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"[Arms Control Today is] Absolutely essential reading for the upcoming Congressional budget debate on the 2018 NPR and its specific recommendations ... well-informed, insightful, balanced, and filled with common sense."

– Frank Klotz
former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
June 2002
Edition Date: 
Saturday, June 1, 2002

NATO, Russia Create New Joint Council

On May 28, NATO leaders, including President George W. Bush, joined with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Rome to create a new NATO-Russian body intended to enable greater cooperation between the 19-member alliance and Moscow.

The NATO-Russia Council will meet at least once a month at the ambassadorial level and twice per year at the level of defense and foreign ministers to discuss issues of common concern and, if possible, to take joint action. The 20 countries have agreed to conduct joint assessments of the current terrorism threat and the global spread of weapons of mass destruction. Other possible agenda items include crisis management, talks on theater missile defense cooperation, and pursuit of greater military-to-military contacts.

All decisions within the council are to be made by consensus. Yet Russia and NATO are free to act on their own, and Russia has no veto over any alliance decision or action. The White House explained May 28, “The NATO Allies retain the freedom to act, by consensus, on any issue at any time,” and they “will decide among themselves the issues” to be addressed by the council.

The NATO-Russia Council replaces the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC), which was established five years ago to mollify Russian opposition to NATO expansion by giving Russia a voice at NATO. The PJC failed by all accounts, and its breakdown was highlighted by Russia’s temporary suspension of its PJC participation to protest NATO’s 1999 military campaign against Yugoslavia.

Expectations are tempered about whether the new council will work better than its predecessor. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow cautioned in March that Russia needed to “overcome a legacy of mistrust and competition” with NATO and that the alliance needed to become “more open and more flexible in taking Russia’s views into account.”

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, who will serve as chairman of the council, told the 20 leaders gathered in Rome that “the success or failure of this council will not be determined by me, but by you.”

Bush Urges Senate Approval of IAEA Protocol

On May 9, President George W. Bush transmitted to the Senate for its approval the “additional protocol” to the U.S.-International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safeguards agreement. It is the first time since taking office that the administration has forwarded an arms control treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent.

In his message to the Senate, Bush urged “early and favorable consideration” of the agreement. He emphasized that “universal adoption” of the protocol is “a central goal” of his nuclear nonproliferation policy. The United States signed the protocol in 1998.

The IAEA drafted the protocol to strengthen its ability to detect covert nuclear weapons programs after it was unable to discover clandestine programs in Iraq and North Korea in the early 1990s. The protocol expands the IAEA’s legal authority beyond the original safeguards agreements the agency has with its member states. Those agreements, which aimed to allow the IAEA to verify that the products of civil nuclear programs were not being diverted to weapons programs, restrict the agency to inspecting and monitoring only declared nuclear sites.

Under the new protocol, the IAEA is allowed to conduct short- or no-notice inspections and employ new environmental-sampling and satellite-monitoring techniques at any suspect site. The protocol also requires states to provide the IAEA with additional information about aspects of their civilian nuclear programs, such as fuel-cycle activity and nuclear-related exports.

However, as one of the five states allowed to retain nuclear weapons under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States is not required to give the IAEA access to any facility it deems “of national security significance.” In effect, U.S. ratification of the protocol primarily serves to set a good example for those states that have yet to sign or ratify, according to a Senate staffer familiar with the agreement.

It is not clear when the Senate might take up the protocol since the White House has yet to submit a draft of the legislation detailing how it plans to implement the protocol. The staffer said it was possible that the Foreign Relations Committee would consider the protocol before the end of the year.
In March, China notified the IAEA that it had completed ratification of its protocol, becoming the only NPT nuclear-weapon state whose agreement has entered into force.

U.S., Russia Sign Treaty Cutting Deployed Nuclear Forces

June 2002

By Phillip C. Bleek

At their May 24 summit meeting in Moscow, Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin signed a treaty under which the United States and Russia will cut their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads each—approximately a two-thirds reduction from current levels.

The agreement, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, is the first strategic reductions pact signed by the two countries in almost a decade. It requires reductions in deployed forces substantially below the level of the START I agreement, and it effectively supersedes the START II accord, which never entered into force.

