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"ACA's journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent."

– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
Press Releases

Russian Officials Deny Claims Of Missing Nuclear Weapons

THE CONTINUING debate over Russia's command and control of its nuclear arsenal intensified on September 7 when retired General Alexander Lebed, former secretary of the Russian Security Council, told the CBS news program "60 Minutes" that he believes more than 100 "suitcase sized" nuclear weapons are unaccounted for. Lebed's charge elicited an immediate response from several senior Russian government officials, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who denied the existence of these weapons—known in the West as atomic demolition munitions (ADMs)—and argued that the Russian arsenal remains safe and secure. The State Department also reiterated its strong confidence in Russia's command and control system. Lebed's account is detailed in a new book, One Point Safe, by journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn.

Although lacking in many specific details, Lebed told "60 Minutes" that the 1 kiloton weapons, once assigned to the Spetsnaz special forces of the former Soviet Union, are especially dangerous because they can be transported and detonated by a single person. Made in the form of a suitcase, he said these devices are not protected by launch codes and could be prepared in approximately 30 minutes, potentially killing 50,000 to 100,000 people if detonated in a large city. Lebed said he attempted to make an inventory of the weapons while he was Security Council secretary but was unable to complete it before being fired by President Boris Yeltsin in October 1996.

In May 1997, Lebed informed six members of Congress about these missing weapons during their visit to Moscow. Lebed told the delegation, led by Representative Curt Weldon (R PA), that he could only locate 48 out of the 132 suitcase sized nuclear devices. However, during his "60 Minutes" appearance in September, Lebed asserted that more than 100 out of an estimated total of 250 weapons are unaccounted for. Although uncertain about their location, he speculated that they could be somewhere in Georgia, Ukraine or the Baltic states.

Subsequently, former Russian government officials elaborated on Lebed's account. In a September 13 interview with Interfax, Lebed's former deputy, Vladimir Denisov, said he led a special working group in July 1996 to explore whether the weapons had been deployed. According to Denisov, the working group concluded within two months that there were no such devices in the active Russian arsenal and that all the weapons were in "appropriate" storage facilities. However, he said the group could not rule out the possibility that similar weapons were located in Ukraine, Georgia or the Baltic states.

Then, in a September 22 interview with the Russian network NTV, Alexei Yablokov, a former environmental advisor to Yeltsin, maintained that suitcase sized nuclear weapons were developed for the Russian KGB in the 1970s. "I have spoken to the people who made these bombs, so I know that they exist," he said.

Lebed's claim has provoked a sharp response from several Russian government agencies responsible for safeguarding nuclear weapons¾the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) and the Federal Security Service¾as well as key officials in the Yeltsin administration. While traveling in Lithuania just days before the "60 Minutes" episode, Chernomyrdin ridiculed Lebed's account as "absolute stupidity" and said that "all Russian nuclear weapons are under the total and absolutely reliable control of the Russian armed forces." Yeltsin's spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, also challenged the credibility of Lebed's claim. "Lebed is looking for pretexts to remind the people about himself. I believe this is not the best way," he said September 10.

That same day, MINATOM and the Federal Security Service issued strong statements contradicting Lebed's story. MINATOM stated that the existing Russian nuclear command and control system "guarantees full control over the nuclear charges and seals off any channels of their unauthorized movements." The statement also noted that all former Soviet strategic and tactical nuclear weapons have been returned to Russia, refuting Lebed's point that the weapons may be located in Georgia, Ukraine or the Baltic states. Moreover, the Federal Security Service, whose primary function is to block the unauthorized use of Russian nuclear weapons, declared that "no serious decrease in the security, let alone loss or theft, of nuclear weapons and their components has been detected."

On September 5, Vladimir Utavenko, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said "there are no nuclear bombs in Russia out of [the] control of the Russian armed forces." Utavenko also questioned the credibility of Lebed on this particular issue because "he never dealt with nuclear security questions and cannot know the situation."

Furthermore, Lieutenant General Igor Volynkin, head of the Defense Ministry's 12th Main Directorate (which controls the production, operation and storage of Russian nuclear weapons) said in a September 25 news briefing that such devices "were never produced and are not produced." Although admitting that the production of suitcase sized nuclear weapons is theoretically possible, Volynkin said it would be a "very expensive and ineffective undertaking" because they would only have a short life span and would require frequent maintenance.

In a September 5 State Department briefing, deputy spokesman James Foley said, "The government of Russia has assured us that it retains adequate command and control of its nuclear arsenal and that appropriate physical security arrangements exist for these weapons and facilities." Foley also said the United States is providing assistance to Russia under the Cooperative Threat Reduction ("Nunn Lugar") program to bolster the physical security of its nuclear storage facilities.

