"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Author, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement
July 1, 2020
Press Releases

India, Pakistan Agree on Security, Confidence-Building Measures

Howard Diamond

NINE MONTHS after their nuclear tests raised fears of an uncontrolled arms race in South Asia, India and Pakistan agreed to a series of security and confidence-building measures following a meeting of their prime ministers in Lahore, Pakistan, February 20–21. Embodied in the Lahore Declaration and its accompanying documents are steps to reduce the risks of a nuclear exchange prompted by an accident or misinterpretation of a nuclear or ballistic missile test.

Although India and Pakistan have adopted—and largely ignored—confidence-building measures in the past, the new arrangements may prove more effective in promoting trust while leaving the path for nuclear and missile deployments unobstructed.

Noting in the Lahore Declaration the additional responsibilities imposed by their newly explicit nuclear status, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to intensify their bilateral security dialogue and elevate the talks to the foreign minister level. Since their May 1998 nuclear tests, India and Pakistan have held several bilateral meetings on regional security issues such as Kashmir—most recently at the foreign secretary level in October—without much apparent progress.

The Lahore meeting resulted from a February 3 invitation by Sharif, who invited Vajpayee to Pakistan to mark the initiation of cross-border bus service between New Delhi and Lahore. The meeting enabled the two sides to improve relations by acknowledging each other as nuclear-weapon states—a step the rest of the world has refused to take—and by beginning to establish a stable deterrent relationship.

Yet finding an equilibrium in India and Pakistan's nuclear relations may prove difficult, as both nations are planning to test and deploy new ballistic missile systems. Islamabad is reportedly ready for a second test of its 1,300-kilometer-range Ghauri missile, as well as a first flight test of its new 750-kilometer-range solid-fuel Shaheen missile. Similarly, although New Delhi has allegedly twice postponed test flights of its 1,500-kilometer-range Agni missile, it still plans to proceed with development of the Agni-II, which has a reported range of 3,500 kilometers.

Accompanying the prime ministers' declaration was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Indian Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath and his Pakistani counterpart Shamshad Ahmed, which emphasized measures to improve nuclear security and prevent an accidental nuclear exchange. Agreeing to resolve remaining "technical details" in bilateral agreements by mid-1999, New Delhi and Islamabad committed to several steps to reduce the nuclear danger on the subcontinent.

First, the two sides agreed to exchange information on their nuclear doctrines and security concepts. Speaking to reporters, Ahmed said the exchange of information would include data on numbers of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles as well as deployment information. But with both sides still developing their nuclear arsenals and doctrines, the scope and the level of detail in the data exchanges remain unclear.

Regional media had speculated prior to the prime ministers' meeting on the possibility of a formal no-first-use agreement or a commitment not to target nuclear facilities or population centers. With the two sides' nuclear doctrines still in flux, however, no such agreements were reached.

To prevent accidental nuclear crises, the MOU called for advance notification of ballistic missile test flights and prompt notification of "any accidental, unauthorized, or unexplained incident" regarding nuclear weapons. It also called for each nation to work on measures to improve control over its nuclear weapons. Finally, the MOU recommended reviews of existing confidence-building measures and emergency communications (hotlines) arrangements "with a view to upgrading and improving these links."

The MOU strengthened India's and Pakistan's unilateral moratoriums on nuclear testing by making their commitments binding "unless either side…decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests." Both nations have also said they are prepared to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty before September of this year. A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry was quoted in the February 21 Washington Post as saying that Islamabad will "sign [the CTB Treaty] and adhere to it by September." Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh, while denying on February 24 that India had already committed to signing the treaty, reiterated New Delhi's willingness to sign pending success in negotiations with "key interlocutors" like the United States.

The next meeting of Indian and Pakistani officials will be in late March or early April, at the foreign secretary level, according to Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz. Aziz has said he would likely meet with Singh within a month of those talks.

UN Creates New Panel to Review Iraqi Disarmament

 Howard Diamond

WITH UN DISARMAMENT activities in Iraq suspended and the credibility of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) under attack, the Security Council on January 30 approved the creation of a new panel to review the status of Iraq's disarmament and recommend how to "re-establish an effective disarmament/ongoing monitoring and verification regime." First proposed by Canada earlier in January, the disarmament panel held its initial meeting February 23–27 and is scheduled to submit its recommendations to the Security Council by April 15.

The Security Council simultaneously ordered the creation of two other panels to study humanitarian issues in Iraq and missing Kuwaiti property and POWs. Together, the three UN panels effectively constitute the "comprehensive review" of Iraq's compliance with its UN obligations that the Security Council promised in September 1998, though Baghdad has failed to meet the Security Council's demand that it first resume cooperation with UN weapons inspectors. (See ACT, November/December 1998.)

Despite the presence on the 20-member panel of 11 representatives from UNSCOM and three others from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the formation of the new body may also signal the end of the UN's active investigation of Iraq's past weapons programs to verify the complete destruction of its weapons of mass destruction capabilities. The United States and Britain continue to insist that Iraq be fully disarmed of its proscribed weapons before sanctions are lifted. Russia, France and China, however, have called for sanctions to be lifted and Iraqi rearmament prevented by monitoring.