At a press conference following the signing ceremony, Bush said that the agreement “liquidates the Cold War legacy of nuclear hostility” between the United States and Russia. Putin was more reserved in his assessment, characterizing the accord as a “serious move ahead” but also noting that the two sides have agreed to continue their work toward resolving remaining differences.

The treaty marks the conclusion of a process begun November 13, when Bush announced that the United States would unilaterally reduce its “operationally deployed” strategic nuclear weapons to 1,700-2,200 and Putin said Russia would “try to respond in kind.” (See ACT, December 2001.) Bush initially expressed skepticism about formalizing the reductions in a binding agreement. But Moscow insisted on such a pact, and in February Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the United States had agreed to codify the reductions. (See ACT, March 2002.)

Composed of fewer than 500 words—a sharp contrast to START I’s several hundred pages—the agreement does not define which strategic warheads it covers (deployed, reserve, or both), nor does it define how warheads are to be counted. However, the document references previous statements by Bush and Putin, including the November 13 announcement in which Bush said he intended to reduce the number of “operationally deployed” strategic weapons, suggesting the treaty covers only those warheads that are mated to their delivery vehicles and ready for launch.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has explicitly rejected that interpretation, noting in a May 22 statement that the treaty does not include the term “operationally deployed warheads” and that the treaty’s implementation will be “tackled” in the Bilateral Implementation Commission called for by the treaty.

In the weeks prior to the summit, negotiations between the two sides had appeared to bog down as they wrangled over how much flexibility the treaty should allow. Russia had sought a START I-style approach that would have counted the maximum number of warheads that deployed missiles and bombers can carry, while the United States had insisted on counting only those warheads ready for immediate use. The U.S. approach provides considerably more leeway because warheads removed from multiple-warhead missiles and bomber-based weapons removed from operational storage bunkers can be counted as reductions even though they can be quickly redeployed.

The related issue of whether each side would have to destroy warheads and delivery vehicles removed from service was also contentious, with Russia publicly calling for the verifiable destruction of both warheads and delivery systems and the United States wanting to retain the option to store warheads removed from deployment.

The treaty makes no mention of the issue, effectively supporting the U.S. position. As Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out in a May 28 op-ed, “The treaty does not require the actual destruction of a single missile or warhead,” a point other critics have also highlighted.

Although START I and START II did not call for warhead destruction, they did require the verifiable destruction of most delivery systems removed from service. And in 1997 Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed to pursue a START III pact that would include “measures relating…to the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads…to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions.”

To implement the reductions, U.S. officials have announced that they will convert four of the current 18 Trident submarines to carry only conventional cruise missiles, retire all 50 10-warhead MX missiles, and eliminate the B-1B bomber’s nuclear role. These steps will remove about 1,300 warheads from service. Warheads will also be removed from existing multiple-warhead ICBMs and SLBMs to reach the administration’s target of 3,800 deployed strategic warheads by 2007.

Decisions on how to reduce U.S. deployments further have apparently not yet been made, and U.S. officials said earlier this year that further reductions would depend on the strategic situation in 2007 as well as the country’s ability to deploy new capabilities, such as strategic missile defenses and enhanced conventional weapons. (See ACT, January/February 2002.)

U.S. officials have also made clear that although “some” warheads and delivery systems will be dismantled, substantial numbers of warheads will be put in reserve. According to administration sources, by 2012 the United States will deploy 2,200 strategic weapons and retain an additional 2,400 in an operationally maintained “responsive capability.” The United States would be able to redeploy some warheads in the responsive capability within weeks or months and to redeploy all 2,400 warheads within three years.

In addition, the United States is expected to continue to store thousands of nonoperational but fully assembled warheads as well as thousands of additional weapon components that could be reassembled into complete weapons.

When asked at the May 24 press conference why the United States needs to retain thousands of deployed weapons and thousands more reserve warheads, Bush stressed future uncertainties, saying, “Who knows what will happen 10 years from now? Who knows what future presidents will say and how they [will] react?”

Russian officials have yet to provide details on how they intend to implement the reductions, but Moscow may store rather than destroy the warheads it removes from service if that is what the United States does.

Russia currently has a nuclear stockpile estimated to contain more than 13,000 nondeployed strategic and tactical warheads, in large part because dismantling the warheads has proven prohibitively expensive. Russia also continues to manufacture limited numbers of new warheads to replace weapons that have reached the end of their service lives. Asked at the joint press conference why it was necessary to maintain this capability, Putin said that warhead production “is not our priority” but that Russia needs to consider threats posed by other nuclear-weapon states and potential proliferators.