U.S., Russia Sign START II Accords; Yeltsin Pushes for Treaty

ON SEPTEMBER 26, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov signed a set of agreements related to START II, codifying commitments made by the United States and Russia at the Helsinki summit in March, as part of a joint effort to obtain approval of the treaty by the Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament. Just days before the signing ceremony, held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, the Yeltsin administration launched a renewed effort to win approval of START II.

At Helsinki, the United States and Russia agreed in principle to delay the START II deadline for the elimination of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007. The new treaty protocol, which must be ratified by each side before entering into force, preserves the accord's original 10 year reduction period, but instead of occurring from 1993 to 2003, the sides now have from 1997 to 2007 to complete the required reductions.

In addition, the United States and Russia issued a "Joint Agreed Statement" in New York that enables the United States to "download" (remove warheads from) Minuteman III ICBMs under START II "at any time before December 31, 2007." Previously, the United States was required to download its Minuteman IIIs within seven years of START I's entry into force (December 5, 2001). In a September 26 background briefing, a senior Clinton administration official said the Joint Agreed Statement provides for "reciprocity" because now the downloading of both Minuteman IIIs and Russian SS 19s under START II does not have to be completed until the end of 2007.

Albright and Primakov also exchanged letters codifying the Helsinki commitment that the United States and Russia will deactivate by December 31, 2003, all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to be eliminated under START II (for the United States the MX ICBM and for Russia its SS 18 and SS 24 ICBMs) "by removing their nuclear reentry vehicles or taking other jointly agreed steps." Reflecting Moscow's interest in achieving a START III agreement, which will reduce the forces of each side to 2,000 2,500 deployed strategic warheads, Primakov's letter states that Russia expects the agreement to have entered into force "well in advance" of the START II deactivation deadline. Albright's letter takes note of Russia's unilateral declaration on START III.

During the signing ceremony in New York, Albright said, "Together, the ABM and START II documents we will sign here today should pave the way for the Russian Duma to ratify START II, and that will trigger deep reductions in our arsenals." Primakov said the agreements "will determine the progress of the disarmament process for many years to come" and are "an important step" in the implementation of the Helsinki joint statements.

In recent weeks, the Yeltsin administration has accelerated its efforts to achieve Duma support for START II. On September 15, Yeltsin instructed Primakov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev to begin the process of convincing the skeptical Duma that START II is in Russia's national security interest. During their meeting, Yeltsin reportedly said, "We are secure with 1,000 warheads, let alone with" and "We must prove to the legislators that START II is advantageous and necessary for us."

The next day, Primakov and Sergeyev briefed influential members of the Duma on the foreign policy and military implications of START II for Russia. According to various press reports, their presentation was not well received. Alexei Mitrofanov, chairman of the Geopolitics Committee, said, "This agreement [START II] was reached on the crest of a political wave when Russia was making concessions on everything. Now we have to bite back." Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the powerful Communist Party, said, "Today we were not convinced that START II should be ratified." Likewise, Lev Rokhlin, chairman of the Defense Committee, claimed that START II ratification "will complete the ruin of the Russian army."

However, Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the International Affairs Committee, stated "We don't want to be engaged in politics now. Instead, we must listen very carefully to the top experts in the country on these issues. General Sergeyev is one of them." In addition, the Russian defense minister said the briefing "yielded good results" and that the sides "reached a better understanding on many issues." Following Primakov's September 22 meeting with President Clinton at the UN General Assembly in New York, National Security Advisor Samuel Berger also indicated that the Russian foreign minister "had some higher degree of optimism" that the Duma would eventually approve START II than in previous meetings.

Most observers expect the Duma to vote on START II (as amended) by the end of this year or beginning of 1998. In his September 8 remarks before the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said that once Russia ratifies START II, the Clinton administration plans on submitting a package of arms control agreements to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. This package will include the START II protocol and associated documents; an amendment, which has not yet been completed, making START I unlimited in duration; and three other agreements related to the ABM Treaty.

Clinton Steps Up Effort To Enact 1985 Sino-U.S. Nuclear Agreement

IN ANTICIPATION of the October 29 summit in Washington between President Bill Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin, U.S. and Chinese officials have been working to improve Beijing's non proliferation credentials, once again under attack in Congress and key to the long delayed implementation of a Sino U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement. The 1985 agreement, potentially worth billions of dollars to the U.S. nuclear industry in the coming years, has never been activated because successive administrations have been unable to certify to Congress that China is not assisting proliferant states in acquiring nuclear weapons.

With the Clinton administration apparently moving closer to making that determination, possibly as the centerpiece of the Washington summit, the Chinese government has sought in recent weeks to address U.S. concerns about its nuclear and ballistic missile cooperation with Iran and Pakistan, its weak export control system and its commitment to international non proliferation norms. In July, Beijing's proliferation record was called into question when an unclassified CIA report labeled China as "the most significant supplier of [weapons of mass destruction] related goods and technology to foreign countries" during the second half of 1996.

