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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Press Releases

Battle Brewing Over Congressional Investigations

As Congress probes the Bush administration’s failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, battle lines are forming over how far the investigations should go. The Republican chairs of both the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence are eager to limit political damage to the White House and have limited their inquiries to examining how the intelligence community carried out its work.

Democrats insist the panels need to look beyond the quality of information that was supplied to President George W. Bush. They also want the investigations to look at whether Bush or his aides intentionally exaggerated claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons capabilities in order to bolster their case for war. “I think the central question here is, frankly: Was there a predetermination to go to war on the part of the administration….Or was there faulty intelligence,” Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an appearance Oct. 26 on Meet the Press.

Republicans dispute the idea that Bush intentionally misled the American people. Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told USA Today and the Washington Post that his inquiry found no evidence that the White House pressured intelligence officials.

Roberts’ assessment was bolstered to some extent by remarks from Carl W. Ford Jr., the State Department’s newly retired intelligence chief. The intelligence community “has to bear the major responsibility for WMD information in Iraq and other intelligence failures,” Ford said in remarks published in the Oct. 29 Los Angeles Times. “We badly underperformed for a number of years,” he
added, “and the information we were giving the policy community was off the mark.”

But at a hearing of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Oct. 24, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said the intelligence committee’s inquiry is “missing half” the issue. Levin is conducting his own inquiry, and Rockefeller has said he will launch an additional committee review to look at the administration’s use of intelligence if the majority refuses to do so.

Both Senate Democrats and Republicans grouse about the administration’s willingness to cooperate with the investigations. On Oct. 29, Roberts and Rockefeller sent a sharply-worded letter to CIA Director George Tenet after he demanded that top CIA officials be given the opportunity to respond to the panel’s preliminary findings. The letter called for the agency to provide the panel with needed information and schedule any interviews within two days. “The committee has been patient,” the senators wrote, “but we need immediate access to this information.”

The battle over the congressional investigations follows news that the Iraq Survey Group has so far failed to find actual weapons in Iraq. The head weapons inspector of that group, David Kay, received a mixed response from Congress when he briefed the House and Senate intelligence committees Oct. 2 on his “interim progress” report. Neither party could be said to be overjoyed, however, particularly after Kay told lawmakers that he needed another six to nine months and more than half-a-billion dollars to complete what many see as a fruitless investigation. The Bush administration is seeking an additional $600 million for Kay to continue his search, part of an $87 billion fiscal 2004 supplemental spending bill to pay for reconstruction costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To be sure, there were some Republicans who saw bright spots in the report. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, took an entirely different spin from his colleagues. “Basically, I think the news is extremely good,” he stated, contending that Kay’s report actually reaffirms the administration’s decision to go to war. —With Roxane Assaf

 

 

 

 

 

As Congress probes the Bush administration’s failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, battle lines are forming over how far the investigations should go.

Russia Mulls Altered Nuclear Doctrine

The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a paper Oct. 2 on modernizing its strategic forces that promises a rejuvenated land-based nuclear weapons arsenal for the next 30 years and warns that Russian military doctrine may need to be revised if U.S. policy continues supporting pre-emptive military action and moves further toward developing new, low-yield weapons.


The Defense Ministry disseminated the document ahead of an Oct. 2 meeting with Russian armed forces commanders. Although changes to military doctrine must be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the modernization paper informally floated some Defense Ministry ideas, signaling that a shift in Russia’s formal doctrine may be forthcoming. Russia last amended its military doctrine in April 2000. (See ACT, May 2000.)

The paper reiterates the deterrent role of Russia’s nuclear weapons but warns of possible policy changes in light of U.S. strategic choices. At the conference, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the Kremlin had noted “attempts…to turn nuclear arms from a deterrence tool into theatre arms,” alluding to U.S. efforts to permit research into low-yield nuclear weapons, RIA Novosti reported Oct. 2. Ivanov was also quoted as calling the efforts “an extremely dangerous trend” and said that changes to Russia’s posture may be imminent if the United States lowers the threshold on the use of nuclear arms.

The Russian document responds to recent steps taken by the United States to increase the profile of its nuclear arsenal. President George W. Bush released a national strategy document in September 2002 that declared that the United States “will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise [its] right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively.” In November 2002, Congress approved a Bush administration initiative to study modifications to existing U.S. nuclear weapons to destroy underground bunkers. As part of the fiscal year 2004 budget request issued in February 2003, the Pentagon also asked Congress for permission to research low-yield nuclear weapons.

NATO’s nuclear role also received attention in the paper, which was released several days before an Oct. 8-9 meeting of NATO defense ministers. The Defense Ministry wrote, “If NATO is preserved as a military alliance with its existing offensive military doctrine, this will demand a radical reconstruction of Russian military planning and the principles of construction of the Russian armed forces, including changes in Russian nuclear strategy,” according to an Oct. 2 Associated Press report.

Russia has been wary of NATO’s expansion plans to include former Soviet bloc members, as well as NATO peacekeeping support in Afghanistan—all of which keep NATO’s military presence close to Russian borders. Russia has also expressed concern that NATO may station nuclear weapons in the Baltic states after they accede to the alliance—an accusation that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have denied. (See ACT, October 2002.) At the Oct. 2 conference, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky emphasized Russia’s wariness of the “anti-Russian orientation” in NATO and possible alliance plans to “lower the threshold of using nuclear weapons.”

Ivanov also discussed the possibility of Russia taking preventative action, particularly in regional situations, at the meeting with Russian military commanders. He cited “instability in border areas” that may influence future military planning, saying, “We cannot absolutely rule out preventative use of force if Russia’s interests or its obligations as an ally require it,” according to an Oct. 2 ITAR-TASS article.