The timetable for reductions remains uncertain because, unlike START I, the new treaty does not include interim deadlines. The treaty requires the two sides to have implemented their reductions by December 31, 2012, which is also the date the pact expires.

The fact that the agreement’s implementation and expiration deadlines are the same has led some to conclude that it is technically impossible to violate the pact. But a Bush administration official close to the negotiations said that from the U.S. perspective, it is in fact possible to violate the agreement by acting in a way that does not “make compliance possible.” The official noted that this interpretation is codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which stipulates that “[a] State is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty…it has signed.”

The official said that as the implementation and expiration date approached, the two sides could decide whether to negotiate a follow-on accord. But the official also indicated that no further agreement might be needed after that time.

The accord’s withdrawal clause also marks a departure from previous agreements, allowing either side to pull out of the pact with only three months’ notice, rather than the six months’ notice required by START I. (U.S. negotiators had also sought a provision allowing either side to exceed the agreement’s limits with 45 days’ notice, but that provision was not included in the final document, suggesting the three-month withdrawal period was a compromise with the Russians.) Also unlike START I, the agreement does not require the withdrawing party to justify its actions by citing “extraordinary events [that] have jeopardized its supreme interests.”

The agreement includes no verification or transparency provisions, although both U.S. and Russian officials have said they will continue to work to increase strategic transparency. With regard to verification, the two sides appear to have decided to rely on existing provisions in the START I agreement, but that accord expires in 2009, and it is unclear whether the sides will extend it, establish verification provisions for the new accord, or simply do without verification after that time.

Moscow and Washington have agreed to consider transparency in ongoing discussions of the treaty’s Bilateral Implementation Commission. That commission will meet at least twice annually, but details such as the seniority of the officials involved, the schedule of the meetings, and the likely agenda have yet to be worked out, according to the administration official. The official said that previous arms control agreements had spelled out such details because of the adversarial relationship between the two countries, but that under the current, more trusting relationship Washington deemed a “more structured implementation mechanism” unnecessary.

Russian officials appear to hold out hope that their differences with the United States over warhead counting and weapons dismantlement can be resolved within the commission, but it remains unclear whether the United States will be willing to continue substantive negotiations. When asked about Washington’s willingness to negotiate such issues further, the administration official said the president had been very clear about U.S. plans, implying that additional constraints on U.S. forces are not an option. But the official also said, “If the Russians have things they want to talk about, we’ll listen.”

U.S., Russia Sign Treaty Cutting Deployed Nuclear Forces

U.S., Russia Issue Statement on Strategic Cooperation

June 2002

By Philipp C. Bleek

Supplementing the new Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin signed a joint declaration May 24 that calls for cooperation on a “new strategic relationship” between the United States and Russia. The document covers a broad range of subjects, including economic, political, and security cooperation, but provides few substantive details.

Perhaps the most significant item among the document’s security-related elements is a decision to establish a Consultative Group for Strategic Security. Chaired by foreign and defense ministers, this body will serve as the main mechanism to “strengthen mutual confidence, expand transparency, share information and plans, and discuss strategic issues of mutual interest.” According to U.S. officials, the two sides have yet to work out specific details about the group’s composition, meeting times, and agenda.

The document highlights the new strategic reductions treaty, notes that START I will remain in force, and says that START I’s provisions “will provide the foundation for providing confidence, transparency, and predictability in further strategic offensive reductions.” According to the text, “other supplementary measures, including transparency measures, to be agreed” will complement START I. U.S. officials were unable to provide further details on measures under consideration.

The declaration states that the two sides also agreed to strengthen confidence and increase transparency on missile defense. Steps will include conducting information exchanges on missile defense programs and tests as well as reciprocal visits to observe tests. The document also says that Washington and Moscow will study areas for further missile defense cooperation. Potential measures could include exploring “joint research and development efforts” and expanding joint exercises. However, when undertaking future cooperation, the two sides will factor in “the importance of the mutual protection of classified information and the safeguarding of intellectual property rights,” a clear sign that cooperation will likely be limited.