Iraq banned UNSCOM and IAEA weapons inspections on August 5 and banned monitoring activities October 31. UNSCOM and IAEA personnel were withdrawn from Baghdad immediately before the December air strikes by the United States and Britain. Iraq said following the strikes that any discussion of allowing international monitors back into Iraq could only begin once sanctions had been lifted.

The disarmament panel, which along with the other two panels is chaired by Brazilian Ambassador Celso Amorim, began its work with reports and briefings by UNSCOM on Iraq's chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs and by the IAEA on Iraq's nuclear weapons potential. Both UNSCOM and the IAEA emphasized the significant gaps in information about Iraq's past weapons programs, as well as the critical importance to any monitoring or verification regime of unfettered access to Iraqi information and sites of concern. Iraq initially refused to cooperate with the disarmament panel but later offered a series of reports to counter the UNSCOM and IAEA presentations.

Still unclear is whether the panel's report to the Security Council will present a consensus of the panel or Ambassador Amorim's personal views. Amorim is considering an invitation by Baghdad to visit Iraq, but according to a UN official, he would not be empowered on such a visit to negotiate on behalf of the Security Council.

UNSCOM Said to Aid U.S. Spying

UNSCOM's credibility, already the subject of accusations of U.S. interference (see ACT, August/September 1998), may have been fatally undermined by a series of reports in January and February concerning U.S. intelligence agencies' involvement in UNSCOM activities. Based on sources in the office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe reported on January 6 that the United States used UNSCOM efforts to uncover Iraq's methods of concealing its proscribed weapons capabilities to obtain information on Saddam Hussein's special security services. According to the reports, this information helped Washington target the Iraqi regime during its December attacks.

The Clinton administration, confirming that—at UNSCOM's request—it had provided photo reconnaissance and had installed equipment in Iraq to intercept coded radio transmissions by Iraq's security services, noted that assisting UNSCOM with intelligence information was explicitly called for by UN resolutions. According to the January 8 Washington Post, the United States gave UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler and his U.S. deputy, Charles Duelfer, the portion of the intercepted communications relevant to their disarmament work while retaining other material. The United States obtained this latter material in the course of aiding UNSCOM, said administration officials, who argued that Iraq is to blame for the fact that the same institutions guarding Iraq's illicit weapons were also guarding the regime.

Compounding the January reports were fresh allegations in February from former UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter that the CIA had worked closely with UNSCOM as early as 1992. UNSCOM's awareness of the extent and types of U.S. involvement in its activities, however, was not immediately clear.

On February 4 UNSCOM Chairman Butler, under fire within the Security Council even before the spying allegations surfaced, announced that he will not request reappointment when his current term of office ends in June. UNSCOM's future is likely to be taken up by the Security Council in April, together with the recommendations from the three Amorim-led panels.

While the Security Council waits for the disarmament panel's report, U.S. and British forces continue to strike air-defense-related targets in Iraq as part of their maintenance of the northern and southern no-fly zones.

Baghdad, which has never recognized the no-fly zones, vowed repeatedly in December to continue violating the zones and to fire on coalition aircraft enforcing them. According to the Defense Department, the low-level assault has destroyed 20 percent of Iraq's integrated air defense.

In response, Baghdad has threatened strikes on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, which host the coalition aircraft, and is alleged to be dealing with Russia to rebuild its surface-to-air missile capability and stocks of fighter aircraft. The London Sunday Telegraph reported on February 14 that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had approved arms sales negotiations with Iraq during a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz last December. A completed deal was reportedly signed in January. Moscow, however, has denied the report, calling it a provocation and Cold War-style misinformation.

Cohen Announces NMD Restructuring, Funding Boost

Craig Cerniello

ON JANUARY 20, Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced a major restructuring of the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) and "upper-tier" theater missile defense (TMD) programs, as well as the commitment for the first time of funds for actual NMD deployment. Cohen's announcement drew a barrage of criticism from Russia and China and skeptical reactions from some in Congress, where Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) reintroduced bills calling for NMD deployment (see story).

Cohen's NMD announcement consisted of what he termed "four critical decisions." First, the fiscal years (FY) 2000–2005 Defense Department budget, submitted to Congress on February 1, includes $6.6 billion to support NMD deployment. (The addition of these deployment funds, coupled with funds added in the FY 1999 omnibus appropriations bill, brings NMD spending to $10.5 billion through FY 2005.) This announcement appears designed to counter congressional attacks on the credibility of the administration's NMD program, which to date has allocated funds only for research and development.

Second, citing the Rumsfeld Commission, which concluded in July 1998 that the United States may have "little or no warning" before facing a long-range missile threat from "rogue nations," and the August 1998 test of the North Korean Taepo Dong-1 ballistic missile, Cohen stated that the long-range ballistic missile threat to the United States is real and growing.