While it is unclear whether China's recent actions will finally open the door to Sino U.S. nuclear commerce or deflect congressional moves to change Beijing's behavior by threatening sanctions, the Sino U.S. non proliferation dialogue appears to be moving forward. In late July, Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen told Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that China would formally join the Zangger Committee at its next meeting in mid October. China is the only declared nuclear weapon state that is not a member of the 31 nation exporters group, which provides a so called "trigger list" to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of sensitive nuclear items that would require safeguards under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if transferred to a non nuclear weapon state.

Unlike the related Nuclear Suppliers Group (which China has refused to join), whose members require "full scope" safeguards (coverage of all of a nations nuclear facilities by the IAEA) as a condition for the transfer of nuclear materials or technology, Zangger Committee members may transfer trigger list items to safeguarded facilities in countries that also possess unsafeguarded facilities (for example, India, Israel and Pakistan). Beijing reportedly has conditioned its Zangger membership on the continuation of the committee's current export rules.

Some observers believe that China might use this more relaxed standard to assist unsafeguarded facilities—especially those in Pakistan—by using legitimate transfers as a cover and conduit for illicit sales. China's long standing nuclear supply relationship with Pakistan has been a significant impediment to the implementation of the Sino U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement.

U.S. officials have also been pressing China to end its nuclear cooperation with Tehran, as part of the Clinton administration's policy to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons by obstructing its civil nuclear commerce. Although Iran remains an NPT party in good standing, administration officials argue that even peaceful nuclear activities¾which Iran is entitled to pursue under the treaty¾provide skills and experience that aid Tehran in its drive to develop nuclear weapons. China has reportedly already cancelled plans to build a uranium conversion plant (for the production of uranium hexafluoride, a gas used in isotope separation processes) and a research reactor in Iran, though it is unclear whether Beijing's actions are due to U.S. pressure or Tehran's financial difficulties.

As part of China's effort to improve its non proliferation credentials, China's State Council, or cabinet, issued new rules on September 11 governing the sale of nuclear technology. The new export controls, which formalize a 1996 commitment to the United States to halt transfers to unsafeguarded facilities, mandate government review and licensing of all sales of nuclear technology and materials, and require end use guarantees from recipient countries.

China has also responded positively to Washington's concerns about the diversion of a U.S. supercomputer delivered in February to the China Scientific Institute in Beijing, but subsequently transferred to the Changsha Institute of Science and Technology, operated by the Chinese military. Beijing has agreed to return the computer, capable of 2,700 million theoretical operations per second, to the manufacturer, Sun Microsystems in California.

Despite the apparent upswing in Sino U.S. proliferation relations, congressional critics of the administration's "constructive engagement" policy continue to seek legislative means to change China's policies on proliferation and human rights.

Most recently, on September 12 Senator Spencer Abraham (R MI) and eight co sponsors, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R NC), introduced the "China Policy Act of 1997." The legislation includes a number of provisions containing sanctions authority against Chinese officials and companies, and would tighten U.S. export controls on supercomputers that were relaxed by the administration in 1995.

Russian-Iran Ties Remain Issue At Gore-Chernomyrdin Meeting

THE CLINTON administration's ongoing campaign to convince Russia to sever its civil nuclear ties with Iran was rebuffed once again by Moscow during the latest session of the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission September 22 23. Russian officials also rejected, at least publicly, continuing U.S. and Israeli claims that Iran's ballistic missile programs are advancing with the help of illicit Russian technology transfers, although Moscow has agreed to continue a high profile joint investigation into the alleged transfers that utilizes sensitive U.S. intelligence.

The administration is under increasing pressure from congressional critics to adopt a tougher stance toward Moscow for its continuing nuclear relationship with Tehran and its inability, or unwillingness, to control missile related exports by the country's vast military industrial complex. On September 30, a bipartisan group of nearly 100 senators and representatives sent a letter to President Clinton stating that the Russian transfers pose "a direct threat to U.S. security," and that Congress is "moving to mandate a cutoff of assistance to Russia if these dangerous activities do not cease." The letter was drafted by Senator Jon Kyl (R AZ) and Representative Jane Harman (D CA).

In 1995, Russia signed a $800 million contract with Iran to complete the construction of a 1,000 megawatt (electric) light water reactor at the Bushehr nuclear complex on the Persian Gulf coast, where the German company Seimens had suspended work on two reactors following the 1979 revolution. Iran, a signatory of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, reportedly has already paid Russia $80 million for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2001. Installation work at the reactor site may begin in mid 1998.

Despite the fact the facility will be under safeguards, the United States has long pressed the Yeltsin administration to pull out of the Bushehr project, arguing that any support for Iran's civil nuclear power program will indirectly assist Tehran's covert drive to acquire nuclear weapons. During their meeting in Moscow, Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the commission's co chairmen, held extensive discussions on the Bushehr project but Moscow again refused to give ground.