The United States has previously provided Russia with information on missile defense tests and programs, and the two sides have conducted joint theater missile defense tests. It remains unclear from the document what steps Washington and Moscow intend to take to expand this limited cooperation, and U.S. officials were unable to provide concrete details.

The declaration further says the two sides will try to open the joint center for exchanging early-warning data, which the United States and Russia agreed to establish in June 2000. Construction of the center has been stalled over disagreements about tax and liability exemptions for U.S. contractors working in Russia.

The text also states that the two countries will “intensify” efforts to address international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The United States and Russia will “work closely together, including through cooperative programs, to ensure the security of weapons of mass destruction and missile technologies, information, expertise, and material.” The statement does not elaborate on what these efforts will entail.

According to the document, the two sides will also continue existing threat reduction programs and will “enhance efforts” to reduce the amount of weapons-usable fissile material. That work will include the establishment of joint expert groups, which will investigate increasing the amount of weapons-usable fissile material the two sides will eliminate and cooperating on “research and development efforts on advanced, proliferation-resistant nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies.” The United States and Russia are currently working to eliminate fissile material under the 1993 Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement and a 2000 agreement on plutonium disposition.

U.S., Russia Issue Statement on Strategic Cooperation

Bush, Putin Disagree on Russia-Iran Nuclear, Missile Cooperation

June 2002

By Alex Wagner

Although Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin signed a new nuclear arms reductions treaty and a joint declaration on May 24 in Moscow, the two leaders could not resolve longstanding U.S. concerns about Russian nuclear and missile cooperation with Iran. Instead, the two sides discussed the possibility of sending nuclear inspectors to Iran and agreed to establish a ministerial-level committee to examine the unresolved issues.

Speaking at the treaty signing with Putin, Bush told reporters that it is “in both our countries’ mutual interest that we solve this problem.” Bush said that he and Putin “spoke very frankly and honestly about the need to make sure that a nontransparent government run by radical clerics doesn’t get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.”

Russia’s construction of a nuclear power plant in the Iranian city of Bushehr has been a highly contentious issue since the early 1990s. Washington has been worried that Iran will covertly use the reactor to produce material for nuclear weapons. The United States has also alleged that Russia has been providing Tehran with technological assistance that could enhance Iran’s missile program.

During a May 26 interview on CNN’s Late Edition, Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that differences between the two sides remain, saying, “The Russians say that they are not providing that kind of technology or equipment to the Iranians, and we have some evidence that they are.” To continue consulting on these issues, the two leaders decided to establish a regular consultative committee consisting of U.S. and Russian foreign and defense ministers, Powell said.

The leaders said that during their meeting Bush had pressed Putin on the Bushehr project, but at the treaty signing the Russian president insisted that Russian-Iranian cooperation does not undercut nonproliferation efforts but rather “focuses on problems of economic nature.” Putin went as far as comparing his country’s involvement with Bushehr to a U.S.-led effort to construct a civilian nuclear power plant in North Korea. “I’d like to point out also that the U.S. has taken a commitment upon themselves to build a similar nuclear power plant in North Korea, similar to Russia,” Putin said.

At a press conference in Paris on May 26, Bush said he believes Putin “is convinced” that construction of the power plant “will not lead to the spread of technologies that will enable Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction.” But Bush said that Putin was “willing to allow for international inspection teams to determine whether that’s true or not.” A senior administration official later clarified that Putin’s offer to allow inspections at Bushehr is still “a work in progress.”

Russia and Iran have long agreed that the Bushehr reactor would be constructed and operated in full accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear accounting procedures and monitoring. The head of Iran’s parliamentary commission for energy, Hossein Afarideh, confirmed Iran’s intention to observe IAEA rules May 28, according to Iran’s state-run news agency. An IAEA team has already visited the Bushehr construction site, and regular inspections of the facility will occur four to six times a year after Russia supplies key nuclear materials, according to an IAEA spokesperson.

At the treaty signing ceremony, Putin also disputed U.S. charges that his country supports Iranian missile development efforts and said that he had told Bush that Iran and other countries have missile and nuclear programs largely built with Western support.

Washington considers Russian transfers of missile technology to Iran an offense violating both U.S. law and Russia’s international commitments and has sanctioned several Russian entities for providing such assistance, most recently in 1999. According to a January 2002 U.S. intelligence report, Russia provided Iran with ballistic missile-related goods and technical “know-how” throughout 2001. “Russian assistance likely supports Iranian efforts to develop new missiles and increase Tehran’s self-sufficiency in missile production,” the report said.