As recently as last September, the CIA had challenged some of the claims in the Rumsfeld report and concluded that a rogue nation ICBM threat to the United States was unlikely before 2010, with the possible exception of North Korea. (See ACT, October 1998.) The agency, however, later hardened its view of the North Korean threat. Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 2, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified that the Taepo Dong-1 launch "demonstrated technology that, with the resolution of some important technical issues, would give North Korea the ability to deliver a very small payload to intercontinental ranges—including parts of the United States—although not very accurately."

More alarmingly, Tenet said the Taepo Dong-2, which has not yet been flight-tested, could deliver large payloads to the continental United States if it utilized a third stage similar to the one in the August 1998 test.

Third, Cohen announced that the Clinton administration is exploring the "nature and scope" of modifications to the ABM Treaty that may be necessary to support the deployment of a limited NMD system. For example, if all 50 states cannot be defended from a single ABM site, an amendment allowing for multiple sites would be necessary. Even if a single site were sufficient, he noted, an amendment may still be necessary if the United States chooses to shift that site from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Alaska. Should the United States and Russia fail to agree on treaty amendments, Cohen stated that "we have the option of our national interest indicating we would simply pull out of the treaty."

Finally, Cohen announced a two-year delay in the NMD program's "3+3" schedule. Although the United States will make its deployment decision in 2000, as originally planned, Cohen projected that the system would not realistically be deployable until 2005 should the decision be made to proceed. The delay is intended to avoid the "rush to failure" mentality described in the 1998 Welch panel report, whereby pressures to accelerate the deployment of missile defense systems interfere with adequate flight-testing. (See ACT, March 1998.)

According to Cohen, the deployment decision, scheduled for June 2000, will be based on two key criteria: "There must be a threat to warrant the deployment; and our NMD development must have proceeded sufficiently so that we are technologically able to proceed. What we are saying today is that we now expect the first criterion will soon be met, and technological readiness will be the primary remaining criterion."

Yet Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national defense and arms control, backtracked somewhat from Cohen's statement in a January 21 White House briefing. Bell said a deployment decision would not be based solely on the maturity of NMD technology but would also take into account the nature of the missile threat, cost estimates and arms control considerations. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger reiterated this point in a February 3 letter to Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).

Restructured TMD Effort

On TMD, Cohen announced that the United States will continue to flight-test the Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which has failed in all five of its intercept attempts, and accelerate the Navy's Theater Wide system from the development to the acquisition phase to place both systems on roughly the same deployment schedule. In this way, the Pentagon hopes to inject competition into its upper-tier TMD effort. In a separate briefing on January 20, Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, explained that beginning in 2002, the bulk of upper-tier TMD funding will go to the more successful program so that the United States will be able to deploy THAAD or Navy Theater Wide by 2007. Previously, these systems were not scheduled to be deployed until 2008 and 2010, respectively.

As for "lower-tier" TMD programs, Cohen said the Pentagon will continue to fund the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system and the Navy's Area Defense system to permit deployment as planned in 2001 and 2003. However, he noted that the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program, which is being developed with Germany and Italy for NATO deployment, will not be completely funded. Instead, the United States will provide $150 million over the next three years to facilitate the development of technologies designed to carry out the mission originally intended for MEADS: the protection of maneuvering ground forces.

Russian and Chinese Reactions

Cohen's NMD announcement drew an overwhelmingly negative response from Russian officials. While Cohen (and Bell) argued that the administration's NMD program is not designed to threaten Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent forces, Moscow is concerned that even a limited U.S. NMD system could jeopardize the viability of those forces, especially as they shrink due to arms control agreements and growing financial difficulties.

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's department for international military cooperation, told Interfax on January 21 that "Attempts to bypass the ABM Treaty will upset strategic stability" and threaten Russian ratification of START II, which may come up for Duma consideration in March. Dismissing U.S. fears of a rogue nation threat, Ivashov stated, "Any military expert understands that these states have not and, in the near future, will not have guaranteed means of delivering weapons on U.S. territory."

On January 22, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov bluntly said that Russia would not agree to ABM Treaty amendments allowing for limited NMD deployment—a position endorsed the following day by First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov. Some members of the Russian Duma share this sentiment. General Nikolay Bezborodov, deputy chairman of the Duma's defense committee, said on February 17 that the committee unanimously believes "there is no reason whatsoever to re-examine" the treaty.

Following meetings with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Moscow, Ivanov stated on January 26 that Russia believes "further cuts in strategic offensive weapons can be done only if there is a clear vision for preserving and observing [the ABM Treaty] as the cornerstone of strategic stability." Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Mamedov in Moscow on February 22–24 for further discussions on "strategic stability" issues.

Chinese officials were equally negative. Like Moscow, Beijing fears that a U.S. NMD system could undermine the deterrent value of its strategic nuclear forces, which include only approximately 20 CSS-4 ICBMs capable of reaching U.S. territory. Ambassador Sha Zukang, director-general of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argued in a January 12 speech that NMD development would compel other states to build up their offensive missile forces. To avoid such an outcome, Sha reaffirmed China's strong support for the ABM Treaty and even called for its multilateralization (presumably beyond the former Soviet Union).