At the NATO defense ministers meeting, Ivanov clarified that “Russia still regards nuclear weapons as a means of political deterrent,” Reuters reported Oct. 9. His comment distinguished Russian policy from the U.S. stance outlined in the December 2002 National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. The document stated that Washington could “respond with overwhelming force—including through resort to all of our options—to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies.” The classified version of the document reportedly states that “overwhelming force” could include nuclear weapons. (See ACT, January/February 2003.)

Putin told the meeting that a stockpile of SS-19 missiles, which until now have not been operational and have been stored in what Putin termed a “dry state,” will bolster Russia’s aging land-based arsenal, keeping the country’s deterrent viable until at least 2030. According to Putin, replacing older weapons with the SS-19s from the stockpile will give Russia “enough time in order to work to develop new [twenty-first-century] weapons.” Putin claimed that the changes to the Russian arsenal are in compliance with its obligations under the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, in which Putin and Bush each agreed to reduce nuclear warhead holdings to 1,700-2,200 by 2012. (See ACT, June 2002.)

 

 

 

 

 

The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a paper Oct. 2 on modernizing its strategic forces that promises a rejuvenated land-based nuclear...

Bush Hints at North Korea Security Agreement

Some headway was made in October toward breaking the stalemate between the United States and North Korea, but it is far from clear that the year-long crisis surrounding North Korea’s nuclear program will be settled anytime soon. President George W. Bush said Oct. 19 that the United States is willing to provide a written, multilateral guarantee that the United States will not attack North Korea—an indication that the United States will present a concrete offer to North Korea if future multilateral discussions are held. North Korea said Oct. 25 that it is willing to consider the still-developing U.S. proposal but announced earlier in the month that it is closer to developing additional nuclear weapons.

The U.S. proposal is still a work in progress and will be developed in consultation with the other participants in the six-party talks. Although the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Oct. 30 that North Korea has “in principle” accepted a new round of multilateral talks, no date has been set.

The crisis began in October 2002 when a U.S. delegation told North Korean officials that Washington possessed intelligence confirming Pyongyang’s pursuit of a uranium enrichment program. Such a program can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Since then, the crisis has escalated. North Korea pulled out of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), restarted its plutonium-based nuclear facilities frozen under the 1994 Agreed Framework, and regularly reported advances in its nuclear weapons capabilities. The Agreed Framework defused the first North Korean nuclear crisis by providing North Korea with heavy-fuel oil and two proliferation-resistant light-water reactors in exchange for freezing its plutonium program. Construction on the reactors has not been terminated, but the oil shipments were suspended in November 2002 in an effort to pressure North Korea.

The apparent decision to negotiate with North Korea is part of an evolution in stated U.S. policy. Administration officials had previously dismissed the idea of negotiating a settlement to the crisis as giving in to blackmail.

Two rounds of talks aimed at resolving the crisis have taken place in Beijing since October 2002. The United States, North Korea, and China took part in the first round in April and were joined by Japan, Russia, and South Korea for a second round in August. Neither round yielded an agreement. The United States has said its delegation to the August talks did not make an explicit offer but signaled Washington’s willingness to compromise with North Korea. North Korea argues that Washington simply restated its previous policy, however, and U.S. allies have said they want the administration to be more flexible. (See ACT, October 2003.) Bush’s statement came during a trip to Asia earlier this month, where he consulted with other participants in the six-party talks.

U.S. officials have said repeatedly that Washington has no intention of attacking North Korea and have indicated their willingness to provide a written agreement to this effect. Department of State officials said in September that the United States is willing to employ a step-by-step approach to resolve the crisis, rather than continuing to insist that North Korea first completely dismantle its nuclear facilities.

Still, the administration has also emphasized multilateral diplomacy with Pyongyang and said it wants any security agreement to be concluded within the context of the six-party talks. Bush said Oct. 19 that previous bilateral agreements with North Korea have failed, asserting that North Korea “cheated” on the Agreed Framework. Administration officials have previously argued that multilateral negotiations will be more effective than bilateral ones because North Korea will feel increased pressure to comply in a multilateral setting.

Although the Agreed Framework is a bilateral agreement, its implementation is multilateral in nature. For example, South Korea, Japan, and the European Union share membership on the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization’s (KEDO) executive board. KEDO is the U.S.-led consortium that is charged with supplying the heavy-fuel oil and building the reactors under the Agreed Framework.
The United States has not yet decided on a precise formulation for a security arrangement, but the United States has addressed the question in past official statements. For example, the Agreed Framework requires the United States to “provide formal assurances” to North Korea that the United States will not threaten or use nuclear weapons. Additionally, the two countries stated in an October 2000 Joint Communiqué that neither “would have hostile intent toward the other.”

The Way Forward

After initially dismissing Bush’s statement Oct. 21 as “laughable,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Oct. 25 that Pyongyang would “consider” Bush’s comments, according to KCNA. The spokesman added, however, that any U.S. proposal would have to come with “the intention” for the two countries to “coexist” and be part of a step-by-step solution to the crisis. Pyongyang is currently evaluating the “intentions” behind Bush’s remark, the spokesman said, labeling discussions of further six-party talks “premature.” Secretary of State Colin Powell said Oct. 26 that North Korea contacted the United States about the matter two days before.

There are several potential obstacles to a settlement. One question is whether the U.S. proposal will be sufficient to satisfy North Korea’s concerns about its relations with the United States. Pyongyang has condemned Washington’s preference for multilateral solutions as a tactic intended to divert attention away from what Pyongyang regards as the real issue: Washington’s “hostile policy” of placing economic pressure on North Korea and threatening it with military force, including use of nuclear weapons.
In particular, North Korea cites a September 2002 document describing the U.S. National Security Strategy, which explicitly mentions North Korea and emphasizes pre-emptive action to counter threats from countries developing weapons of mass destruction. To justify their stated fears of a pre-emptive nuclear attack, North Korean officials cite a leaked version of the Bush administration’s January 2002 classified Nuclear Posture Review, which lists North Korea as a country against which the United States should be prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of a military confrontation.

