Experts

  • Affiliation : Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the CNS; Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the CISAC; Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution
  • Position : Consultant
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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Results of the international seminar on non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe

20.03.2013

MOSCOW, MARCH 20, 2013. PIR PRESS. “The start of any negotiations on further reductions in Russian and American non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) is unlikely until before 2018, when the New START treaty will be fully implemented. It is also hard to believe that within the next decade the U.S. will completely withdraw its NSNW from Europe and Russia, in return, unilaterally provide its Western partners with concrete data on its NSNW arsenal,” – Alexander Kolbin, PIR Center Program Coordinator for “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation.”

On February 7-8, 2013, Warsaw was host to the international seminar “Prospects for Information-sharing and Confidence-building on non-Strategic Weapons in Europe.” The seminar was hosted by the Polish Institute of International Affairs, the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the U.S. Department of State.

More than 80 experts on conventional and nuclear arms control participated in the event, including representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions from Russia and NATO member states, as well as official representatives from European countries, the United States, and NATO. Undersecretary of State for Poland Bogusław Winid, Norway Secretary of State Torgeir Larsen, and Acting U.S. Under Secretary of State Rose E. Gottemoeller, who is also a member of the PIR Center’s Advisory Board, gave opening addresses.

nato2.jpgThe purpose of the seminar was to facilitate an informal dialogue among experts on possible confidence-building measures and transparency regarding NSNW deployed in Europe, including categorization of NSNW and verification issues for future reductions. The final document with the results of the discussions will be distributed among government and nongovernmental experts in Russia, the United States, and NATO member states.

The Program Coordinator of PIR Center’s “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” project Alexander Kolbin presented his paper (available here), in which he examines the primary factors that are hindering the start of negotiations on further NSNW reductions, concluding that, “Considering the decision that was adopted at the NATO Summit in Chicago to preserve the status-quo vis-à-vis the alliance’s nuclear weapons, and considering Russia’s current position on resolving NSNW issues, the start of any negotiations on further reductions in Russian and American non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) is unlikely until before 2018, when the New START treaty will be fully implemented. It is also hard to believe that within the next decade the United States will completely withdraw its NSNW from Europe and Russia, in return, unilaterally provide its Western partners with concrete data on its NSNW arsenal.”

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Nevertheless, Kolbin believes that the states could take the following possible steps as first steps to build confidence and transparency regarding NSNW arsenals inEurope:

First, the U.S./NATO part could once again confirm: the effect of the “three no’s” 1996 statement implying that “NATO has no intention, no plan and no need to station nuclear weapons on the territory of any new members”, as well as to confirm its principal readiness to withdraw the U.S. NSNW from Europe in the near future;

Second, both sides (U.S./NATO and Russia) could officially confirm the absence of any military role assigned to their NSNW arsenals deployed inEurope;

Third, the United States and Russia could bilaterally share with each other data on their NSNW arsenals including NSNWs deployment status, places of deployments and numbers;

Fourth, instead of pursuing strictly official negotiations on NSNWs reductions, currently it could be more productive to establish a joint NATO-Russia informal Track 1.5 dialogue within the frameworks of the Russia-NATO Council for the purpose of elaborating a mandate for future talks on NSNW reductions. It could be also useful to examine the process of elaborating the CFE Treaty mandate that took place in the late 1980s, since the CFE treaty was negotiated against similar background of mistrust between the Warsaw Pact member states and NATO and since one of the main CFE Treaty's achievements was the formalization of transparency problem.

Materials from the roundtable discussion “The Future of Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe: Possibilities” (article in Russian) were published in the journal Security Index № 3-4 (102-103), Fall-Winter 2012. On February 28, 2012, with support from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PIR Center hosted the seminar “The Future of Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe: Problems and Solutions.”

For more information regarding arms control and nonproliferation projects at the PIR Center, please contact the PIR Center “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” Program Coordinator Alexander Kolbin by phone +7 (495) 987-19-15, cell: +7 (985) 895-60-08, fax: +7 (495) 987-19-14, or email: kolbin at pircenter.org

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