On January 24, China's official Liberation Army Daily claimed that the Clinton administration's missile defense plan "will have a far-reaching negative influence" on global and regional stability in the 21st century. China also intensified its criticism of the administration's related efforts to cooperate with East Asian allies on theater missile defenses. (See story.)

Cochran, Weldon Reintroduce Missile Defense Legislation

 Craig Cerniello

SKEPTICAL OF the Clinton administration's commitment to national missile defense (NMD), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) reintroduced separate legislation on January 20 and February 4, respectively, calling for the deployment of an NMD system. Both Cochran's measure, which the White House has threatened to veto, and Weldon's bill have been approved by committee and could come up for a floor vote in March.

The Senate failed by just one vote in both May and September 1998 to bring Cochran's NMD legislation to a floor vote. (See ACT, May 1998 and August/September 1998.) On January 20, Cochran reintroduced the bill, which states that "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)."

On February 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the "National Missile Defense Act of 1999" by a vote of 12-7, largely along party lines. The bill (S. 257) has 52 co-sponsors, including four Democrats: Daniel Akaka (HI), Ernest Hollings (SC), Daniel Inouye (HI) and Joseph Lieberman (CT).

During his January 20 press conference, Secretary of Defense William Cohen stated that the main factor dictating an NMD deployment decision will be the maturity of the technology—the same benchmark established in the Cochran bill.

The administration, however, later clarified its position. In a February 3 letter to Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), National Security Adviser Samuel Berger said he would recommend to President Clinton that S. 257 be vetoed because of the "unacceptably narrow definition" upon which an NMD deployment decision would be made. According to Berger, the administration's deployment decision will be based on technological readiness, the nature of the missile threat, cost factors and arms control considerations. "S. 257 suggests that neither the ABM Treaty nor our objectives for START II and START III are factors in an NMD deployment decision," Berger wrote.

The Weldon bill

On February 4, Weldon introduced H.R. 4, a one-sentence bill stating "That it is the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense." The House Armed Services Committee approved the legislation on February 25 by a vote of 50-3.

Weldon originally introduced the bill in August 1998, but it never came up for a floor vote. The administration, which is not expected to make an NMD deployment decision until June 2000, has not yet formally commented on H.R. 4. The legislation already has 30 Democrats among its 97 co-sponsors.

Weldon stated that a commitment to NMD deployment would "give meaning to the money that the Clinton administration has announced it will spend on [NMD]. Without a commitment to deploy, that money is just a placeholder, liable to be used for something else in the defense budget." Furthermore, he argued, such a commitment would "move the United States beyond the question of 'if' we deploy to 'when' we deploy [an NMD]" and would send a message to so-called "rogue nations" that their pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles "will not go unchallenged."

Pentagon Reports Higher Proposed Weapons Deals

 Wade Boese

DESPITE THE ASIAN economic crisis, falling oil prices and decisions by states in Central Europe and Latin America to defer weapons purchases, the Pentagon notified Congress of proposed arms sales in 1998 worth more than $12.1 billion, almost $1.5 billion more than those proposed in 1997. Seventeen countries, including five in the Middle East, requested weapons and services from the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. U.S. arms exports consist of FMS as well as direct commercial sales.

Congress, which under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act can block proposed arms sales, opted not to bar any of the deals. All proposed weapons exports of $14 million or greater (whether FMS or direct commercial sales) must be notified to Congress, although not all result in actual deliveries. Congress has never stopped a sale after formal notification.

With the exception of Kuwait and Norway, all the potential arms buyers sought missiles, rockets or torpedoes, which accounted for approximately $4 billion of the possible deals. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone requested $2 billion in bombs and missiles, including the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The UAE seeks AMRAAMs to arm the 80 F-16C/D fighters whose purchase is being negotiated as a $5 billion direct commercial sale with Lockheed Martin. A U.S. government official said that the fighter deal is still "up in the air" pending resolution of issues between the two governments.

Prior to the proposed UAE deal, the only Middle East country to acquire the beyond-visual-range AMRAAM was Israel. The UAE won U.S. government release of the missile by conditioning the selection of a U.S. fighter on availability of the AMRAAM. Now other states in the region, led by Bahrain, will likely seek and receive these advanced missiles, greatly improving their air-to-air combat capabilities.

Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for 60 percent ($7.3 billion) of the potential FMS deals. Israel led all states with $2.6 billion in arms requests, including 60 F-16C/Ds, 30 F-15Is or a combination of both for a cost of $2.5 billion. An announcement on Israel's selection is expected this spring.

