News

Voice of America MARCH 29, 1997

AFTER THE SUMMIT: THE U.S. AND RUSSIA

CONTENT=

THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE

ANNCR: ON THE LINE -- A DISCUSSION OF UNITED STATES POLICIES AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES. THIS WEEK, "AFTER THE SUMMIT: THE U.S. AND RUSSIA." HERE IS YOUR HOST, ROBERT REILLY.

HOST: HELLO AND WELCOME TO ON THE LINE.

JOINING ME TODAY TO DISCUSS THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE HELSINKI SUMMIT IS JOHN HERBST, DEPUTY COORDINATOR OF THE NEW INDEPENDENT STATES AT THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT. WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM. .....

HOST: NOW, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF TREATIES STILL EXTANT THAT WERE NEGOTIATED DURING THE COLD WAR AND SOME OF THOSE TREATIES WERE DISCUSSED IN HELSINKI, INCLUDING THE ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY AND THE SALT TWO TREATY. ARMS CONTROL WAS A BIG FACTOR IN HELSINKI. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT?

HERBST: THE WHOLE AREA OF ARMS CONTROL HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW OVER THE PAST DECADES. THAT REMAINS TRUE. THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA CONCLUDED EARLY IN THE NINETIES -- ACTUALLY, NOT THAT EARLY -- A START TWO TREATY. THE UNITED STATES RATIFIED THIS TREATY LAST YEAR. WE WOULD LIKE THE RUSSIANS TO RATIFY IT AS WELL. THIS TREATY WOULD LOWER THE NUMBER OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS FOR EACH SIDE FROM OVER SIX THOUSAND TO SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THREE THOUSAND AND THIRTY-FIVE HUNDRED. THAT WOULD LEAD TO STRATEGIC STABILITY AT A LOWER LEVEL OF ARMAMENTS, THEREFORE A MORE STABLE AND SAFER WORLD. ONE REASON WHY THE RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO PROCEED WITH RATIFICATION OF START TWO IS THAT THEY THINK IT WOULD BE EXPENSIVE.

IN FACT, IT WOULD BE. THE RUSSIANS WOULD LIKE TO MAINTAIN STRATEGIC PARITY WITH US. START TWO, BESIDES LOWERING THE NUMBER OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS, ALSO BANS A PARTICULAR KIND OF MISSILE -- THE MULTIPLE-ENTRY RETARGETED VEHICLES.

THESE ARE MISSILES WHICH WOULD SEND SEVERAL WARHEADS AT INDEPENDENTLY-TARGETED SITES WITH ONE MISSILE.

HOST: SO, TO MAINTAIN PARITY, RUSSIA WOULD HAVE TO ELIMINATE THAT CLASS OF MISSILE AND BUILD ANOTHER ONE.

HERBST: AND THEN BUILD UP THE NUMBER OF SINGLE-WARHEAD MISSILES. THEREFORE, TO FURTHER ENCOURAGE THE RUSSIANS TO RATIFY START TWO, BUT ALSO TO MOVE U.S. - RUSSIAN STRATEGIC RELATIONS IN THE DIRECTION WE WANT IT TO GO, WE SAID THAT WE WILL BE WILLING TO START NEGOTIATIONS WITH THEM ON START THREE REDUCTIONS ONCE THEY HAVE RATIFIED START TWO. WE ALSO GAVE THEM AN IDEA OF WHAT WE HAVE IN MIND FOR START THREE NEGOTIATIONS.

THESE WOULD LOWER THE NUMBER OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS FROM THE RANGE OF THREE THOUSAND, THIRTY-FIVE HUNDRED, TO TWO THOUSAND, TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED.

THIS MEANS THAT IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN STRATEGIC PARITY WITH THE UNITED STATES, RUSSIA WOULD ONLY NEED TO BUILDUP WITH ONE THOUSAND FEWER MISSILES WITH WARHEADS. THIS WOULD MAKE IT MUSH LESS EXPENSIVE FOR THEM TO COMPLY WITH THE START RESTRICTIONS.

HOST: BUT ISN'T THERE, MR. HERBST, ANOTHER ELEMENT IN THE OPPOSITION OF THE DUMA TO THE RATIFICATION OF THE SALT TWO TREATY, AND THAT OPPOSITION IS BASICALLY IN RETALIATION TO PRESIDENT YELTSIN'S FAILURE TO MORE STRONGLY OPPOSE THE EXPANSION OF NATO? AND THESE DEPUTIES IN THE DUMA ARE SAYING, "SO LONG AS NATO IS EXPANDING, WE'RE NOT GOING TO RATIFY SALT TWO?"

HERBST: THERE ARE INDIVIDUAL RUSSIANS, INCLUDING IN THE DUMA, WHO HAVE STATED THAT, AS A RESPONSE TO NATO ENLARGEMENT, RUSSIA SHOULD NOT RATIFY, COMPLY WITH START TWO LIMITATIONS. BUT, THERE ARE ALSO OTHER RUSSIANS WHO ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE COUNTRY WHO THINK OTHERWISE. THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE HAS CALLED FOR START TWO RATIFICATION. THE HEAD OF THE RUSSIAN STRATEGIC ROCKET FORCES, WHICH HAS CONTROL OF THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPONS, HAS STATED THAT START TWO RATIFICATION, IMPLEMENTATION IS IN RUSSIA'S INTEREST REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS WITH NATO.

HOST: AND PRESIDENT YELTSIN INDICATED AT THE SUMMIT THAT HE THOUGH HE COULD GET THE DUMA TO RATIFY THE TREATY.

HERBST: WELL, ONE OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE SUMMIT WAS PRESIDENT YELTSIN SAYING THAT HE WANTS TO SUBMIT THIS TO THE DUMA FOR RATIFICATION, THAT HE BELIEVES THEY WILL ACT PROMPTLY, AND HE BELIEVES THEY WILL ACT ON HIS ADVICE WHICH, OF COURSE, IS TO RATIFY START TWO.

HOST: ALL RIGHT. DID ANY OF THE DISCUSSION ON THE ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY OR ON MISSILE DEFENSES HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THIS FIELD OF SALT TREATIES?

HERBST: THIS WAS ANOTHER IMPORTANT ASPECT OF OUR CONVERSATIONS IN THE ARMS CONTROL AREA. WE REACHED AGREEMENT IN A JOINT STATEMENT ON THE DEMARCATION BETWEEN MISSILE SYSTEMS DESIGNED TO THWART INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES AND THOSE DESIGNED TO THWART THEATER BALLISTIC MISSILES. THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES STRONGLY THAT THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE -- T-M-D -- IS IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST. WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR TROOPS IN REGIONS WHERE MISSILE THREATS MIGHT COME FROM A COUNTRY LIKE IRAQ, AS WE SAW DURING THE GULF WAR. THE AGREEMENT, THE UNDERSTANDING EVIDENT IN THE JOINT STATEMENT IN HELSINKI, SAYS THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO PROCEED WITH OUR THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS AND THAT THESE THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS ARE COMPLIANT WITH THE ABM TREATY. WE BELIEVE STRONGLY IN THE ABM TREATY. SO, IN OUR VIEW, THE STATEMENT WE WORKED OUT IN HELSINKI, ONE, REAFFIRMS OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ABM TREATY, YET ENABLES US TO PROCEED WITH THE T-M-D WORK THAT IS IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST.

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27-Mar-97 3:34 PM EST (2034 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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