The administration has pursued other aspects of a containment policy, such as attempting to persuade allies such as Japan and Australia to interdict Pyongyang’s sources of hard currency. Moreover, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued in May that other regional powers should threaten to cut off aid to North Korea if it does not change its objectionable policies.

Bush made it clear during an Oct. 19 press conference that a formal nonaggression pact—a persistent North Korean demand—was “off the table.” North Korea said Oct. 7 that it wants U.S. security assurances to come in the form of a treaty because it does not trust Congress or future administrations to adhere to policies made by any president, according to a KCNA statement. North Korea has frequently argued that the United States did not live up to its commitments under the Agreed Framework, citing delays in the reactors’ construction and the administration’s “hostile policy.”

North Korea has also previously rejected the idea of a multilateral security agreement. An Aug. 19 KCNA statement dismissed such a plan as a diversionary tactic and referred to “the concept of ‘collective security’” as “an insult” to North Korea, suggesting that Pyongyang wants to be seen as an equal to the United States in any negotiations.

The specifics of implementing any agreement may well prove to be another sticking point. Pyongyang has resisted the notion of dismantling its reactor before concluding an agreement with the United States because it believes the United States will simply pocket any concessions. Washington has yet to finalize either the specific steps required by each side or the sequence in which they will be implemented.
It is also unclear how the United States intends to address other North Korean demands. Pyongyang has called on the United States to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel oil shipments, and increase food aid.

Pyongyang’s declaration that it would discuss verification measures for any agreement “only after the [United States] drops its hostile policy” could also complicate a settlement.

Upping the Ante

Meanwhile, North Korea again upped the ante in the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, announcing earlier this month that it had completed reprocessing the spent fuel rods from its five-megawatt nuclear reactor and implying that it was using the resulting plutonium to construct nuclear weapons. Pyongyang further increased concern Oct. 16 by issuing what may have been a veiled threat to test nuclear weapons.

North Korea had privately made the reprocessing claim earlier, but an Oct. 2 KCNA statement marked Pyongyang’s first public pronouncement.

An Oct. 3 KCNA statement said that the country completed reprocessing the spent fuel rods in June, and an Oct. 2 statement noted that Pyongyang “made a switchover in the use” of the spent fuel “in the direction increasing [sic] its nuclear deterrent force.” The earlier statement added that North Korea would continue to produce and reprocess additional spent fuel when deemed necessary.

According to Powell and other U.S. diplomats, North Korean officials on more than one occasion have told their U.S. counterparts that they had completed reprocessing the spent fuel.

But U.S. officials have expressed skepticism about the earlier announcements and continue to cast doubt on the North Korean claims. Powell told reporters Oct. 2 that Washington has “no evidence” that Pyongyang has reprocessed the spent fuel rods, adding that the United States would “continue to pursue diplomacy.” North Korean officials have said Pyongyang possesses nuclear weapons, but it is unclear whether this is the case.

North Korea’s possible suggestion that it may test nuclear weapons came in a Oct. 16 announcement from KCNA, which stated that Pyongyang will “take a measure to open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force” if the United States refuses to change its negotiating stance.

The Oct. 2 KCNA statement also said that Pyongyang is “stepping up the preparations for the construction of a graphite-moderated reactor.” Whether this statement refers to incomplete reactors whose construction was frozen under the Agreed Framework is uncertain, but the announcement could be a signal that North Korea intends to produce additional fissile material for nuclear weapons. Graphite-moderated reactors are better suited for producing nuclear weapons-grade fuel than their light-water replacements. These plants could produce enough fuel for approximately 30 nuclear devices per year, according to an August Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.

Powell has said that North Korea’s fuel rods could yield enough plutonium for as many as six nuclear devices, and the CRS report estimates the reactor could produce enough fissile material for one weapon per year.

North Korea produced the spent fuel rods before agreeing to freeze operating the reactor and its related facilities in accordance with the Agreed Framework. North Korea announced in December that it was restarting the reactor, and U.S. officials confirmed in February that it had done so.

At the same time it announced its reprocessing claim, North Korea also reiterated two previous claims regarding its nuclear intentions. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon said North Korea has no intention of exporting nuclear material to other countries, Xinhua News Agency reported Oct. 2. Additionally, the Oct. 2 KCNA statement repeated North Korea’s claim that its nuclear weapons are solely for defensive purposes.

 

 

Some headway was made in October toward breaking the stalemate between the United States and North Korea, but it is far from clear that the year-long crisis surrounding...

India, Pakistan Move Forward With New Weapons

South Asia’s ballistic missile competition moved to a new phase in October. Amid news that India’s Agni I and II ballistic missiles were ready for deployment and had been handed over to the army, Pakistan conducted a round of three ballistic missile tests that concluded Oct. 14. In other developments, India announced it had established a credible second-strike capability. Nevertheless, both countries avowed their peaceful intentions.


Indian Prime Minister Bihari Vajpayee said that India’s establishment of new alternative military command centers did not mark a more aggressive stance by New Delhi. Vajpayee stressed that India’s nuclear policy is “firmly predicated” on the principle of a no-first-use policy. “Our nuclear weapons are meant to deter irresponsible military adventurism, not to fight a nuclear war,” he said in an interview with the Thai newspaper Matichon during a visit to Thailand Oct. 9.

Pakistani officials tried to play down the strategic significance of their country’s missile tests, calling the round a purely technical effort rather than a provocative gesture toward India and stressing that it had been in the works for some time. “These tests do not have any specific reasons beyond military purposes,” Pakistani military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan Khan told Voice of America Oct. 14. “These tests have been done only to validate the design parameters, which are purely technical reasons. There is no message to be sent across, and these are not in any [way] a tit-for-tat response.”