Other requests for advanced weapons included 38 amphibious assault vehicles by Italy, 8 Apache attack helicopters by Singapore, 9 Chinook helicopters by Taiwan and 2 Paladin artillery battalions by Kuwait. Four states (Egypt, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey) requested 22 warships valued at $1.6 billion. All the ships were frigates except for 4 missile destroyers requested by Greece. Athens threatened to cancel the buy if Washington did not reverse a decision to supply the SM-1 Standard missile rather than the Greek-requested SM-2, but no action has yet been taken.

While proposed deals rose in 1998, signed agreements and actual FMS deliveries dropped during the 1998 fiscal year (FY), which runs from October 1, 1997 to September 30, 1998. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees the Pentagon's FMS program, reported $8.5 billion in agreements signed and nearly $14 billion in weapons and services delivered for FY 1998, compared to FY 1997 totals of $8.7 billion in agreements and $19.2 billion in deliveries.

Saudi Arabia signed agreements valued at $2.3 billion, topping the other 98 countries that concluded FMS deals. The large disparity between the number of states that signed contracts and those whose deals are notified to Congress—seventeen, for example, in 1998—reflects the fact that most FMS deals do not exceed the $14 million reporting mark.

The Middle East led all other regions in deals finalized, with nine countries signing agreements worth a total of nearly $4.5 billion. Thirty-four European countries and Canada signed up for $1.8 billion in weapons and services, while East Asia and the Pacific accounted for almost $1.5 billion. Countries in Latin America and Africa totaled approximately $80 million and $18 million, respectively.

More than half ($7 billion) of the actual FMS deliveries flowed to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia alone accounting for $4.3 billion. Many of the Middle Eastern deliveries represented deals concluded during or soon after the 1990–91 Gulf War. East Asia and the Pacific placed a distant second in deliveries, with a total of $3.7 billion.

In its World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (WMEAT) 1997—publicly made available in December—the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) significantly raised its figures for past U.S. direct commercial sales, thereby increasing total U.S. arms exports through 1996 (the last year covered by the volume).

The revised figures reflect a new methodology that ACDA has adopted to better account for direct commercial sales. Although data for authorized commercial exports is available in the annual State and Defense departments' "Section 655" report (See ACT, August/September 1998), figures for actual commercial deliveries are often incomplete because the State Department relies on export data that the Customs Service collects from exporters' shipping data, a slow and cumbersome process. Therefore, past figures on total U.S. arms exports have been considered by many arms trade analysts to be too low.

Using the new methodology, ACDA raised its estimates of total U.S. arms exports for 1986–1996 by an average of 45 percent per year. For example, the 1995 export total jumped from $15.6 billion to $22.6 billion.

The agency contends that the new methodology, which assumes that 50 percent of all commercial authorizations result in actual deliveries, is "more likely to underestimate than overestimate commercial deliveries." However, ACDA notes that the real relationship between commercial authorizations and deliveries is "uncertain, and the scarce empirical evidence presently available is inadequate for sound estimating purposes."

In the 1986–1996 period, in fact, reported commercial deliveries (by way of the Customs Service) never reached 50 percent of authorizations, peaking at 44 percent of authorizations in 1987 and exceeding 25 percent only three times.

CD Progress Slowed by Nuclear Disarmament Issue

Wade Boese

AFTER CLOSING the 1998 negotiating session with ad hoc committees on a fissile material cutoff treaty and negative security assurances, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) failed during its first six working weeks of 1999 to resume negotiations on these two subjects. The delay in adopting a work program stemmed from long-standing disagreements among the 61 members over nuclear disarmament.

The CD opened its 1999 negotiating session on January 19 and adopted an agenda two days later. As in past years, the agenda included seven topics under which negotiations can be held: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war; prevention of an arms race in outer space; negative security assurances; new types of weapons of mass destruction; a comprehensive program of disarmament and transparency in armaments. Although the conference agreed last year to form two ad hoc committees and appoint six special coordinators, member-states must reach consensus this year to reconvene the committees and reappoint the coordinators because CD mandates expire at the end of the year's negotiating session.

In addition to last year's ad hoc committees, the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned members proposed the creation of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, which the G-21 called its highest priority. However, the United States and the other nuclear-weapon states, except China, continue to oppose the negotiation of nuclear disarmament within the CD. Washington argues that nuclear disarmament should remain a bilateral issue between Russia and the United States until weapons levels reach a point where other nuclear-weapon states can join in a multilateral reduction process.

South Africa pushed for appointment of a special coordinator on nuclear disarmament, citing a 1990 rule that if consensus cannot be reached on formation of an ad hoc committee or other body for an issue, the CD president can appoint a special coordinator to help find consensus.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey, who held the rotating presidency of the conference for its first four weeks, opted not to appoint a special coordinator, claiming that no consensus would be found on a mandate for a coordinator on nuclear disarmament.

Canada renewed a proposal for an ad hoc committee to discuss nuclear disarmament, while five NATO states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Norway) proposed that the conference establish an ad hoc working group to study and exchange views on the issue. Other delegations within the western group, including the United States, have not ruled out the five-nation proposal.

