U.S., Russia Put Missiles off Alert Countries Agree Not to Presume They're Enemies

Article excerpt

The United States and Russia took the world off nuclear alert at a breakthrough summit meeting Friday.

In their effort to make the future safer, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a declaration promising by May 30 to stop aiming their long-range nuclear missiles at each other's country or at other countries.

"For the first time in nearly half a century - virtually since the dawn of the Nuclear Age - the United States and Russia will not operate nuclear forces, day-to-day, in a manner that presumes they are adversaries," their declaration said.

At the signing of a parallel agreement, Ukrainian President Leonid M. Kravchuk promised Clinton and Yeltsin that Ukraine would dismantle and ship to Russia "in the shortest possible time" all 1,800 long-range nuclear warheads the Soviet Union left behind after its disintegration.

In a televised "town hall" meeting after signing the two major weapons accords, Clinton urged the Russian people to "choose the future" as they stand at a crossroad of history.

Under the first agreement, most of the long-range missiles will be taken off-target. A few of the older ones will be aimed at ocean expanses.

Experts say there is no way for one side to know whether the other is cheating. And the missiles can be retargeted within minutes. But the growing trust between the two sides, Uon trigger-alert and glowering at each other for more than four decades, obscured such reservations.

Clinton and Yeltsin capped their two-day summit meeting Friday with a series of agreements intended to build what Clinton calls "an equal partnership" between the United States and Russia. They also:

Affirmed Clinton's "Partnership for Peace" plan as the best way for NATO to expand its role into gradually providing security for all of Europe, including full support and participation by Russia.

Issued a human rights statement, vowing to combat all forms of intolerance, including both anti-Semitism and discrimination against Russians by former Soviet captive states in the Baltics such as Lithuania and Latvia.

Signed a contract committing the United States to buy $12 billion in highly enriched uranium from Russia over the next 20 years.

Agreed that Russia must press full speed ahead with its economic revisions while trying to cushion their social impact by providing more job retraining and other services to people hurt in the transition from communism to a market-based economy.

Launched a $100 million Fund for Large Enterprises to promote private-sector development in Russia.

Agreed to meet in July at the G-7 summit meeting of the most developed nations, in Italy, and for Yeltsin to make a state visit to the United States next autumn.

Ukraine To Dismantle Missiles

As part of the Ukrainian accord, a White House statement said, 46 SS-24s, the deadliest missiles in the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, will be deactivated within 10 months by having their warheads removed. At least 200 warheads from SS-24s and older SS-19 missiles will be shipped to Russia during this period.

Russia, in return, will provide Ukraine with fuel assemblies for its nuclear power industry - the country is sagging under energy shortages - along with 100 tons of enriched uranium. And the United States will advance $60 million as a down payment on the $1 billion Ukraine is expected to earn over 20 years from the sale of the uranium in all its warheads. …

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.