Still, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri claimed during the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia Oct. 14 that India’s plans to buy the Phalcon airborne early-warning radar system and other defense systems “pose[] a credible threat to Pakistan” and that Pakistan “will be forced to acquire new generation defense systems,” according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

In March, India and Pakistan did engage in what was seen as a tit for tat when each country tested short-range nuclear-capable missiles on the same day. (See ACT, April 2003.)

Tests Successful

The recent round of testing began on Oct. 3 with the firing of Pakistan’s Hatf-3 Ghaznavi, a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying payloads of 500 kg up to a range of 290 kilometers (182 miles). The Pakistani military said in a statement that the test, the second of the Ghaznavi missile, showed all design parameters had been successfully validated.

The following two tests, on Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, were both conducted using the medium-range Hatf-4. Also known as Shaheen-1, the surface-to-surface missile is capable of carrying payloads of 500 kg up to 700 kilometers (or about 435 miles, i.e., deep into India). The Pakistani military said the tests were successful and that a longer-range version of the Hatf series will be tested in the future. (See ACA missile fact sheet, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/missiles.asp.) Both missiles tested this month are capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Indian Command Centers Set Up

Meanwhile, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said the country’s nuclear command chain is in place. In declaring Oct. 5 that India’s Agni I and Agni II ballistic missiles have been handed over to the army for deployment, Fernandes acknowledged that India has established alternative nuclear command centers to ensure retaliation from a nuclear strike and has set up nuclear shelters and bunkers to protect officials in case of an attack. “We have established more than one [nuclear control] nerve center,” Fernandes told The Press Trust of India. “India as a declared nuclear-weapon state has been on this job from day one.”

The Agni I has a range of up to 700 kilometers (435 miles), and the Agni II has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). Each is capable of carrying payloads of 1,000 kg.

U.S. Cautions Restraint

Responding to Pakistan’s missile tests, the United States continued to urge India and Pakistan to “take steps to restrain their nuclear-weapon and missile programs, including no operational deployment of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles,” Department of State spokesperson Richard Boucher said during a press briefing Oct. 14. The United States is also encouraging both countries to begin a dialogue on “confidence-building measures that could reduce the likelihood that such weapons would ever be used,” Boucher added. Boucher’s comments followed meetings between Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Pakistani officials in Islamabad Oct. 6. Near the end of the month India announced some dozen “peace” proposals and Pakistan was deciding how to respond.

 


 

South Asia’s ballistic missile competition moved to a new phase in October. Amid news that India’s Agni I and II ballistic missiles were ready for deployment and had been handed over to the army...

Israel Allegedly Fielding Sea-Based Nuclear Missiles

Wade Boese

U.S. and Israeli officials have declined directly to address an October news report that Israel was arming U.S.-supplied cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. The news came amid increased international attention to nuclear weapons in the Middle East as the United States and European nations sought to halt Iran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 12 that two senior Bush administration officials said Israel has modified U.S. Harpoon cruise missiles, which can be launched from submarines, to deliver nuclear warheads. The paper added that an Israeli official confirmed the American statements. All three spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., would not respond to the report. When contacted Oct. 20, he simply reiterated Israel’s long-standing position that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Although Israel refuses to confirm or deny whether it possesses nuclear weapons, it is almost universally recognized as having built up an atomic arsenal. Typical estimates of the arsenal’s size range from weapons numbering in the high tens to a couple hundred. Israel fields medium-range ballistic missiles and U.S.-supplied fighter aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters Oct. 14 that he would not look into the Harpoon allegation because “it’s not the kind of subject we readily share information on.” Although Washington routinely condemns countries hostile to the United States for seeking nuclear weapons, it stays mum on Israel’s arms.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees U.S. military sales abroad, told Arms Control Today Oct. 23 that Israel’s contract for Harpoon missiles does not explicitly prohibit Israel from modifying them to carry nuclear warheads but added that “we have had no reason to believe that the government of Israel had any intention to modify or substitute the warheads of these missiles.”

More than 100 Harpoon missiles have been exported to Israel. The United States, according to DSCA, has also sold Harpoons to 25 other countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

Robert Algarotti, a spokesman for Harpoon manufacturer Boeing, said Oct. 20 that the company has never studied whether the missile could be armed with a nuclear warhead.

However, a former top U.S. nuclear-weapon scientist and a leading U.S. missile expert interviewed each said the Harpoon could carry a nuclear warhead. They said the issue was whether Israel could build a warhead small enough for the missile, which has a relatively light payload capability of 220 kg and a short range of roughly 100 kilometers.

Israel’s receipt of two Dolphin-class diesel submarines from Germany in 1999 and a third in 2000 was widely perceived at the time as a move to acquire sea-based launching options for nuclear weapons. Past news reports further identified the Harpoon missile, which the United States transferred to Israel several years ago, as the potential delivery vehicle.

The United States is party to the 33-member Missile Technology Control Regime aimed at restricting exports of missiles capable of delivering nuclear, chemical, or biological warheads. Although the regime does not ban such transfers, there is a “strong presumption to deny” them. Washington is further committed in the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty “not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce” nuclear proliferation.

The United States also endorses the concept of a Middle East without weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Yet it does not press Israel on the subject, saying such an arrangement must be “freely arrived at” by all the countries in the region.

 

 

U.S. and Israeli officials have declined directly to address an October news report that Israel was arming U.S.-supplied cruise missiles with nuclear warheads.

With Deadline Looming, European Foreign Ministers Strike Deal to Restrict Iran's Nuclear Program

Paul Kerr

In a joint statement with three European foreign ministers, Iran agreed Oct. 21 to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands that it cooperate with the agency’s efforts to allay fears that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. For now, the statement ends weeks of speculation over whether Tehran would cooperate by an Oct. 31 deadline set out in a September IAEA resolution. But Iran must still follow through on its commitments to the agency.