Other CD Issues

Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and Disarmament John Holum outlined Washington's position on a fissile material cutoff treaty before the conference on January 21. Holum called for a strict monitoring and verification regime, run by the International Atomic Energy Agency, that would apply to all enrichment and reprocessing facilities as well as all facilities that "use, process or store newly produced fissile material."

Holum reiterated the U.S. position—shared by the other nuclear-weapon states, Israel and India—that verification provisions should apply only to fissile material produced after the treaty's agreed cutoff date. The United States will accept no restrictions on existing stocks, stated Holum, who claimed that even declarations of existing stocks could risk legitimizing the nuclear weapons programs of states outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

However, Egyptian Ambassador Mounir Zahran, speaking on January 26, implied that failure to address existing stocks would confer "de-facto recognition or acceptance for the possession of nuclear weapons" by non-NPT states, as well as the "indefinite possession" of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear-weapon states.

Both China and the G-21 proposed the formation of an ad hoc committee on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking before the conference on January 26, noted that more than 30 countries are involved in space-related activities and that the goal of keeping outer space free of weapons is widely shared. The United States, however, opposes formal negotiations on this issue.

Despite a plea by the Secretary-General, prospects for negotiations on a transfer ban on anti-personnel landmines also appear dim. Mexico, a signatory of the Ottawa Convention (which enters into force on March 1; see Factfile), expressed doubts with negotiating another instrument on landmines.

In his final statement as president of the conference, Grey lamented on February 11 that the conference could not even agree to extend membership to Ecuador, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Tunisia. While Iran has dropped its opposition from last year, India and Pakistan are now blocking membership for this group of states to punish Ecuador and Kazakhstan for condemning the May 1998 Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests.

The first part of the conference's 1999 negotiating session concludes on March 26, followed by a second part from May 10 to June 25 and a final part from July 26 to September 8.

Lugar Cites CTR Progress, Calls on U.S. for More Aid

SENATOR RICHARD Lugar (R-IN), following a November 14–23 oversight and fact-finding mission to Russia and Ukraine, called for additional U.S. security assistance to Russia under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. Despite significant gains thus far, the program faces an uncertain future due to the deteriorating Russian economic situation.

Created in 1991 by Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), the CTR program has already assisted Belarus and Kazakhstan in becoming non-nuclear-weapon states and is helping Russia and Ukraine fulfill their obligations under START I. The program is also designed to help former Soviet states reduce the risk of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation.

In a November 24 press conference, Lugar noted that to date the CTR program has facilitated the destruction of 339 ICBMs, 286 ICBM launchers, 37 bombers, 96 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and 30 SLBMs; the deactivation of 4,838 former Soviet strategic warheads; and the sealing of 191 nuclear test tunnels.

Lugar warned, however, that "Russian institutions are experiencing severe strain." Describing "the desperate conditions which exist in the nuclear cities and biological institutes across Russia," he stated, "These weapons scientists and engineers are not getting paid. In some cases their government has abandoned them."

Furthermore, due to Russia's current financial crisis, Moscow might not be able to finance its portion of various CTR projects, such as the fissile material storage facility under construction at Mayak. Although Congress approved virtually all of the Clinton administration's CTR request for fiscal year 1999 (approximately $440 million), a Russian failure to fulfill its financial obligations under CTR might endanger the program's future funding. Congress has appropriated $2.7 billion for CTR since the program's creation.


Weapons Dismantlement

While in Ukraine, Lugar, along with Nunn, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and key officials from the departments of Defense and Energy, observed the destruction of the first Blackjack bomber at the Priluki air force base. Kyiv returned the last of its strategic warheads to Russia in June 1996 and is required to destroy its strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (including 19 Blackjack and 25 Bear bombers) by December 2001 in order to comply with START I. The United States and Ukraine reached a CTR agreement in December 1997 to facilitate the elimination of these bombers.

At Russia's Severodvinsk naval shipyard, the Lugar delegation witnessed the ongoing dismantlement of two Delta I ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), each capable of carrying 12 warheads, and a Delta III SSBN, capable of carrying 48 warheads. At the SevMash submarine base, a highly secret base never before visited by a senior U.S. delegation, Russia also announced that CTR funds will be used to dismantle the first Typhoon SSBN in 1999. Russia possesses six Typhoons, each of which can carry up to 200 warheads. CTR assistance is expected to help eliminate a total of 30 Russian SSBNs by 2003.

The Lugar delegation also visited the fissile material storage facility at Mayak, which by 2002 is expected to have the capacity to hold the highly enriched uranium and plutonium from 6,250 dismantled former Soviet nuclear weapons; the RTN Corporation in Moscow, whose 200 employees are now providing telecommunications services instead of monitoring nuclear command and control activities; and the Obolensk State Research Center of Applied Microbiology, where scientists are now performing vaccine research rather than developing biological weapons.

