Statement by Ambassador Leonid A. Skotnikov Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Conference on Disarmament at the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament Geneva, 22 January, 2002


Mr. President,

At the turn of the century vital necessity to construct a new world order based on equal security, common responsibility and cooperation of all States becomes increasingly clear. This is the only way to respond, through combined effort of all members of all the international community, to global challenges, threats and risks facing the world, which is getting ever more interdependent but, unfortunately, remains vulnerable. Much is yet to be done to achieve this and in particular to leave behind in practice the heritage of the nuclear face-off and global confrontation which lasted for many decades.

The year 2001 was a testing time for the process of multilateral disarmament and for non-proliferation regimes. In spite of intensive efforts made a correlation of losses, failures and modest successes is not comforting. This is largely because of the fact that a unilateral approach was pursued at the expense of a multilateral one and doubt was cast on the efficiency of multilateral efforts in the area where fundamental national security interests are brought together and may be reconciled. This is illustrated by a situation with such a document as the ABM Treaty, which, for decades, had contributed to containing arms race. The clouds were gathering over the CTBT. We saw signs of departure from certain decisions of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The principle of irreversibility of nuclear disarmament was eroding. The work of many years on the Protocol to the BWC was torpedoed. The success of the CCW Review Conference late last year could not be considered as seriously improving the overall gloomy picture of the of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation process.

The shock of 11 September 2001 helped to realize what a horrible threat international terrorism the mankind had to face. Long before those tragic events the Russian Federation has warned against the deadly menace emanating from the "Terrorist International" and was speaking out in favour of creating common antiterrorist front. Hence, our immediate and full support for the antiterrorist coalition. Its establishment has only proved the lack of an alternative to multilateralism and to the central role of the UN in resolving security issues in the twenty first century.

The essence, the core of a multilateral approach to international security, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament is that one's own security cannot be ensured at the expense of that of others'. This is a guiding idea that runs through Russia's position which includes our approach to the work of the Conference on Disarmament. It is on these premises that we have proceeded and we will continue to proceed in our work in the Conference. We hope that in 2002 this unique negotiating forum will be equal to the challenges it is facing.

Mr. President,

Last year, Russia continued to prove, in practical ways, its resolve to follow the path of further reductions in missile and nuclear forces - building upon time-tested bilateral and multilateral agreements. Let me cite just a few examples. The period of reductions in strategic nuclear arms, as provided for by the Treaty on the Reductions and Limitations of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I), ended in December. The Russian side reduced the number of deployed strategic carriers (ICBM, SLBM and heavy bombers) down to 1136 units and the number of weapons attributed to them - down to 5518 units, i.e. to the levels much lower than those envisaged by the Treaty. In May, 13-year-long inspection activities were completed in the framework of the implementation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF). As a result, two classes of missile and nuclear weapons with 500 to 1000 and 1000 to 5500 kilometers range respectively were completely excluded from our country's arsenals. In late October 2001, in accordance with the decision taken by the Presidents of Russia, the USA and the Ukraine on January 14, 1994, the last nuclear weapon removed from the Ukraine's territory was destroyed.

In so doing, we continue to insist that the process of nuclear disarmament should be accelerated and strategic stability enhanced.

We have repeatedly stated our position on further reductions in strategic offensive arms: they should be, in the first place, drastic; secondly, verifiable; thirdly, irreversible, i.e. strategic offensive arms should be reduced not only "on paper". We implemented the START I Treaty; we ratified the START II Treaty. Moreover, we transmitted a draft START III treaty to the USA. It is through no Russia's fault that the START II Treaty has not entered into force.

Mr. President,

Now let me address the US decision to withdraw unilaterally from the ABM Treaty. The relevant assessment of the step as being erroneous has been given by the President of the Russian Federation.

We have always stressed that the issues of strategic stability and of the ABM Treaty are far from being confined to Russian-US relationship. All these issues are of global dimensions. They are making a direct impact on international stability and security. This fact was also confirmed through the adoption in the UN General Assembly by the overwhelming majority of the resolution in defence of the ABM Treaty. I should like to express my gratitude to all those delegations that have supported the resolution for the last three years.

In our point of view, the US decision to withdraw from the Treaty has not been determined by the search of a response to actual missile threats. This decision is reflecting a certain approach, a unilateral one, which runs contrary to security interests of other countries and international security in general. We would like to hope that after the withdraw from the ABM Treaty the USA will not treat in a similar way other arms control and disarmament agreements. We wish to count upon the continuity in respect of the positive record which has been achieved in the area of international security during several last decades. This should be preserved and multiplied as a basis upon which a constructive and productive dialogue can be pursued.