According to the joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Iran agreed to take three steps which, if followed, will meet the IAEA’s demands: cooperate with the IAEA “to address and resolve…all requirements and outstanding [IAEA] issues,” sign and ratify an Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement, and “suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA.”

The IAEA Board of Governors adopted the resolution after months of agency investigations uncovered increasingly disturbing details about Iran’s uranium- and plutonium-based nuclear programs. (See ACT July/August 2003.) Although most of these activities were technically permitted under Iran’s IAEA safeguards agreement, public revelations about Iran’s extensive progress on these programs raised concerns that the country was pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of its commitments under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Safeguards agreements are required under the NPT to ensure that member states do not divert civilian nuclear programs to military purposes. An additional protocol allows the IAEA to conduct more rigorous inspections, including visits to facilities that countries have not declared, in order to check for clandestine nuclear programs. Iran continues to deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei issued a report in June summarizing the agency’s investigation into Iran’s nuclear programs that concluded Iran had violated its safeguards agreements. An August report revealed inconsistencies in previous Iranian statements to the agency, raising more questions about Tehran’s nuclear intentions. Both reports also stated that Iran had delayed giving IAEA inspectors access to a suspect facility. (See ACT, September 2003 and October 2003.)

The Agreement

Before the Oct. 21 joint statement, Iran had been sending mixed signals as to whether it would comply with the deadline. ElBaradei said Oct. 13 that Iran had not yet provided “full and complete information” about its nuclear programs, although inspectors had been allowed to visit the requested sites, according to an IAEA statement. Additionally, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamdireza Assefi implied Oct. 19 that Iran might not meet the deadline. Iran has also been hesitant about concluding an Additional Protocol, although it has suggested for months that it would do so.

The IAEA has asked for Iran’s cooperation in several areas. The September resolution called on Iran to provide the necessary information about its programs and “unrestricted access” to IAEA inspectors. The agency has been particularly interested in Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which consists of a gas centrifuge pilot plant and a much larger facility that could hold centrifuges to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) to fuel civilian nuclear power reactors, as well as enough fissile material for 25 nuclear weapons per year.

The mere possession of the facility did not constitute a violation of Iran’s safeguards agreement, but the IAEA believes Iran tested the centrifuges with nuclear material without informing the agency—an action that would violate its agreement. Agency inspectors have found highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in at least two locations in Iran, possible evidence that Iran conducted prohibited tests of its centrifuges as a step towards covertly making nuclear devices. Yet, Iran has denied producing HEU, blaming its presence at the two sites on contaminated components it acquired through “foreign intermediaries.”
ElBaradei told reporters Oct. 23 that Iran had provided the IAEA with a new declaration regarding its nuclear programs. Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the declaration was complete, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Oct. 23. But in an Oct. 24 Associated Press report, Salehi said Iran has been unable to determine the imported components’ origins.

The September resolution also called on Iran to “suspend all further uranium enrichment related activities.” Iran introduced nuclear materials into the Natanz facility’s centrifuges under IAEA safeguards in June, although the Board of Governors issued a June statement encouraging Iran not to do so. Tehran accelerated its tests in August.

The joint statement, however, does not specify a date for Iran to suspend its enrichment activities and Iran has not yet actually done so. A government spokesman stated Oct. 27 that Iran had not set a date for suspending enrichment, according to IRNA. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi said Iran was resolving “technical” issues associated with suspending enrichment, IRNA reported Oct. 28.
Moreover, Iran’s compliance will likely be insufficient to resolve fully concerns about its enrichment program. Iranian officials have said numerous times that Iran will not give up its “right” to enrich uranium—an activity which is allowed under the NPT—and Assefi told reporters Oct. 26 that suspension is only “temporary” and Iran will resume enrichment “whenever…it is necessary.”

The September resolution also reiterated the IAEA’s June request that Iran conclude an additional protocol. An IAEA spokesperson told Arms Control Today Oct. 28 that Iran is expected to send the agency a required letter of intent regarding the protocol. ElBaradei will notify the Board of Governors for its Nov. 20 meeting. ElBaradei and Iran can sign the protocol after the Board’s authorization.
Once signed, the Iranian parliament will have to ratify the protocol, Assefi said Oct. 26. Whether to sign the protocol has been a controversial issue in Iran, with Iranian officials expressing concerns that it gives the IAEA too much inspection power and threatens Iranian sovereignty. Until it is ratified, Iran will comply with the IAEA “in accordance with the protocol,” according to the joint statement.

The joint statement said that Iran’s cooperation would “enable” the IAEA to resolve the “immediate situation” and addressed some of Iran’s stated concerns about the IAEA’s demands. According to the statement, the three governments “recognize” Iran’s right to have a peaceful nuclear program, adding that Iran’s compliance can “open the way to a dialogue …for long term cooperation.” Furthermore, Iran “could expect easier access to modern technology…in a range of areas” when concerns about its nuclear programs “are fully resolved,” the statement says.

Iran had previously resisted signing the protocol unless it was assured of gaining access to peaceful nuclear technology, complaining that many nuclear supplier states have refused to do business with them. The NPT states that states-parties “have the right to participate in” technical exchanges “for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

Looking Ahead


ElBaradei told Arms Control Today Oct. 21 (See ElBaradei interview) that the IAEA needs to review and verify Iran’s declaration. He will report his findings to the agency’s Board of Governors prior to its November meeting, the IAEA spokesperson said. Secretary of State Colin Powell stated Oct. 22 that the joint statement is “welcome,” but Washington would wait to assess Iran’s “performance.”

The United States said in September that the Oct. 31 deadline represented a “last chance” for Iran to comply and the IAEA should refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council if Iran did not do so. The IAEA has an obligation to refer the issue to the Security Council if it finds a country in violation of its safeguards agreement. So far, the Board has said only that Iran has failed to meet some of its safeguards obligations.

