Remarks to the Joint Consultative GroupStephen G. Rademaker, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control
November 9, 2004
Mr. Chairman, It is always a great pleasure for me to return to Vienna and it is a special privilege to be able to address the Joint Consultative Group today. The work you do is essential to the effective implementation of the CFE Treaty and I want to express the thanks of the United States Government for the time and effort all of you put into your important work.
In my conversations here over the past day it has come to my attention that some are questioning the continued commitment of my government to entry into force of the adapted treaty. Indeed, there appears to be an allegation that during a recent visit to Moscow I told my Russian counterparts that the United States is no longer interested in the adapted treaty. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mr. Chairman, the United States stands firmly by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and looks forward to the entry into force of the adapted CFE Treaty. This has been our position since the Agreement on Adaptation was signed at Istanbul in 1999 and it is our position today. We and our NATO Allies reiterated NATO's "commitment to the CFE Treaty as a Cornerstone of European security," most recently at the Istanbul NATO Summit last June. There can be no question that the United States and the NATO Alliance support both the current and adapted CFE Treaties.
At the same time, the United States and NATO have made clear consistently since the Agreement on Adaptation was signed in the context of the 1999 CFE Final Act that fulfillment of the Istanbul Commitments on Georgia and Moldova is a prerequisite for NATO states to move forward on ratification of the adapted Treaty. Thus, in Moldova, the resumption and completion of the withdrawal of ammunition would be a key step toward fulfillment of Russia's commitment to withdraw its forces from Moldova. And with regard to Georgia, we urge the two sides to resume their meetings aimed at resolving remaining issues relating to the duration of the Russian presence at Batumi and Akhatkalaki and on the status of Russian forces at Gudauta.
The United States’ offer of financial support to efforts to achieve fulfillment of these remaining Istanbul commitments still stands and represents a tangible sign of our commitment to move forward with the ratification and entry into force of the adapted Treaty. We also stand prepared to work with our friends on other measures that can have the effect of facilitating implementation of the Istanbul Commitments.
Mr. Chairman, we are watching with interest in Washington the discussions the JCG is having on the armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) known as the BRM-1K. As you know, this equipment item was declared as an AIFV at signature of the CFE Treaty in 1990, as a conscious and specific result of the negotiations, and has been treated as such since that time. The BRM-1K is limited by the Treaty, and is listed in the Protocol on Existing Types, which is itself an integral part of the Treaty as stated in Article I. We were concerned when the Russian Federation unilaterally announced on 29 June 2004 that it would no longer account for BRM-lKs as AIFVs in its equipment data, but only as AIFV look-alikes. This action is a fundamental departure from agreed counting rules and would cause the accounting of Russia's holdings of Treaty-limited equipment to be inaccurate. Moreover, it undermines one of the basic and essential concepts of the CFE Treaty--that is, a specific set of limitations on holdings of stipulated types of offensive military equipment subject to rigorous verification. I urge the Russian Federation to look closely at this issue again and use the JCG's discussion to reaffirm that Russia intends to count this piece of equipment as it should be counted.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you and your distinguished colleagues for your attention and wish you success in your important tasks. The United States looks forward to the day, hopefully not too far off, when our countries will begin implementing the adapted CFE Treaty.
Released on November 13, 2004