The latest controversy involving alleged Russian missile related transfers emerged in January, when the White House was informed of an Israeli intelligence report identifying several Russian entities that had aided Iranian programs aimed at developing intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs). Since the Israeli intelligence report first surfaced, Russian officials have repeatedly denied claims that Russia is assisting Iran's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. Gore raised the issue of Russian missile related transfers at the previous Gore Chernomyrdin Commission meeting in February, as did Clinton during his March summit with Yeltsin in Helsinki.

In Moscow, Gore and Chernomyrdin were briefed by Frank Wisner, the president's special envoy on the missile issue and former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and India, who is heading the joint investigation, which was launched in August, along with Yuri Koptev, director of the Russian Space Agency. Interestingly, Koptev was identified in the Israeli intelligence report as one of only two senior Russian officials directly linked to Iran's missile programs. Wisner and Koptev are scheduled to meet again in early November.

Following his meeting with Chernomyrdin, Gore said, "[O]ne of the new lessons of this report [by Wisner and Koptev] is that it is obvious that there is a vigorous effort by Iran to obtain the technologies that it needs to build a ballistic missile and to build nuclear weapons." Gore, who also met with President Boris Yeltsin during his Moscow visit, said "there is no doubt in my mind" that the two countries "share the same concern" about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Russian officials, however, continued to deny the supply link. At a September 26 Kremlin news conference with French President Jacques Chirac, Yeltsin said, "There is nothing further from the truth. I again and again categorically refute such rumors."

According to the Israeli assessment, which was first reported in The Washington Times on September 10 and the gist of which has largely been confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies, several Russian entities have provided Iran with key missile technology and know how. The named entities include the Russian Space Agency; Rosvoorouzhenie, the country's principal arms exporting agency, and its unidentified aerospace director; the Bauman Institute; NPO Trud; and Polyus. The Israeli report also identified China's state owned Great Wall Industries Corporation as a supplier.

According to Israeli intelligence, Iran is developing two IRBMs¾referred to as the Shahab 3 and the Shahab 4—that are based on North Korea's 1,000 kilometer range Nodong missile. Iran reportedly has provided financial support for North Korea's missile development programs, and according to one Israeli intelligence report has received at least a dozen of the missiles from Pyong yang. The Shahab 3's estimated range of 1,300 to 1,500 kilometers would put parts of Israel within its reach, and its estimated payload capability of 750 kilograms would allow the delivery of a nuclear warhead. Reports suggest this missile could enter production as early as 1999. The Shahab 4 has a reported range of 2,000 kilometers with a payload of 1,000 kilograms. Some observers believe that the Shahab 4 is based on Russia's SS 4 IRBM, the technology for which Russia has been accused of transferring to Tehran. Gore raised the SS 4 issue at the February meeting of the commission, but Chernomyrdin denied any such transfers had taken place.

During his September 23 press conference with Gore, Chernomyrdin reiterated Russia's commitment to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the 29 nation export control forum which Moscow formally joined in 1995. "We are not diverging from our commitments and even if somebody wishes to diverge from these commitments, they will not have their way," Chernomyrdin said. "There is no question of any missile deliveries."

Should the Clinton administration determine that the missile related transfers took place, the Russian entities could only be sanctioned under U.S. laws enforcing the MTCR if Russia, as an MTCR member, failed to take judicial or other enforcement action against the entities after confirming the violations had occurred. The sanctions, if applied, would bar the entities from doing any business with the U.S. government, as well as competing for contracts for future work.

The Russian Space Agency, in particular, is under close scrutiny because of its extensive contractual ties to U.S. agencies. In the last several years the U.S. government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Russian space program, funding that may become the target of congressional critics of the administration's approach to ending Moscow's nuclear and missile related ties with Iran.

Deadlock Continues to Plague CD Through Final 1997 Session

THE DEEPLY DIVIDED UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) concluded its final session of 1997 on September 9, having failed to agree on a work program during the year and—for the first time in its 19 year history—to establish a single ad hoc negotiating committee. Although the CD's 61 members had approved an agenda early in 1997, they were unable throughout the year to narrow their differences over the priorities for the Geneva based forum.

The current impasse has resulted in a split between the "Group of 21" non aligned states, which considers nuclear disarmament the CD's top priority, and a number of Western countries generally aligned with the nuclear weapon states (minus China), which favor the early negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty and possibly an anti personnel landmine accord that complements the ongoing "Ottawa Process." Efforts by the non aligned states during the 1997 conference to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a time bound nuclear disarmament framework, which might include a fissile ban component, were repeatedly rejected. Compromise proposals by Japan and New Zealand to appoint a special coordinator or establish a nuclear disarmament committee failed to acheive consensus.