The IAEA may still refer the issue to the Security Council even if Iran follows through on the Oct. 21 agreement, however. A State Department official interviewed Oct. 28 said a complete declaration from Iran will likely contain “incriminating information” proving it was in violation of its safeguards agreements. The IAEA would then have a “statutory obligation to find Iran in non-compliance” and refer the issue to the council, the official said. The official conceded that the United States would face an “uphill battle” in persuading the Board of Governors to do so.

The Security Council would not necessarily have to take “punitive” action against Iran in this case, but the State Department official said that it would be “important to draw a line under Iran’s noncompliance.”

 

The Declaration

The following is the text of the declaration on Iran’s nuclear program agreed upon by the Iranian government and visiting EU foreign ministers Oct. 21:

1. Upon the invitation of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran the Foreign Ministers of Britain, France and Germany paid a visit to Tehran on October 21, 2003. The Iranian authorities and the Ministers, following extensive consultations, agreed on measures aimed at the settlement of all outstanding IAEA issues with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme and at enhancing confidence for peaceful cooperation in the nuclear field.

2. The Iranian authorities reaffirmed that nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s defence doctrine and that its nuclear programme and activities have been exclusively in the peaceful domain. They reiterated Iran’s commitment to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and informed the Ministers that:

a) The Iranian government has decided to engage in full cooperation with the IAEA to address and resolve, through full transparency, all requirements and outstanding issues of the agency, and clarify and correct any possible failures and deficiencies within the IAEA.

b) To promote confidence with a view to removing existing barriers for cooperation in the nuclear field:

i) Having received the necessary clarifications, the Iranian government has decided to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol, and commence ratification procedures. As a confirmation of its good intentions,the Iranian government will continue to cooperate with the agency in accordance with the protocol in advance of its ratification;

ii) While Iran has a right within the nuclear non-proliferation regime to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, it has decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA.

3. The Foreign Ministers of Britain, France and Germany welcomed the decisions of the Iranian government and informed the Iranian authorities that:

a) Their Governments recognise the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;

b) In their view, the Additional Protocol is in no way intended to undermine the sovereignty, national dignity or national security of its State Parties;

c) In their view, full implementation of Iran’s decisions, confirmed by the IAEA’s director general, should enable the immediate situation to be resolved by the IAEA board;

d) The three Governments believe that this will open the way to a dialogue on a basis for longer term cooperation which will provide all parties with satisfactory assurances relating to Iran’s nuclear power generation programme. Once international concerns, including those of the three Governments, are fully resolved Iran could expect easier access to modern technology and supplies in a range of areas.

e) They will co-operate with Iran to promote security and stability in the region, including the
establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations.

 

 

 

In a joint statement with three European foreign ministers, Iran agreed Oct. 21 to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands that it cooperate with the agency’s efforts to allay...

State Department Sets Up New Office to Control Some Conventional

The Department of State established a new office in October with the stated aim of improving its ability to aid countries plagued by excess, abandoned, and unexploded weapons. The office consolidates under one roof programs to address landmines, small arms and light weapons, shoulder-fired missiles, and munitions left after conflicts.


The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
will be responsible for helping countries secure weapons that are poorly guarded, cordoning off and cleaning up unsafe areas that may contain buried landmines or unexploded bombs and shells, and destroying arms stockpiles.

Previously, a country seeking U.S. assistance to store or dispose of different types of weapons might have had to go to as many as three separate offices. In theory, a government seeking help will now be able to work with one individual to assess arms destruction and security priorities and strategies instead of having to work with several U.S. officials. For instance, rather than destroying stockpiles of landmines and assault rifles separately, such actions could be done together.

Lincoln Bloomfield, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, explained Oct. 7 that the new office is designed to guarantee that “nothing falls through the cracks intellectually.”

It is also intended to save money through increased efficiency. Having one consolidated program for activities in a country rather than several will cut “administrative expenses and travel requirements, in some cases by as much as two-thirds,” stated John Stevens, a foreign affairs officer with the new office.

These estimated savings will not necessarily result in smaller budget requests for U.S. demining and arms destruction activities, at least in the short term. Stevens said that the new office is asking for funding increases for the next two fiscal years.

Since 1993, the United States has spent more than $700 million on demining activities and is currently supporting such work in nearly 40 countries. Launched just three years ago, the U.S. small arms and light weapons destruction program has spent $8 million to date, destroying more than 540,000 weapons and 75 million rounds of ammunition in 11 countries. Small arms are defined as those that can be used by an individual, while a light weapon is one that requires a small crew to operate.

The new office, located within Bloomfield’s bureau of political-military affairs, which reports to John Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, has its work cut out for it. Washington estimates that roughly 60 countries have landmines buried in their soil. U.S. priorities will continue to be clearing areas where landmines frequently maim or kill civilians or most greatly disrupt daily living, such as landmines planted near a village’s water source or agricultural fields.

No agreed figure exists for how many small arms and light weapons are in circulation. The United Nations puts the total as high as 600 million.

Washington is focusing its small arms and light weapons efforts on where they have the largest negative impact and where they originate. African countries make up much of the first category, while central and eastern European countries, which have large Cold War-era stockpiles of weapons, are seen as leading sources of the weapons fueling conflicts globally.

In addition to overseeing field activities, the new office will be responsible for U.S. policy on these arms issues. The Bush administration has taken stances on small arms and unexploded ordinance that are at odds with much of the international community, and it is reviewing a past U.S. landmine commitment.

Many countries favoring stricter regulations on exports and ownership of small arms and light weapons accuse the United States of single-handedly sabotaging a July 2001 international conference aimed at curbing the illicit trade in such weapons by rejecting proposals to ban sales to nonstate actors and restrict civilian possession. (See ACT, September 2001.)

