Clinton, Yeltsin Discuss Arms Control at UN and in Washingto

Arms Control Today, November 1994 | Go to article overview

Clinton, Yeltsin Discuss Arms Control at UN and in Washingto


RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Boris Yeltsin followed his September 26 speech to the UN General Assembly with a two-day state visit to Washington. Arms control and proliferation issues hovered in the background during both events, but the principal rationale of the Washington visit was to showcase U.S.-Russian cooperation and generate support for the emerging "partnership."

In his UN speech, Yeltsin proposed "signing a [comprehensive test ban (CTB)] treaty next year [at] the 50th anniversary of the United Nations." To bolster efforts to extend indefinitely the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he also called for more "precise" security guarantees to be given to non-nuclear-weapon states and for the UN Security Council to adopt a renewed resolution on "positive security guarantees." The Russian president proposed a treaty among the "nuclear five" to ban production of military fissile material and its recycling for weapons. He also suggested giving "thought to further steps" to limit U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, and proposed "a treaty on nuclear security and strategic stability" among the nuclear-weapon states leading to further reductions of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.

In his UN speech, President Bill Clinton's references to arms control and international security were much more general -- with one exception: he proposed a ban on the export of anti-personnel landmines (see p. 30). Clinton endorsed ongoing efforts to achieve a CTB, to extend the NPT, to halt production of fissile materials, "to make dismantling of nuclear warheads transparent and irreversible, and to further reduce our nuclear weapons."

The Joint Statement on Strategic Stability and Nuclear Security, issued at the end of the Russian leader's Washington visit, noted that Yeltsin had "outlined" and the two leaders had "discussed" his UN initiatives. Together, they endorsed an indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT, the conclusion of a CTB "at the earliest possible date," a continuation of the testing moratorium and a global prohibition on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. The leaders also pledged early ratification of START II, once the START I agreement comes into force, and announced plans "to exchange START II instruments of ratification at the next U.S.-Russian summit meeting" (reportedly under consideration for late spring).

This scenario, however, depends upon Ukrainian accession to the NPT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has asked his parliament (Rada) to act on the NPT and U.S. officials have been guardedly optimistic Ukraine will vote unconditionally to join the treaty before Kuchma's visit to Washington in late November.

Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to a confidential exchange of information every three months on the unilateral "deactivation and elimination" of strategic systems already taking place in anticipation of START I's entry into force. The information will cover aggregate weapons stockpiles, weapons retirements and dismantlement schedules and rates.

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Clinton, Yeltsin Discuss Arms Control at UN and in Washingto
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