Bush, Putin Disagree on Russia-Iran Nuclear, Missile Cooperation

U.S. Officials Claim Russia Preparing for Nuclear Test

June 2002

By Philipp C. Bleek

In late April and early May, U.S. officials briefed select members of Congress on new intelligence that they believe indicates that Russia is preparing to conduct nuclear tests at its Novaya Zemlya test site, according to congressional sources.

Asked about the U.S. allegations at a May 13 briefing, a senior U.S. official said, “We expect the Russian government to carry out its pledge to refrain from nuclear testing.” The official said the situation illustrated why the administration feels the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is unverifiable, arguing that if a country seeks “to test in a deceptive manner…we might not be able to pick that up.” Ratified by Russia and signed by the United States, the treaty bans all nuclear weapons test explosions.

Questioned about the charges during a May 12 interview with Russia’s ORT television, Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov said he was surprised by the allegations, which he termed “ungrounded statements.” “There are still people in the United States who think in the categories of the Cold War,” Ivanov said.

A Foreign Ministry statement issued five days later said that Russia is “maintaining the readiness” of its test site but that reports claiming it is preparing to conduct tests are “totally at odds with reality.” The statement impugned U.S. motives, saying that the allegations were circulated “to divert the attention of the international community from the U.S. refusal to ratify the CTBT and the actual plans of the Pentagon to create a new generation of nuclear weapons that may require nuclear tests.”

In 1997, U.S. intelligence officials alleged that seismic and other data indicated that Russia had conducted a clandestine nuclear test in August of that year, leading the White House to issue a formal diplomatic protest to Moscow. The allegation was subsequently retracted when more careful analysis showed that the data was pointing to a seismic event, which was almost certainly a small earthquake, that had occurred beneath the sea floor some distance from Russia’s island test site. (See ACT, October 1997.)

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), who attended one of the highly classified congressional briefings, has successfully championed an amendment to the House version of the fiscal year 2003 defense authorization bill that calls for “joint visits by nuclear weapons scientists and experts” to U.S. and Russian nuclear test sites. The Senate version of the bill, which has not yet been finalized, does not contain a similar provision, and prospects for passage of Weldon’s amendment remain unclear.

At a November 2001 international conference on the CTBT, Russia proposed bilateral measures beyond those contained in the treaty to make test-site activity more transparent but indicated that Washington and Moscow should pursue such measures after the treaty has entered into force. (See ACT, December 2001.)

U.S. Officials Claim Russia Preparing for Nuclear Test

Pakistan Tests Three Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles

June 2002

By Alex Wagner

Pakistan tested three different nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in May—its first tests since 1999. The tests come during a tense standoff between the Indian and Pakistani militaries over the disputed province of Kashmir, prompting international concern that if war breaks out, it could result in a nuclear exchange.

On May 24, Pakistani Information Minister Nisar Memon announced that his country would conduct a series of “routine” missile tests that were “part of technical requirements” and unrelated to the military confrontation in Kashmir. Islamabad gave advance notice of the tests to India, the United States, and several other regional and European states.

The following day, Pakistan flight-tested for the third time its 1,300-kilometer-range, liquid-fueled, road-mobile Haft-V missile, also known as the Ghauri. At a May 25 press conference, Memon said the test “reinforced the effectiveness and technical excellence of Pakistan’s indigenous missile technology.”

However, a December 2001 CIA report implied that the missile is actually a North Korean Nodong-1. Shortly after the test, Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao also disputed Pakistan’s claim that it had indigenously developed the missile, claiming, “Pakistan has acquired the technology and the material for its missiles program clandestinely.”

On May 26, Pakistan tested its 290-kilometer-range, solid-fueled, mobile Hatf-3 missile, a first for that particular missile, according to Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations Directorate. The directorate said the missile is also called the Ghaznavi, a name that the U.S. Defense Department has previously attributed to a 2000-kilometer, solid-fueled missile that is similar or perhaps identical to Pakistan’s Shaheen-2.

Two days later, Pakistan completed its testing series by firing a 180-kilometer-range, solid-fueled, mobile missile known as the Haft-2, or Abdali.