Washington also stands alone in calling for a new agreement on cleaning up abandoned and unexploded munitions to be politically rather than legally binding. (See ACT, September 2003.) A final decision on the status of the agreement will be made later this fall when the negotiations are expected to be completed.

On landmines, the Bush administration has been conducting a policy review since the summer of 2001. As part of that review, the administration is determining whether it will honor President Bill Clinton’s May 1998 pledge to end the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) outside the Korean Peninsula by 2003 and to join by 2006 the Ottawa Convention, which bans APLs. Clinton conditioned U.S. accession to the treaty on the Pentagon developing and deploying APL alternatives. Richard Kidd, the acting director of the new State Department office, declined Oct. 7 to predict when the review would be concluded.


 

 

The Department of State established a new office in October with the stated aim of improving its ability to aid countries plagued by excess, abandoned, and unexploded weapons.

White House Ready to Support Sanctions on Syria

Karen Yourish

A bill that would levy sanctions on Syria is winding its way through Congress and is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush when it lands on his desk later this fall. The House of Representatives voted 398-4 on Oct. 15 to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria unless it immediately halts development of ballistic missiles and production of biological and chemical weapons, stops supporting terrorism, and withdraws its forces from Lebanon. A similar measure in the Senate is expected to be sent to the floor for a vote in mid-November.

As passed by the House, the “Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003” (H.R. 1828) requires the president to impose two or more sanctions from a list of six if Syria fails to comply. The sanctions include a ban on exports other than food and medicine; restrictions on travel for Syrian diplomats in the United States; a prohibition on U.S. investments or business operations in Syria; a ban on any aircraft owned or controlled by Syria from taking off from, landing in, or flying over the United States; a reduction of U.S. diplomatic contacts; and a freeze on Syrian assets in the United States. The bill allows the president to waive the imposition of sanctions for six-month periods for national security reasons.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) will seek to modify the Senate version of the bill (S. 982) before it is sent to the floor, to provide the president with maximum flexibility. “Senator Lugar has always been philosophically opposed to sanctions,” said Mark Helmke, a committee staffer. The committee held a hearing on the bill Oct. 30.

Last year, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials only barely thwarted a similar bid by lawmakers, contending at that time that imposing sanctions on Syria would make peace efforts in the Middle East more difficult. This time around, they have dropped their opposition, and everyone seems to be on the same page. “The administration informed Congress…this week that we did not…object to the Syria Accountability Act,” Adam Ereli, Department of State deputy spokesperson, said during a briefing Oct. 9. “I think this is a recognition of the fact, frankly, that…we were very clear with Syria about what we thought it needed to do to act effectively against terrorism.” Ereli said Powell told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in May that there would be consequences if Syria failed to take steps to ameliorate U.S. concerns.

 

 

 

 

A bill that would levy sanctions on Syria is winding its way through Congress and is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush when...

Former Negotiator Warns Bush: Last Chance for Diplomacy with North

One glance at the wall in Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard’s new office lined with magazine covers of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il makes clear that the veteran diplomat may have left the State Department, but his interest in striking a deal to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons remains undiminished.


Pritchard left his post as chief U.S. interlocutor with North Korea in late August. Since leaving the executive branch, this often lonely voice for more intensive diplomacy has prodded the Bush administration to engage Kim’s regime in arms control talks, a case he made in a 45-minute interview with Arms Control Today Oct. 28.

The United States wants North Korea to dismantle its recently-restarted plutonium-based nuclear facilities and suspected clandestine uranium enrichment program, both of which can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Two previous rounds of talks have not resulted in agreements.

Another round of six party talks is likely to occur, Pritchard said, but he warned that they might well be Washington’s final opportunity to shut down North Korea’s weapons programs. And he fretted that despite President George W. Bush’s recent statements that he will support a security agreement with North Korea, the administration has so far put “no substance on the table.”

“The North Koreans, if they believe that there’s nothing in it for them and we haven’t got our act together” will not return for a next round of talks, Pritchard said. A diplomatic breakdown, he warned, could lead to a sizeable North Korean nuclear arsenal. “This thing has the potential of getting well out of hand,” he said.

In particular, Pritchard said it was possible that North Korea would sell nuclear materials to terrorists or other rogue states if negotiations fail. He acknowledged that his assessment of the likelihood of that threat had changed in the last few years. Until “a couple of years ago,” Pritchard said, North Koreans were “trending away from what we would view as legitimate state sponsors of terrorism.”

Asked why the administration has not gone further in its diplomatic efforts, Pritchard said that “a wide range of views within the administration” has inhibited the administration’s ability to develop “a single, focused effort.”

To maximize the possibilities for a diplomatic breakthrough, Pritchard said the United States should concentrate on persuading North Korea to freeze its plutonium-based nuclear facilities, arguing that the less-developed uranium enrichment program is a much longer-term threat. Pyongyang’s current efforts to reprocess the spent fuel from previous operations of its reactor have “the potential” to yield enough material to give North Korea a total of between six and ten nuclear devices “in the very near future,” he said.

Obtaining such a freeze and addressing North Korea’s perceptions of a military threat from the United States “simultaneously and early will set the stage for the longer-term prospects that would include some form of economic developmental assistance” that could be coupled with a termination of the uranium enrichment program, he continued.

Commenting on preparations for a next round of talks, Pritchard expressed concern that the administration will agree to a date for a next round of talks before having a complete proposal. This approach will allow “those who are opposed to this level and direction” of diplomacy to “stall” the process. If that happens, “time will run out and then there will be a compromise and something less than sufficient will go forward.”

Pritchard stressed the need for a “sustained bilateral dialogue” between the United States and North Korea and recommended that the United States initiate a multilateral working-level meeting “ahead of the six-party talks to get most of the substantive work done.”