We are convinced that the issue of missile proliferation can and should be resolved without ruining the existing architecture of strategic stability. As an alternative to the attempts of the military solution to the issue, which could aggravate it, we offer a different approach, i.e. political and diplomatic measures plus Russia's initiatives on a Global Control System. We are prepared for broadest possible consultations on the entire range of the issues of missile non-proliferation on non-discriminatory basis with all the countries concerned.

We believe that negotiations on a sweeping reduction in strategic offensive arms should be pursued. The President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin announced, as far back as in November 2000, the levels of nuclear units that we are prepared to accept, i.e. 1500 and less. It is very important that the US Administration also outlined its position during President V.V. Putin's visit to the USA, namely 1700 to 2200 units.

We are interested in achieving legally binding agreements in this respect. We regard issues of offensive and defensive systems as interrelated. This interrelation was confirmed by the President of Russia and the President of the United States at the meeting in Ljubljana. As for the Russian side, we will do our best to achieve consent on the issue. This could result in a so necessary breakthrough in the area of nuclear disarmament.

While working hard on bilateral track, we are also seeking to enhance and diversify multilateral effort. In this context, I wish to recall our proposal to the Permanent Members of the Security Council to the effect that a standing consultative process be established in the area of nuclear disarmament and strategic stability. In our view it is also feasible to use with the utmost efficiency opportunities of the meetings in the framework of the NPT review process. In particular, we are preparing for a serious work at the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

Mr. President,

In connection with the US decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, we are gravely concerned over what is, perhaps, the most negative aspect of all the possible implications of such a step, namely the extension of an arms race to outer space.

The issue of preventing the emergence of such a scenario has been and remains to be among our main priorities. This issue is also a matter of concern to the entire international community. The Secretary General of the United Nations gave an inclusive expression to this concern in his message to the Conference that was held in Moscow in April 2001 under the motto "Weapon-Free Outer Space - an Arena for Peaceful Cooperation in the Twenty First Century". Mr. K. Annan said, inter alia, and I quote, "We must guard against the misuse of outer space, and, in particular, against the creation of an arms race in outer space. The international community recognized early on that a legal regime for outer space was needed to prevent it from becoming another arena of military confrontation" (unquote).

The desire of the international community to take effective steps in order to prevent the deployment of weapons into outer space was confirmed in the resolution A/RES/56/23 "Prevention of an arms race in outer space" (PAROS), which was adopted during the fifty sixth session of the UN General Assembly. It was supported by 156 States with none voting against.

In this connection, we should like to draw the attention of the CD participants to the proposals made by Russia's Foreign Minister I.S. Ivanov during the session of the General Assembly concerning possible elements which may serve as the foundation for a comprehensive agreement on the non-deployment of weapons in outer space. An important part of the Russia's initiative is the proposal that a moratorium should be established on placing warfare assets in outer space pending the achievement of a relevant agreement by the international community. Russia would be willing to make such a commitment immediately, provided that the other leading space powers join the moratorium.

The Russian delegation supports the start of intensive negotiations on PAROS in the CD. In doing so, we consider that a thorough and systematic work had already been done here on this issue during nearly ten years (1985 to 1994) in the framework of the appropriate Ad Hoc Committee. Many useful initiatives and proposals were advanced, which, to our mind, must be taken into account in the future as well. New ideas have emerged lately. Thus, we support the specific proposals by the delegation of China, as exposed in the CD working paper entitled "Possible elements of the future international legal instrument on the prevention of the weaponization of outer space". We are sympathetic to the Canadian groundwork concerning the non-stationing of weapons in outer space, the French ideas regarding a notification regime on launching outer space objects and ballistic missiles as well as other proposals by the CD participants.

Mr. President,

We reaffirm our commitment to common efforts aimed at finding a compromise on the programme of work of the Conference. Last year, the Russian delegation put forward a package proposal to the effect, which provides for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to deal with the issues of nuclear disarmament with the simultaneous establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS with a negotiating mandate. Our package seems to meet the aspirations of the majority of the CD participants. We express our gratitude to all those delegations which gave a constructive response to Russia's initiative. We stand ready to further a dialogue aimed at improving our proposals. We are convinced that if we, together, take sufficient efforts, we will be able to launch, at last, substantive work of the CD.

We are in favour of starting work on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT). In this connection, we support the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee with a negotiating mandate - without linkages to other issues.

As the Conference progress in the discussions on the programme on work, we will elaborate, in more detail, on other items on the CD agenda.

Thank you.