U.S. Waives Many Test-Related Sanctions on India, Pakistan

CITING PROGRESS in addressing U.S. non-proliferation concerns, the Clinton administration announced on November 6 its intention to use new waiver authority to lift many of the sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan following their nuclear tests in May. Noting both states' moratoriums on nuclear testing, pledges to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, commitments to strengthen export controls, and support for negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, a senior administration official said that President Clinton had decided to use the one-time, one-year waiver authority to create a better environment for negotiations to reduce the nuclear danger in South Asia.

The waiver, which took effect on December 1, will allow the resumption of trade support by U.S. government entities such as the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and will lift restrictions on lending by private U.S. banks. Additionally, the United States will renew military-to-military contacts through the Defense Department's International Military Education and Training program. To prevent Islamabad from slipping into default, the administration will also support a one-time, $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package for Pakistan.

The administration did not, however, lift the general ban on support for lending to India and Pakistan by international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. Nor did it agree to resume the sale of military or munitions list items, which were not included in the waiver authority.

U.S. diplomatic efforts have been led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who in November conducted his seventh round of talks with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed and separately with Indian special envoy (and now Minister of External Affairs) Jaswant Singh. In a November 12 speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Talbott listed five "practical steps" to prevent a nuclear arms race and reduce tensions in South Asia. In addition to signing the CTB Treaty, Talbott also called on both governments to stop producing fissile material for weapons purposes, limit development of ballistic missiles and deployment of nuclear-capable aircraft, begin a "high-level, frequent and, above all, productive dialogue" on bilateral security issues and tighten export controls on nuclear and missile technology.

While both countries announced in September their willingness to sign the CTB Treaty before September 1999, neither has embraced U.S. suggestions regarding a fissile material production moratorium or limits on ballistic missile development.

India and Pakistan have held several rounds of bilateral talks on security issues, most recently in Islamabad from October 15 to 18. Despite adopting a substantive agenda that included the divisive issue of Kashmir, the talks failed to make much progress, as both sides reiterated familiar positions. The next round of bilateral talks is scheduled for February 1999.

An interagency group of U.S. officials held meetings in India and Pakistan on November 9–10 and 11–12, respectively, on ways to improve each country's system of export controls. Washington is urging both countries to adhere to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime standards. Pakistani Foreign Minister Sataj Aziz announced on December 13 that nuclear export control legislation was being prepared for cabinet consideration. Speaking to both houses of Parliament on December 15, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, "we are taking steps to make more stringent our laws" regarding sensitive technology sales.

Germany Raises No-First-Use Issue at NATO Meeting

DEFYING OUTSPOKEN U.S. opposition, the new German coalition government raised the issue of a nuclear no-first-use policy at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on December 8, while Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy challenged NATO to question its nuclear policy. Berlin indicated, however, that it does not want a break with NATO as the alliance approaches its 50th anniversary and the unveiling of a revised strategic concept in April 1999.

The current strategic concept, adopted in 1991, reaffirmed the long-standing NATO policy that nuclear weapons, and implicitly the threat of their first use, make "the risks of any aggression incalculable and unacceptable" by denying potential aggressors any certainty about the "nature of the Allies' response to military aggression." Most alliance members view the nuclear elements of the strategic concept as untouchable. Yet the new German government, which advocates a nuclear-free world, has voiced concerns that the nuclear powers' failure to take steps toward disarmament or reducing the role of nuclear weapons will reduce the incentive for non-nuclear-weapon states to forgo the nuclear option.

November statements by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer supporting discussions on no-first-use within NATO surprised the United States, even though an October 20 coalition agreement between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats and Fischer's Green Party called for renouncing the first use of nuclear weapons and lowering their alert status. Washington had been reassured by Schroeder, elected September 27, that his coalition government would pursue "continuity" with the foreign policy of the conservative Christian Democrats of Helmut Kohl, who led Germany for 16 years.

At the Brussels meeting, Fischer broached no-first-use and argued that no issues should be forbidden in alliance discussions. A German official later stated, "We [Germany] take no-first-use seriously and will continue to pursue it with alliance consensus in an appropriate timeframe and not in an isolated way." Because NATO operates by consensus, all 16 (soon to be 19) members would have to sign on to any policy change.

For its part, Washington stirred up NATO allies with proposals for the new strategic concept that would broaden NATO's core mission from defending common territory to defending common interests outside NATO borders and, reportedly, allow NATO to use force without UN approval. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also called on NATO to combat threats posed by chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. But many European allies remain leery of granting NATO blanket authority for "out-of-area" missions.


NATO Reactions on No-First-Use

No other NATO capitals have publicly endorsed the German position, although the idea of no-first-use is widely supported throughout the Canadian government, including by Foreign Affairs Minister Axworthy. In remarks to the Brussels meeting, Axworthy said that the alliance needs to "address the evident tension between what NATO allies say about proliferation and what we do about disarmament" and called nuclear weapons "far less important to Alliance strategy than they were in the 1980s and early 1990s." He also cautioned that NATO should be "circumspect about the political value we place on NATO nuclear forces, lest we furnish arguments proliferators can use to try and justify their own nuclear programs."