India responded with a quick but relatively muted reaction. At a May 24 press conference, Rao downplayed the forthcoming tests, saying they were “missile antics, clearly targeted at the domestic audience in Pakistan.” Rao added, “One fails to understand why Pakistan has chosen this moment to deplete one of the ready-made missiles in its stock.”

Even though the tests came at a time of high tension, the South Asian rivals appear to have abandoned their previous tit-for-tat missile-testing cycle. India has yet to respond to this series of tests with missile flight tests of its own, and Pakistan did not conduct tests in response to India’s January 2001 and January 2002 missile tests.

Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed “disappointment” at Pakistan’s decision to conduct missile tests amid such high tensions. In a May 26 interview on CNN’s Late Edition, Powell acknowledged that although the testing series “doesn’t seem to have caused the crisis to get any worse,” the region “just didn’t need this kind of activity at this time.”

Two days before Powell’s remarks, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the United States will “continue to urge both sides to take steps to restrain their missile programs and their nuclear weapons programs.” These steps could include not deploying operational nuclear-armed missiles and restarting a dialogue on “confidence-building measures that could reduce the likelihood that any such weapons ever be used.”

The two sides suspended this dialogue in May 1999, when a military altercation in the mountains above Kargil, Kashmir, heated up. According to a recent paper by Bruce Riedel, a senior director in the Clinton administration’s National Security Council, U.S. officials had received information that Pakistan’s military was preparing to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads during that crisis, without the knowledge of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan Tests Three Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles

U.S. Says Cuba Has Limited Germ Weapons Effort

June 2002

By Seth Brugger

On May 6, a senior U.S. official charged Cuba with pursuing biological weapons capabilities and said that Havana may be aiding other states conducting similar endeavors—activities that would contravene Cuba’s obligations under the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

Addressing the private Heritage Foundation on weapons of mass destruction threats, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said, “For four decades, Cuba has maintained a well-developed and sophisticated biomedical industry, supported until 1990 by the Soviet Union…. Analysts and Cuban defectors have long cast suspicion on the activities conducted in these biomedical facilities. Here is what we now know: The United States believes that Cuba has at least a limited, offensive biological warfare research and development effort.”

Bolton also said that Cuba has given dual-use biotechnology to other “rogue states” and that Washington fears that this technology could support biological weapons programs in those states. Bolton did not say which countries the United States believes Cuba has aided but mentioned that Cuban President Fidel Castro visited Iran, Syria, and Libya last year.

The undersecretary called on Cuba to halt its biological weapons-related cooperation with rogue states and to fully adhere to the Biological Weapons Convention, which Havana ratified in April 1972 and which outlaws offensive biological weapons development and transfers.

Bolton’s speech came two weeks before a new Bush initiative that challenged the Cuban government to carry out sweeping political and economic reforms and followed a November statement in which the undersecretary fingered other countries for violating the BWC.

Bolton’s statement was largely regarded as a new accusation, but it did not actually break new ground, as it closely mirrored mid-March testimony given by a senior State Department intelligence official before a Senate committee. That testimony appears to be the first time such a statement was publicly made by a U.S. official about Cuba’s biological weapons capabilities.

Speaking May 10 on Cuban television, Castro dismissed Bolton’s charges as a “treacherous” lie and said that weapons of mass destruction programs would ruin the economy of a small nation, such as Cuba. Two days later, Castro offered former President Jimmy Carter, who was in Havana on a private visit, as well as any specialist Carter might choose, complete access to any Cuban scientific research center.

During a May 13 visit to the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana, Carter said that he had asked Bush administration officials before his trip about Cuban ties to terrorists and had been told Cuba had not transferred information abroad that could be used for “terrorist purposes.” Carter also expressed doubt that Cuba is providing Libya or Iran with “terrorist information.”

Although Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said he has not seen the intelligence that led to Bolton’s remarks, other senior administration officials have stood by the undersecretary and further clarified the U.S. position. Speaking to the press May 14, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “As Undersecretary Bolton said recently, we do believe that Cuba has a biological offensive research capability. We didn’t say that it actually had such weapons, but it has the capacity and the capability to conduct such research.”

Speaking a day earlier on “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said, “There is plenty of reasons to be very concerned about what the Cubans are doing in this area.” She also questioned the usefulness of conducting on-site inspections to resolve concerns about biological weapons development, saying, “I will say that you can’t show someone a biotech lab and be assured that they’re not creating weapons of mass destruction. That’s not how biological weapons work. They’re actually very easy to conceal.”

