outside the treaty's flank zone will in times of crisis be permitted "exceptional temporary deployments" of up to 459 tanks, 723 ACVs and 420 artillery pieces above territorial ceilings. In the event of any temporary deployments larger than the "basic" level, a conference of states-parties will be convened within seven days for the host and stationing countries to explain the deployment. Simultaneous exceptional temporary deployments will be permitted.

Russia, eager to limit the NATO presence in new alliance members, had opposed exceptional temporary deployments, but pledges by the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to lower TLE ceilings eased some of Moscow's concerns. By the end of 2003, the territorial ceilings for the three new NATO members (covering both national and foreign equipment) would be smaller than their current national entitlements. In a reciprocal move, Russia pledged not to increase TLE holdings in its northern flank and in the Kaliningrad Oblast.

Since CFE's entry into force in 1992, Russia has pressed for larger TLE limits in—or abolition of—the flank zone, where Moscow claims serious security concerns, particularly after the war in Chechnya. According to the March 30th agreement, however, the flank zone will be retained in an adapted treaty.

Though none of the 12 flank countries will be allowed to increase its overall TLE flank limit, Moscow did secure an increase in an ACV sub-limit. In accordance with a May 1996 agreement that will enter into force this May, Russia's ACV total for the original flank zone was set at 3,700, of which 1,380 could be located in a "reduced flank zone." Under the March 30 agreement, that smaller limit is proposed to grow to 2,140. In return, Russia cannot temporarily deploy any ACVs in the reduced flank zone and must reduce Russian TLE stationed in Georgia, as well as withdraw Russian TLE from Moldova.

The agreement emphasizes the need for host country consent for stationing of any foreign TLE. Nevertheless, to guard against unwanted foreign TLE stationing, Moldova renounced its right to temporary deployments.

The CFE Treaty currently limits the amount of TLE that can be deployed in active units, with the remainder confined to Designated Permanent Storage Sites. (Both active and stored TLE count against overall limits.) Under the adaptation agreement, states may shift TLE from storage sites to active units but must eliminate four pieces of TLE for every one moved to active units.

To keep track of all the above activity, the parties agreed to adopt an "enhanced regime of verification and information exchange." Under an adapted treaty, the number of annual inspections that a country must permit on its territory will rise from 15 to 20 percent of its Objects of Verifications—military units and other sites with TLE. The parties will also negotiate specific transparency and verification measures for temporary deployments.

Negotiators at the JCG will return to work on April 12. Outstanding issues include clearing up a discrepancy of approximately 2,100 TLE between the total amount of equipment that the eight successor states to the Soviet Union committed to eliminate and the amount that the Soviet Union would have had to eliminate based on Soviet data at the signature of the treaty. Much of the unclaimed TLE is thought to be derelict or not under government control.

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