A Canadian parliamentary report released on December 10, Canada and the Nuclear Challenge, called on Ottawa to "argue forcefully within NATO" for re-examining the alliance's nuclear policy. The report recommended that Canada endorse the de-alerting of all nuclear weapons and work toward reducing the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons.

As for NATO's nuclear powers, Britain and France strongly oppose revising NATO's nuclear policy. A French government official said that a no-first-use policy "would not be compatible with deterrence," while a British government official contended that NATO is "better served by the current policy because it maintains an important degree of uncertainty in the minds of potential aggressors."

U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, responding on November 23 to Fischer's remarks in the German magazine Der Spiegel supporting no-first-use, similarly rejected a NATO no-first-use policy. Cohen claimed that the option of first use is "integral to the NATO strategic doctrine" and contributes to security by "keeping any potential adversary who might use chemical or biologicals unsure of what our response would be."(Emphasis added.)

Cohen's statement appears to go beyond current U.S. nuclear policy. Speaking for President Clinton, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher declared in 1995 that the United States would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unless such states attacked the United States, its forces or its allies "in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State." Discussing the November 1997 presidential decision directive (PDD-60), Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, broadened Christopher's statement to include the option of responding with nuclear weapons to attacks by non-nuclear states-parties to the NPT that are not in "good standing," such as Iraq and North Korea. Other U.S. officials, however, have claimed at times that all options are open in responding to chemical and biological attacks.

China, the only nuclear-weapon state with a no-first-use policy, has pushed the other nuclear powers to adopt one in the UN Conference on Disarmament negotiations on negative security assurances. Russia opted in 1993 not to reaffirm a Soviet pledge of no-first-use. In view of the deteriorating state of its conventional forces, Moscow declared in 1997 that it would reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Little Progress at Wassenaar Export Control Regime Plenary

AT A DECEMBER 2–3 plenary in Vienna, the 33 members of the Wassenaar Arrangement failed to reach consensus on a U.S. initiative to increase transparency on members' arms deals. However, member-states approved non-binding criteria to assist states in evaluating potential arms exports and took initial steps toward building restraint in exports of small arms and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), such as shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles.

Wassenaar, which became operational in July 1996, aims to promote transparency and "greater responsibility" among participating states in their export of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies to prevent destabilizing accumulations. Most major arms exporters participate in the arrangement, with the key exceptions of Brazil, China, Israel and South Africa. Unlike the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM)—Wassenaar's Cold War predecessor—the arrangement does not seek to restrict exports to a particular region. Yet it does encourage members to refrain from exports to regions in conflict and states of concern to other members. The arrangement has two control lists: the Munitions List and the Dual-Use Goods and Technologies List, which is broken into two tiers of "basic" and "sensitive" with a sub-set of "very sensitive." Twice per year, participating states voluntarily exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms in the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms (tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile systems). States also exchange information semi-annually on licenses denied for basic dual-use goods and licenses approved for sensitive and very sensitive items.

In addition, members are expected to notify other members within 60 days of license denials for sensitive or very sensitive dual-use goods and licenses approved if an "essentially identical transaction" was denied by another member within the previous three years. No state, however, can block another's export. A U.S. government official noted that despite a plenary statement touting the increased amount of information exchanged, a few countries have consistently not participated with regard to dual-use goods. The United States, one of a number of members that characterize Wassenaar as under-performing to date, further contends that the current reporting categories on conventional arms are inadequate.

At the plenary, Washington continued to seek expansion of the reporting requirements on conventional weapons by 10 categories to include power projection equipment, such as transport helicopters and ground-to-air missiles, which are not currently covered by the missile category. France and Russia blocked consensus on the initiative, with France claiming that the arrangement should improve existing mechanisms before adding more reporting responsibilities. Washington and other members will raise additional reporting categories again in the 1999 review conference, which will consist of a series of discussions coinciding with Wassenaar's general working group and expert group meetings.

The "Elements for Objective Analysis and Advice Concerning Potentially Destabilizing Accumulations of Conventional Weapons," approved by the plenary, lists several broad categories of criteria to assess whether a potential arms export could lead to a destabilizing accumulation. Wassenaar members, if they so choose, are to consider such factors as the risks of diversion to another end-user, the balance of forces in the region, the likelihood of the weapon being used to violate human rights, an importer's defense spending, and the possibility of reverse engineering.

Members also pledged to exercise "extreme vigilance" over small arms and light weapons transfers to areas in conflict and tasked the general working group with pursuing discussions on preventing the illicit possession of MANPADS, a priority issue for the United States. Participating states updated the dual-use control list by carving out exclusions for technologies that now have widespread civilian usage, such as cellular telephone technology. A U.S. State Department official said that none of the decontrolled items would pose a threat to sensitive U.S. programs or military command and control on the battlefield.

Members reaffirmed past decisions not to export arms to Afghanistan and to exercise maximum restraint in transfers to African regions in conflict. But, as reported in The New York Times on December 6, Russia and Bulgaria are currently shipping arms to Ethiopia, a state on the verge of war with Eritrea.


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