On May 16, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also questioned the usefulness of inspections, saying they could not add more than “limited value in resolving compliance concerns.” Boucher said that once Cuba complies with the BWC, it could demonstrate its compliance by opening its laboratories up and conducting exchanges with scientists and other people “in the field.”

U.S. Says Cuba Has Limited Germ Weapons Effort

UN Security Council Overhauls Iraqi Sanctions Regime

June 2002

By Alex Wagner

More than a year after it set out to revitalize the Iraqi sanctions regime, the United States won unanimous approval from the UN Security Council for a resolution that effectively lifts the international embargo on civilian trade with Iraq. The council’s 15-0 vote on May 14 came as the United Nations and Baghdad appear to be making progress on talks that would result in the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq.

The adoption of what Secretary of State Colin Powell has touted as “smart sanctions” removes UN export controls on purely civilian goods, allowing Iraq to import any nonmilitary item through a streamlined UN review process. Under the old regime, Iraq could import food items and certain infrastructure, health, and agricultural materials but was effectively prevented from importing most other civilian cargo.

Contracts with military applications will still be barred, and items delineated on a “Goods Review List” that have both civilian and military uses will require additional scrutiny before Iraq can import them. Two inspection bodies, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are charged with examining all contracts that incorporate items on the Goods Review List.

Through the resolution, the Security Council also extended for another six months the oil-for-food program, under which Baghdad’s oil-sale revenues are placed into a UN-controlled escrow account that funds all of Iraq’s purchases.

The Bush administration began planning last year to revise the sanctions on Iraq, believing that the now-11-year-old regime was not effective and wanting to respond to international criticism that sanctions—not the policies of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein—were responsible for the humanitarian problems of the Iraqi people.

In May 2001, the United States and United Kingdom issued a draft proposal to reinvigorate the regime. In addition to lifting the civilian embargo and implementing a Goods Review List, the administration had wanted to tighten restrictions on Iraqi oil customers and designate permitted border crossings into Iraq to prevent Baghdad from illegally exporting oil to pay for imported, proscribed weapons and technology.

However, Washington and London apparently dropped their efforts to stem smuggling because of stiff opposition from Iraq’s neighbors, who profit from the illicit trade. As a result, the Security Council only approved a draft Goods Review List in late November 2001. Since then, U.S. and Russian diplomats have negotiated minor revisions to the list.

Because the new resolution eliminates nearly all the red tape that had held up Iraq’s import of some civilian goods, Washington views the new resolution as a public relations coup. During a May 14 interview with Washington File, Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation John Wolf said, “These changes will further highlight that the situation of the Iraqi people is due to the [Iraqi] regime’s subversion of the UN system intended to provide for their well being. With this simple process for civilian goods in place, there can be no excuse for evasion of the focused controls aimed at preventing the Iraqi regime’s rearmament.”

Speaking to reporters May 14, Powell called the vote “a major achievement.” That same day, U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte noted that unanimous approval of the resolution was a “significant accomplishment, both politically and technically.”

Unsurprisingly, Iraq was critical of the Security Council’s action because it did not remove all sanctions, but Baghdad agreed on May 16 to accept the new arrangement. In a May 16 address carried over state-run television, Hussein blasted the move, saying it sought to forestall “Iraq’s awakening and effort to develop its scientific and technical resources.”

Although the United States remains committed to eventually disposing of the Hussein regime to neutralize the perceived Iraqi threat, the Bush administration continues to support an ongoing Iraq-UN dialogue to discuss the readmission of UN weapons inspectors into Iraq.

A second round of talks between the UN and Iraq concluded without agreement on May 3, but UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed hope that an upcoming third round would produce a deal.

Under the terms of the 1991 Persian Gulf War ceasefire, Iraq agreed to allow unfettered, comprehensive weapons inspections. Iraq’s subsequent resistance to inspections led to the removal of inspectors just prior to a U.S.-led bombing campaign in December 1998. For some time, senior Bush administration officials have expressed concern that Iraq has been actively rearming since inspectors left the country.

Speaking to the press May 3, Annan described the three days of talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri as “useful and frank,” emphasizing, “We did move forward.” Sabri echoed Annan’s characterization, saying the talks were “useful, frank, and focused.”