Although the stalemate over nuclear disarmament dominated much of the CD's time this year, the conference was also unable to agree on negotiating mandates for any of the six other arms control related items which appear annually on its agenda. These issues include prevention of nuclear war, prevention of an arms race in outer space, new types of weapons of mass destruction, comprehensive disarmament, negative security assurances and transparency in armaments.

Addressing the CD at the beginning of its third and final session, Ralph Earle, deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, told the conference that a fissile ban would be "an important measure in the overall process of nuclear disarmament," and that without it "the ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament would be decreased significantly." The U.S. delegation also made it clear that the United States would continue to favor bilateral negotiations with Russia as the most expeditious way to ensure continued progress in nuclear disarmament, at least for the foreseeable future.

On the final day of the session, the U.S. representative, Katharine Crittenberger, criticized the "all or nothing approach" that some delegations pursued during the 1997 conference and said there seemed to be a lack of desire and will to achieve substantive results. Days earlier, Munir Akram of Pakistan said some delegations' positions were so rigid that the CD was unable to carry out its responsibilities, and criticized the handful of states that had refused to allow the CD to begin negotiations on nuclear disarmament. However, a British diplomatic source familiar with the debate said the "onus is on the threshold states" of India, Israel and Pakistan.

 

Landmine Debate

Although anti personnel landmines were not formally included on the CD's 1997 agenda and the "Ottawa Process" overshadowed the talks in Geneva, there was some optimism during the final session that the conference would be able to address landmines in 1998. Ambassador John Campbell of Australia, the CD's special coordinator on landmines appointed during the second session, recommended that the conference postpone further discussions until after the Ottawa treaty is signed in December and the CD can determine how to best complement the Ottawa Process.

On September 9, Campbell told the conference a majority of states favor, or at least do not oppose, addressing the landmine issue when the conference opens its 1998 session in January. He also said the mandate with the greatest support is a step by step approach to eventual elimination that begins by addressing exports, imports and transfers.

During a September 26 ceremony at the United Nations marking the handover of the Ottawa text, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, "[The] treaty will serve not only as a complement but also as an inspiration for greater and swifter progress" in the CD's work toward a total ban. "Together, the two avenues can truly lead to a worldwide prohibition, including all countries affected by landmines," Annan said.

The CD's three other special coordinators, who were appointed in August to address the effective functioning of the conference, membership expansion and review of the CD agenda, all reported that divergent views of the delegations prevented them from making recommendations. The conference rejected a request to allow the coordinators to hold intercessional consultations before the 1998 conference convenes. The CD's sessions in 1998 are scheduled for January 19 to March 27, May 11 to June 26, and July 27 to September 9.

SCC Parties Sign Agreements On Mulitlateralization, TMD Systems

IN A SEPTEMBER 26 ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, representatives of the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine signed a set of agreements that seek to establish a "demarcation line" between theater missile defense (TMD) systems, which are not limited by the 1972 ABM Treaty, and strategic missile defense systems, which are restricted. They also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that designates Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine as the successor states to the former Soviet Union under the treaty.

These agreements mark the conclusion of nearly four years of difficult negotiations in the Geneva based Standing Consultative Commission (SCC), and are critical to U.S. and Russian efforts to secure the Russian Duma's approval of START II. The Clinton administration has indicated that it will submit the demarcation agreements and the MOU to the Senate for approval, where a tough battle is expected, after the Duma ratifies START II. Some Russian legislators have linked further nuclear reductions to constraints on highly capable U.S. TMD systems.

 

TMD 'Demarcation'

The "First Agreed Statement" pertains to so called "lower velocity" TMD systems (those with interceptor velocities of 3 kilometers per second or less). According to the statement, deployment of such TMD systems will be permitted under the ABM Treaty provided that they are not tested against ballistic missile targets with velocities above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceed 3,500 kilometers. The statement will enable the United States to deploy the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC 3) and Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems as well as the Navy's Area Defense system, all of which the United States had previously declared to be treaty compliant.

Under the "Second Agreed Statement," which covers "higher velocity" TMD systems (those with interceptor velocities above 3 kilometers per second), the five states are prohibited from testing such systems against ballistic missile targets with velocities above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceed 3,500 kilometers. The agreed statement also bans the development, testing or deployment of space based TMD interceptor missiles or space based components based on other physical principles that are capable of substituting for such interceptor missiles. The sides will continue to make deployment decisions on higher velocity TMD systems based on their national compliance determinations, and the United States has already indicated that the Navy's Theater Wide Defense (NTWD) system is consistent with the ABM Treaty. Both agreed statements on demarcation will enter into force simultaneously with the MOU on succession.

