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START - Treaty of Confidence Russia and United States Reached Compromise

START - Treaty of Confidence Russia and United States Reached Compromise

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Published by: Chuck Thornton on Dec 15, 2009
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"Treaty of Confidence: New START may be signed 18-19 December in a European Capital.

Russia and United States Reached Compromise: Monitoring Measures Will Be Weakened in the New Treaty" Moscow Vedomosti 11 Dec 09 by Aleksey Nikolskiy, Vera Kholmogorova, Natalya Kostenko, and Natalya Portyakova

The US administration announced on 4 December that President Barack Obama will visit Copenhagen, where the climate conference is under way, on 18 December, but not in the current week as planned. Yesterday the Kremlin Press Service announced that President Dmitriy Medvedev will visit Copenhagen 17-18 December. The purpose of the trip is to take part in the conference, a Kremlin spokesman says. He has no information as to whether or not there will be a meeting with Obama. According to a source close to the RF MID [Foreign Ministry], the signing of the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (SNV) can occur during this trip to Europe by Medvedev, tentatively during 18-19 December and not in Copenhagen, but in another European capital. It was ascertained by a Russian expert familiar with the progress of talks and by one of the State Duma leaders that the main disagreements on monitoring measures in the new treaty have been overcome on the whole. According to them, the key issue of the disputes concerned openness of telemetry. The United States has not held tests since the 2000's, but continues to keep an eye on the launches of Russian Topol-M, Bulava, and other missiles, taking advantage of the fact that the missile transmits data on the flight openly and not in encoded form in accordance with START I requirements. Eventually the parties arrived at a compromise: telemetry will be open in a limited number of cases. According to Vedomosti sources, discussion continues regarding missile defense: Russia favors a total ban on reorganizing missile defense systems as strategic systems capable of nullifying a rival's nuclear potential, and even spelling this out in the treaty preamble. The treaty possibly will contain a provision authorizing withdrawal from it in case PRO [BMD] systems are developed to a level threatening Russia's nuclear potential; in addition, Russia insists that the treaty not interfere with development of ground-launched multiplewarhead missiles by which this potential could be built up rapidly in case of threat.

A third issue is close to resolution. Russia does not like unilateral US monitoring of mobile Topol missiles. Most likely [the United States] will give up this monitoring [at Votkinsk] altogether, and in exchange Russia will not demand the monitoring of submarines, which are the foundation of US potential. According to Yevgeniy Myasnikov, an expert of the Center for Study of Problems of Disarmament, inasmuch as the United States did not have mobile complexes similar to Topol, the START I monitoring measures were asymmetric, and the same thing happened with telemetry as well. Concerning readiness of the treaty, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented to Vedomosti that the principle of "nothing has been agreed until everything has been agreed" acts in such matters. But a source in the Foreign Ministry close to the negotiating process confirmed indirectly that the new treaty devotes less space to rigorous monitoring in favor of relations of confidence: "From the very beginning of work on the new treaty both sides set the task of making the future regime of monitoring and verification less costly and more responsive to the current stage of bilateral relations, characterized by considerably deepened trust: under such conditions, retention of the previous regime would not be justified either from a political or a military standpoint."

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