Annan also said that for the first time since inspectors left Iraq, the two sides held “thorough” disarmament discussions that focused on the technicalities of resuming inspections. UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix participated in the first round of talks in March and was joined by IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei for the most recent session. (See ACT, April 2002.) At a May 3 press briefing, ElBaradei and Blix both estimated inspections would last about one year with full Iraqi cooperation.

A UN official said that the talks yielded “no breakthroughs” but noted that the focus on disarmament was “a positive sign.” The Iraqi delegation had wanted to raise additional topics such as the no-fly zones over Iraq and the lifting of sanctions, but Annan refused to discuss these subjects, the official said.

Iraq’s delegation will now report back to Baghdad and confer with Iraq’s leadership, while the UN awaits an answer as to whether Iraq will permit a return of inspectors. The UN and Iraq are scheduled to resume discussions in early July. The UN official said that the two sides might hold the next meeting in Vienna and that Annan is unlikely to agree to any additional rounds of talks.

UN Security Council Overhauls Iraqi Sanctions Regime

Washington Levies Sanctions for WMD-Related Transfers to Iran

June 2002

Alex Wagner

The Bush administration imposed sanctions on 12 Chinese, Moldavian, and Armenian firms and individuals May 9 for transferring items to Iran that could assist Tehran with missile development or the production of chemical or biological weapons.

The administration levied the sanctions under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, which mandates penalties for entities that transfer to Iran equipment and technology controlled under multilateral export control regimes. These informal arrangements include the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime, which seek to coordinate member states’ policies on chemical and biological weapons-related and missile-related exports, respectively.

The sanctions, which are effective for two years, specifically bar the U.S. government from providing assistance to or engaging in business with any of the sanctioned entities, and they effectively prevent U.S. companies from doing so. Several of the entities are already under U.S. sanctions, but at a May 16 press conference State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that imposing further penalties served to extend the time the entities remain under sanctions.

Little information about the transfers that triggered the sanctions is publicly available. According to a U.S. official, the State Department is “not in a position to describe the transfers or the roles of the entities in them.”

However, according to intelligence officials cited in a May 20 Washington Times article, some of the transfers by Chinese entities involved glass-lined equipment, which could be used while developing chemical weapons. The report also cited officials claiming that other Chinese entities were sanctioned for selling cruise missile components to Iran.

Of the eight penalized Chinese entities, Liyang Chemical Equipment Company, China National Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company, and Chinese citizen Q. C. Chen were sanctioned in January for transfers controlled by the Australia Group. At that time, the State Department said Chen had provided assistance to Iran’s chemical weapons program. (See ACT, March 2002.)

The administration is also sanctioning Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant, most likely for chemical weapon-related transfers; Wha Cheong Tai Company; China Shipbuilding Trading Company; China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation; and China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation, which was sanctioned in June 1991 for transferring M-11 short-range missiles to Pakistan.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced the U.S. sanctions as “unreasonable” and emphasized Beijing’s strict adherence to its international export control obligations.

Although Chinese entities have been extensively penalized in the past for transfers of weapons of mass destruction-related technology to the Middle East, the new measures mark the first time that Moldavian and Armenian entities have been sanctioned.

A May 9 Reuters report quoted a senior administration official suggesting that the Armenian and Moldavian companies were fronts for Russian entities. However, in an interview another administration official denied the connection, stating that there is “no evidence that these entities are acting as fronts for other entities or any government.”

Citing Moldavian government sources, BASA-press, a Moldavian news agency, reported on May 17 that one of the newly sanctioned companies, Cuanta, SA no longer exists. The report described Cuanta as a military research facility that was once a manufacturer of sophisticated telecommunications systems for guided missiles. The Bush administration also sanctioned Cuanta’s former manager, Mikhail Pavlovich Vladov.

Armenia’s Lizen Open Joint Stock Company and Armenian national Armen Sargsian were also penalized. At a May 18 press conference, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian confirmed that Lizen sold certain materials to Iran but said the company did not intend “to assist the weapons of mass destruction production or research in other countries.” Oskanian said the company was “probably told at some point that it could lead to problems for them, but, nevertheless, they apparently chose to go ahead with the sale, and they are now included in that list.”

Washington Levies Sanctions for WMD-Related Transfers to Iran

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