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U.S. Department of State

September 26, 1997


Representatives of the United States, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine signed two sets of significant strategic arms control agreements today in New York. With this action we have advanced commitments made at the Clinton-Yeltsin Summit in Helsinki last March aimed at further reducing the nuclear danger and strengthening strategic stability and nuclear security. The first set of agreements, signed by the United States and the Russian Federation, will enhance strategic stability by boosting the prospects for Russian ratification of START II and prompt commencement of START III negotiations on further reductions after START II enters into force. The second set of agreements, signed by the United States, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, preserve the viability of the ABM Treaty as a foundation for further strategic arms reductions.

As agreed at Helsinki, to facilitate Russia's ratification of the START II Treaty, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov today signed a Protocol to the Treaty extending the time period for implementation of START II until December 31, 2007, when all Treaty-mandated reductions are to be completed. This Protocol is intended to ease Russia's concerns over the cost of dismantling nuclear weapons systems.

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also signed and exchanged letters legally codifying the Helsinki Summit commitment to deactivate by December 31, 2003, the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear delivery vehicles that will be eliminated under START II, thereby ensuring that the U.S. and Russia realize START II's security benefits as soon as possible.

The Joint Agreed Statement issued today records the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation that henceforth Minuteman III ICBM downloading under START II can be carried out at any time before December 31, 2007. This ensures that deMIRVing under START II will take place in a stable and equivalent manner.

The second set of agreements signed today in New York relate to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and theater ballistic missile defenses (TMD). These agreements will ensure the viability of the ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of strategic stability for over twenty-five years, by clarifying the line between strategic and theater ballistic missile defenses and by settling the ABM Treaty succession issue following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Specifically, Secretary Albright and Foreign Ministers Primakov, Antonovich, Tokayev, and Udovenko, of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, respectively, signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing for succession to the ABM Treaty by those four states of the former Soviet Union.

In addition, Dr. Stanley Riveles, the U.S. Commissioner to the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC); Gen. Viktor Koltunov (ret.), the Russian SCC Commissioner; Ambassador Stanislau Agurtsou of Belarus; Dr. Kaiyrtay Zhanbatyrov, Kazakhstan Deputy SCC Commissioner; and Ukrainian representative Mr. Olexiy Rybak signed: two Agreed Statements relating to the ABM Treaty, dealing with lower- and higher-velocity TMD systems, respectively; an associated Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures; and new SCC regulations that will govern multilateral operation of the Commission. They also initialed a Joint Statement that provides for an annual exchange of information on the status of TMD plans and programs. Together, these documents clarify the demarcation between anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems, which are limited by the Treaty, and TMD systems, which are not limited by the Treaty.

The START II Protocol, together with the Joint Agreed Statement, the letters on early deactivation, and four ABM agreements are subject to ratification or approval by the signatory states in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each state.

With today's signing of the START II Protocol, the letters on early deactivation, and the agreements on ABM succession and demarcation, we expect that the path will now be clear for the Russian legislative approval of the START II Treaty. This will allow us all to benefit from the stabilizing reductions envisioned in START II, and open the door to negotiating further reductions through a START III agreement, as embodied in the Clinton-Yeltsin Helsinki commitment. The United States shares the hope and expectation of the Russian Federation that the Russian legislature will approve ratification of START II so that a START III agreement can then be completed expeditiously.