The United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine also signed an "Agreement on Confidence Building Measures" (CBMs) to govern the deployment of both lower and higher velocity TMD systems. These measures, which include detailed information exchanges and prior notification of TMD test launches, apply to the U.S. THAAD and NTWD systems as well as to the Russian, Belarusan and Ukrainian SA 12 system (Kazakhstan does not possess the SA 12). This agreement will enter into force simultaneously with the First and Second Agreed Statements.

Moreover, to facilitate implementation of the CBM agreement the five countries signed a "Joint Statement" requiring each party to provide information annually on the status of its TMD plans and programs. In this regard, the five states each issued a statement on their TMD plans that reiterates understandings reached between Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin at the Helsinki summit in March. (See ACT, March 1997.)

 

MOU on Succession

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 created a situation in which ABM related facilities were located in several of the newly independent states. Although the only operational ABM interceptor system was deployed in Moscow, a number of early warning radars and an ABM test range were located outside of Russian territory. Russia, therefore, sought multilateralization of the ABM Treaty in order to facilitate its ability to maintain a functional ABM system. Meanwhile, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, viewed treaty membership as an important element of their independent status.

In June 1996, the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine reached a preliminary agreement that would have allowed any state of the former Soviet Union to become a party to the ABM Treaty. However, in the final stages of the negotiations on ABM succession, the sides agreed to restrict treaty membership to just the five states.

Under the MOU on succession, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine will collectively be limited to the terms of the treaty: ABM deployment at a single site and a total of 15 ABM launchers at test ranges. Those states that choose to ratify or approve the MOU will also be bound by both of the agreed statements on demarcation.

In addition, the five states signed an agreement establishing revised regulations for the multilateral operation of the SCC. It will enter into force simultaneously with the MOU on succession.

 

Issues May Remain

Despite the demarcation agreements, Russian and Ukrainian officials have pointed out that the First and Second Agreed Statements do not resolve all of the ABM TMD demarcation issues. During the September 26 signing ceremony in New York, Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov said the agreements "[do] not end the work to prevent the circumvention of the ABM Treaty." He noted that the agreements only reflect the status quo and will have to be revisited as TMD technologies evolve in the future. Likewise, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadiy Udovenko said the agreements "[do] not remove all the problems related to the demarcation between the ABM and TMD systems." That same day, a senior Clinton administration official responded in a background briefing that "this agreement [on demarcation] settles the issue of protecting our right to proceed with the TMD systems that we are now pursuing."

Before the ABM agreements can enter into force, they must be ratified or approved by each of the five signatory states according to their respective constitutional procedures. Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on September 8, Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said that once Russia ratifies START II, the Clinton administration intends to submit a package of arms control agreements to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. This package will include the MOU on succession, the First Agreed Statement, the Second Agreed Statement as well as two other agreements related to the START treaties.

The Senate may have serious resevations about the ABM portion of this package. Some conservative Republicans are likely to argue that the demarcation agreements will restrict future U.S. TMD capabilities. They are also expected to challenge the MOU on succession on the grounds that it will make it more difficult to amend the ABM Treaty in the future. Senator Jon Kyl (R AZ) has even suggested that if the Senate rejects the MOU, then the ABM Treaty will become null and void.

The Clinton administration maintains that the demarcation agreements do not constrain any planned U.S. TMD systems, and that in light of the president's responsibility under the Constitution to implement existing treaties, it was under no legal obligation to submit the MOU to the Senate and that the treaty remains viable between the United States and Russia even if the MOU is rejected. By submitting the START and ABM agreements as a package, the administration will also be able to argue that if the Senate rejects the ABM accords, it in effect will be rejecting major Russian nuclear weapons reductions because the two issues have been linked in the Duma.

Clinton Sends CTB Treaty to Senate: Hearing Set to Begin in October

NEARLY ONE YEAR after signing the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, the Clinton administration on September 22 formally transmitted the accord to the Senate, setting the stage for a likely battle with conservative Republicans who appear to be in no rush to consider the treaty. Although the Senate is expected to hold hearings in October on the treaty as well as the administration's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program (SSMP), which is designed to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing, a floor vote on advice and consent to ratification is not anticipated until spring 1998 at the earliest.

President Clinton announced the U.S. move toward ratification during a September 22 address to the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Citing over 40 years of test ban negotiating history, he called the CTB Treaty "the longest sought, hardest fought prize in the history of arms control," and said it "will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons" as well as "limit the possibilities for other states to acquire such devices." In his transmittal letter to the Senate, Clinton said the CTB "will significantly further our nuclear non proliferation and arms control objectives and strengthen international security."

In a White House briefing that same day, Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, addressed some concerns related to the treaty's rigid entry into force provisions. Under Article XIV, the treaty cannot enter into force until 180 days after it has been signed and ratified by 44 specific countries, including the five declared nuclear weapon states and the three "threshold" states (India, Israel and Pakistan).

