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
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
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
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
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. …