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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

17 January 2002

U.S., Russian Defense Officials Conclude Early Arms Talks

(Delegates agree to series of working groups)(850)
By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- U.S. and Russian defense officials are setting up a
series of working groups to foster cooperation in verifying reductions
of nuclear arsenals, in exchanging data on technology, and in joint
antiterrorism efforts, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith says.
"We agreed to set up a number of working groups to cover various areas
of our common interest to see if we can identify new types of
cooperation and agreements," Feith said January 16 during a special
Pentagon briefing.
The delegations -- led by Feith, under secretary for defense policy,
and General-Colonel Yuriy Nikolayevich Baluyevskiy, the first deputy
chief of the Russian general staff -- held discussions January 15 and
16 in Washington as part of broader diplomatic initiatives between the
United States and Russia. These discussions are expected to lead to
recommendations for later talks between Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov.
Eventually, the negotiations are expected to lead to a summit in May
or June between President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir
Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Feith said the talks also focused on transparency and predictability
measures in arms control, but without resorting to what he referred to
as the formalized, tortuous style of Cold War agreements between the
United States and the former Soviet Union, which tended to
institutionalize a kind of hostile relationship.
"We're not looking to get echoes of that, and we're not looking to
recreate arms control-style negotiations or agreements," he said. "We
do think there are useful things that we can do so that the
possibilities of misunderstanding about each other's force structures
are reduced, and that's what we are driving at when we talk about
transparency and predictability."
Feith said the United States is not ruling out anything as to the form
agreements with Russia might take, but wants what is most effective in
enhancing cooperation.
Baluyevskiy, however, said during a joint briefing he was "talking
about a legally binding document" to codify specific nuclear arms
reductions. He said Russia was "happy with the specific number within
the region of 1,700 to 2,200 warheads" the United States pledged in
November to achieve within a decade. Putin, in talks with Bush at the
time, also pledged to respond in kind to warhead reductions in a range
of 1,500 to 2,200.
Baluyevskiy also said "we are for irreversibility of the reduction of
the nuclear forces. The warheads dismounted from the carriers should
be destroyed and eliminated."
The United States, on the other hand, said in its newly released
Nuclear Posture Review that the nuclear warheads removed from the
strategically deployed U.S. arsenal would be placed in storage and
could be retrieved and reactivated on short notice.
And Baluyevskiy said Russia considers the United States withdrawal
from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty a mistake. The Russian
Duma passed a resolution January 16 condemning the United States for
withdrawing from the treaty, saying the pullout was destabilizing
"since it effectively ruins the existing highly efficient system of
ensuring strategic stability and paves ground for a new round of the
arms race."
However, Feith said the process of improved relations between Russia
and the United States has been greatly accelerated by the September
11th terrorist attacks.
"We are not hostile. What we are looking to do with the Russians is
develop a view of security that allows us to work together to deal
with threats that face both of us and not be thinking of each other as
the enemy," Feith said. "The world has changed, and the old way of
thinking about strategic stability is just not applicable anymore."
J.D. Crouch, assistant secretary of defense for international security
policy, said that as part of this greater cooperation there will be
"regularized data exchanges" on technology. What it will not become,
though, is "verifying limits of an arms control treaty," he said.
Feith said the goal of these negotiations and working groups "is that
we can create a normal relationship with Russia, the kind of
relationship that we have with countries all around the world, where
they have conventional and in some cases nuclear capabilities, but we
have the kind of quality of relationship with them that we don't think
that our security requires us to balance our forces against theirs."
"That's why, when we talk about measures of predictability or
cooperation or transparency with the Russians, we're doing it based on
this new concept, not based on the old balance-of-nuclear-terror ideas
from the Cold War," he said.
Copies of transcripts of the joint media availability between Feith
and Baluyevskiy, and Feith's separate Pentagon briefing, can be
obtained on the Internet at
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2002/t01162002_t0116fba.html and
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2002/t01162002_t0116fcb.html.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)
      



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