As of September 30, only seven of the 147 states that have signed the test ban have ratified the treaty, including only one of the 44 named states. (See p. 34.) If Indian opposition to the CTB continues to prevent the treaty's entry into force, Bell said a special conference may be called in 1999 (three years after the test ban was opened for signature) by a majority of states parties to explore alternative ways of bringing the treaty into force. Bell stressed that Senate approval of the CTB will be important so that the United States may actively participate in this conference, should it become necessary.

 

View From the Hill

In the weeks preceding Clinton's transmittal of the treaty, several key senators expressed strong support for the CTB. Senator Joseph Biden (D DE), ranking minority member on the Foreign Relations Committee, said September 10: "With U.S. leadership in ratifying this treaty, the CTBT will gain near unanimous international support and keep pressure on India and many like minded countries to ratify it—or at least to refrain from testing." Two days later, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D NM) said, "It serves the peaceful interests of the United States and the peaceful interests of countries throughout the world to take this important step to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and eliminate nuclear testing."

Without stating his position on the CTB, Senator Pete Domenici (R NM), chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee and an influential voice in the nuclear testing debate, said September 12 that he intends to conduct a series of hearings on the treaty in October. Senator Thad Cochran (R MS), chairman of the Governmental Affairs subcommittee on international security, proliferation and federal services and a likely critic of the CTB, has scheduled a hearing on the SSMP for late October.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee must approve the CTB before a floor vote can occur. A spokesman for committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R NC) said the CTB is not a "front burner issue," especially because "it's unlikely...to come into force in the next year." The committee will consider NATO enlargement in hearings beginning in October before taking up the CTB Treaty.

U.S. Increases Worldwide Share Of Arms Deliveries, Agreements in 1996

 

Wade Boese

THE UNITED STATES dominated the conventional arms market in 1996, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report released August 13. Data measured by CRS national defense specialist Richard F. Grimmett in Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1989 1996, show the United States expanded its worldwide share of both arms transfer agreements and deliveries, outpacing the combined exports of the next largest suppliers: Britain and Russia.

In 1996, the total value of all agreements reached $31.8 billion (all figures in current dollars), the first increase since 1992, while the value of all deliveries increased slightly to $30.1 billion, far below the 1989 total of 45.4 billion (the peak year of the period covered by the report). Nearly three quarters (73.9 percent) of all deliveries went to developing countries in 1996, with Saudi Arabia, the largest recipient, importing arms worth $6.3 billion. Developing countries accounted for 61 percent of all agreements led by India ($2.5 billion) and Egypt ($2.4 billion).

Worldwide U.S. agreements were valued at $11.3 billion (35.5 percent the total), an increase of $2.1 billion from 1995, but only half the 1993 total of $22.4 billion. The value of U.S. agreements with developing countries rose to $7.3 billion, representing 37.5 percent of the market, up from 23.7 percent in 1995. Because the United States is the only major arms supplier that maintains two distinct export systems (government to government and commercial sales), the report includes only U.S. government to government sales, which comprise the "overwhelming portion" of all U.S. transfers, according to Grimmett.

While the value of Britain's agreements in 1996 rose from the 1995 level of $1 billion to $4.8 billion, Russian agreements plummeted from $8.2 billion to $4.6 billion. Russia, the 1995 leader in developing world agreements, saw a 12 percent decrease in agreements and only delivered $2.2 billion worth of arms to developing states, while U.S. deliveries totaled $9.5 billion.

Russia's declining share in the arms market in 1996 reflected the fact that Russia's clients have less purchasing power than the West's wealthy clients in the Middle East. Buyers are also unsure whether Moscow can supply the necessary spare parts and services to maintain equipment. Russian sales in 1996 were bolstered by an Indian purchase of 40 Su 30 fighters and a deepening relationship with China, which recently finalized a deal to co produce some 200 Su 27 aircraft with Russia. But Grimmett said Russia's real problem may surface in the long term, when Russia's failure to invest in advanced research and development could place Moscow at a competitive disadvantage.

Despite the modest increase in the arms market from 1995 to 1996, Grimmett feels that the market has reached a point of stability following the post Gulf War surge and that major purchases, such as fighter aircraft, will subside as suppliers increasingly focus on retaining traditional clients and maintaining and upgrading previously supplied equipment.

U.S. To Join 'Ottawa Process'; Will Seek Changes to Treaty

 

Erik J. Leklem

IN AN ELEVENTH HOUR effort to influence the emerging draft treaty on a global anti personnel landmine ban, the United States on August 18 announced that it would join the Canadian led "Ottawa Process" and participate in the final round of negotiations September 1 19 in Oslo, Norway. Clinton administration officials said, however, the United States would propose a number changes to the current draft text, including an exception for the stockpiling and use of anti personnel mines on the Korean Peninsula and a revision of the accord's definition of a mine so as to permit the use of some U.S. anti tank systems which incorporate anti personnel capabilities. The current draft treaty bans the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of all anti personnel mines with no exceptions.