Speaking on how an agreement could be verified, an issue which “remains unresolved within the administration,” Pritchard cautioned that obtaining a completely verifiable deal from North Korea ought not become a stumbling block to a settlement. He characterized as “ridiculous” the notion held by some U.S. officials that an acceptable agreement must be “100 percent verifiable.”

Pritchard added that verifiably shutting down North Korea’s plutonium-based nuclear program in a manner acceptable to Pyongyang would be “relatively easy.” He admitted that verifying the elimination of the uranium enrichment program would “be a little bit trickier,” but said the United States should accept a deal if it “looks reasonable” because “if they cheat in the future, we will find out” through national intelligence sources.

He also warned against the alternatives to successful negotiations, arguing that increasing pressure on North Korea in hopes of overthrowing Kim Jong-Il’s regime would fail. Describing the North Korean government as “relatively stable,” Pritchard continued: “In the near term, is there anything on the horizon that suggests that regime change is imminent? No. Nothing. Zero.” He added that, based on accounts of recent visitors to North Korea, its economy “is inexplicably better off than it was a year ago…if you’re looking for things to implode because they’re getting worse, [they don’t] appear to be.”

Moreover, he said that key regional powers, particularly China, would be unlikely to support U.S. efforts to further pressure Pyongyang. “We’ve reached a peak” with Beijing in terms of its willingness to pressure North Korea “because of what the Chinese have perceived as a relatively poor showing by the [United States] in the April and August talks,” Pritchard said. The Chinese “fully expected that the [United States] would have a more mature and flexible approach in April. That was absolutely not the case.” At the time, in fact, he worried that the Chinese “might very well have walked away from their commitment to the six party talks” as a consequence.

Pritchard further cautioned that Washington should not use the talks merely as a means to gain support for a containment policy as opposed to reaching a genuine diplomatic resolution. “The other parties will not buy into it,” he warned.

 

 

One glance at the wall in Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard’s new office lined with magazine covers of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il makes clear that the veteran diplomat may...

Interdiction Initiative Participants Agree on End, Differ on Means

The United States has enlisted 10 other countries for its plan to seize shipments of deadly arms to terrorists and countries suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. However, they have yet to reach consensus on all the measures to accomplish this mission.


Diplomats at an Oct. 9-10 meeting in London discussed what legal steps would be needed to follow through on President George W. Bush’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and board vessels suspected of carrying dangerous cargo. Yet, they did not complete work on a model agreement to guide future interdictions because of differing interpretations on what is permissible, according to diplomats familiar with the fourth plenary meeting of PSI participants.

Like-minded countries within the initiative may still draft a boarding agreement, but it would not be a binding document. A chairman’s statement by the British government at the meeting’s end urged countries to share swiftly further comments on a boarding agreement presented by the United States so those “interested can move forward with concluding the agreement.”

The diplomats, who spoke on background, downplayed the differences as not being detrimental to the initiative’s future operation. They said the lack of an agreement reflects the flexible and informal nature of the initiative, which the chairman’s statement described as “an activity not an organisation.”

Per that understanding, the diplomats did not foresee a big expansion of the core group of countries involved in the initiative even though more than 50 countries have reportedly expressed support for its objectives. Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the current participants.

Other governments may be invited on an ad hoc basis to participate in or observe interdiction exercises or called upon to help perform or permit an actual cargo seizure, but such involvement will not necessarily signify formal membership. One of the diplomats explained that the initiative is a “much looser arrangement than typical arms control agreements.”

China and Russia are not counted among the 50-some countries endorsing the initiative, although both have been consulted about it. Moscow and Beijing question the legality and implications of the U.S.-led effort.

Due to their ties to Iran and North Korea—two of the initiative’s targets, in the eyes of the United States—and their own proliferation records, China and Russia could ultimately determine the initiative’s effectiveness. One diplomat said constructive Chinese behavior is essential to constraining North Korea’s weapons trade. Absent Chinese support, North Korea could bypass an initiative dragnet by importing or exporting WMD or related goods via Chinese territory or airspace.

Although the British chairman’s statement declared that the initiative’s participants are prepared to stop WMD trade “at any time and in any place,” there are legal limits to what actions they can take. Participants cannot seize cargo that is within another country’s borders or territorial seas without that government’s permission. The initiative’s participants also do not have freedom of action in international waters or airspace. For example, a ship on the high seas can only be stopped under certain scenarios, such as when it is not flying a national flag. Participants agree that the initiative needs to respect existing international law, the diplomats said.

Still, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton holds out the hope that the initiative will lead countries to act more aggressively within current law and, in effect, change it. In comments published Oct. 21 by The Wall Street Journal, Bolton said, “As state practice changes, customary international law changes.”

In any case, ensuring that they have the necessary legal authority to act does not rank high among the participants’ worries. They are more concerned about gathering and sharing accurate intelligence in a timely manner to enable interdictions.

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Walter Doran, told reporters in early October that a key issue in stopping smuggling and unwanted shipments is “situational awareness—what do we know about what’s moving on the ocean.” At this time, “[w]e don’t know enough,” Doran was quoted as saying.

The 11 participants continue to prepare for the moment when they have enough information. On Oct. 8, officials met in London for a simulated exercise of how to deal with an aircraft transporting dangerous goods. An Italian-sponsored exercise involving real aircraft is set for early December.

A U.S. naval ship and surveillance aircraft also participated in an Oct. 14-17 maritime interdiction exercise, SANSO 03, in the Mediterranean Sea. Hosted by Spain, the exercise included France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Another naval exercise is scheduled for late November.

Although continuing to hone their interdiction capabilities, the participants are going to take a short rest from plenary meetings. Portugal will host the next plenary in early 2004.

 

The United States has enlisted 10 other countries for its plan to seize shipments of deadly arms to terrorists and countries suspected of pursuing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. 

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