Over one hundred countries are expected to participate in the Oslo conference, the fourth meeting in the year old effort that seeks to have a treaty ready for signature by December 1997. While several countries welcomed the U.S. decision to participate in Oslo, many ban supporters were critical of the administration's insistence on an exemption for the Korean Peninsula, arguing that such a proposal clearly violates the spirit of the treaty. Ban proponents, particularly among the international non governmental organizations that have been closely involved in the Ottawa Process, have also suggested that the proposed U.S. changes could set a precedent for other states to advance unfriendly amendments to the draft text. Under the conference's rules of procedure, any proposed change to the draft text will have to be approved by two thirds of the participating delegations. According to the State Department, U.S. officials had presented the administration's position to some 40 participating countries prior to the start of the Oslo negotiations, and these meetings generally had a "positive tone."

In addition to seeking a geographic exception for the Korean Peninsula and a revised definition of an anti personnel mine, the administration said it would also propose changes to strengthen the draft text's verification provisions, primarily enhanced information exchanges and fact finding missions. Australia is one of only a few countries that may back the United States on this point. In contrast, most states do not believe an intrusive verification regime would be economically viable. The United States will also seek the inclusion of a provision delaying entry into force until a majority of producers and users ratify the treaty or one that defers implementation of parts of the accord for nine years.

The administration's decision to negotiate at Oslo alters, at least temporarily, its January decision to pursue a global landmine ban solely at the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament (CD). (See ACT, January/February 1997.) In addition to U.S. opposition to details of the Ottawa Process's so called Austrian draft text, administration officials have said the CD is a more appropriate forum because its membership includes Russia and China, two of the world's largest producers of anti personnel landmines and critics of the Canadian led effort. (While Russia has attended some of the Ottawa meetings as an observer, China has avoided the negotiations entirely.) But the CD's continuing inability to initiate formal negotiations on a global landmine ban effectively blocked the United States from assuming a leading role in efforts to negotiate a treaty.

On August 14, the CD's new "special coordinator" on landmines, Ambassador John Campbell of Australia, said the CD would not include landmines on its agenda until after the outcome of the Ottawa Process was clear, postponing serious consideration of the issue in the CD until after the Ottawa treaty is signed.

U.S. North Korean Missile Talks Collapse Following Defection

WHILE THE collapse of U.S. North Korean missile talks in late August may have temporarily set back Clinton administration efforts to rein in Pyongyang's missile activities, the cause of the break down—the defection to the United States of a senior North Korean diplomat believed to be familiar with the North's missile related transfers to the Middle East—may produce an intelligence bonanza for the United States. The diplomat, Chang Sung Kil, North Korea's ambassador to Egypt and a former vice foreign minister, is the highest ranking official from the North ever to defect directly to the United States.

Chang's defection and that of his brother, a lower ranking diplomat based in Paris, and their families prompted North Korea to withdraw from a scheduled third round of missile talks in New York only hours before they were set to begin on August 27. A North Korean official said the defections would also have "serious effects" on the four party talks (involving North and South Korea, the United States and China) on formally ending the Korean War scheduled to resume September 15.

The U.S. North Korean missile talks, which opened in April 1996, focus on Pyongyang's missile development programs and its missile related exports. So far, however, the talks have apparently not produced any changes in Pyongyang's proliferation behavior. The United States is particularly concerned about North Korean transfers to Egypt, Iran and Syria, as well as Pakistan, and its development of short and medium range ballistic missiles. In addition to producing Scud B and Scud C short range missiles (with ranges of 300 and 600 kilometers, respectively), North Korea is developing the 1,000 kilometer range No dong (which it has flight tested) and is suspected of developing the Taepo dong I and Taepo dong II (with an estimated range of 3,500 kilometers).

In a June 1997 unclassified report on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and advanced munitions, the CIA said North Korea "continued to export Scud related equipment and materials to countries of concern" during the last half of 1996. In early 1996, North Korea reportedly provided Egypt with materials and equipment that, according to a leaked CIA document, "could allow Egypt to begin Scud C series production." (See ACT, July 1996.)

As part of the Clinton administration's carrot and stick approach to dealing with North Korea's proliferation activities—offering a bilateral dialogue while maintaining the threat of economic sanctions—the administration announced August 6 in the Federal Register that the United States was imposing sanctions on two North Korean entities—the Lyongaksan General Trading Corporation and the Korea Pugang Trading Corporation—for unspecified missile related transfers. The sanctions, however, which prohibit the U.S. government and U.S. companies from doing business with either firm, are largely symbolic because of long standing legislation that precludes such trade.

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