Working Group of the International Luxembourg Forum
Working Group of the International Luxembourg ForumDiscussed New START Prospects and Difficulties of the Disarmament Process
MOSCOW, April 22, 2009
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expires this year. At a meeting in Moscow, the working group of the International Luxembourg Forumdiscussed prospects for the new START and potential pitfalls. The meeting, entitled “Strategic Arms Control and Prospects of the PrepCom for 2010 NPT Review Conference” was attended by experts from Russia, the U.S., Italy and Sweden.
Luxembourg Forum experts believe that execution of a new START between Russia and the U.S. will be the first step to further reduction of the both nations’ nuclear capability and will encourage global disarmament. The meeting welcomed efforts made in April by Russia and the U.S. to develop the new START, expressing hope that by late 2009 the document will be successfully elaborated and contribute to further disarmament.
“With this treaty in place in a timely fashion, the two powers will have three to four years to elaborate a more stringent treaty (on strategic arms reduction) for a longer period and without haste,” Forum President Viatcheslav Kantor said at the Luxembourg Forum’s meeting. Dr. Kantor further believes that “U.S.-Russian dialogue on strategic arms is the framework for the two great powers’ relations and a stabilizer for international politics in general; without them, endless conflicts and differences may cause events to spiral out of control.”
Dr. Kantor cautions against excessive optimism today, since eventual success can only be achieved through enduring hard work. “Russia and the U.S. must do more than simply stop perceiving each other as enemies in order to dramatically change strategic relations covering mutual nuclear deterrence based on the potential for hitting each other with a nuclear strike. The nuclear powers must become full-scale military and political allies, and it will be a long road from feud to alliance. And before we can even travel that road, partnership will require hard and consistent negotiations and agreements on disarmament to make interaction prevail over confrontation in military matters,” stated the head of the Luxembourg Forum.
The Forum’s experts believe that the issue of nuclear disarmament is also an integral part of the program put forward by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to create a new European and international security architecture.
“The process of a gradual saturation of a general concept of European, Euro-Atlantic security architecture with specific tasks is underway. Nuclear disarmament is an integral part of this, primarily because nuclear disarmament and the U.S.-Russian negotiations may eventually result in compromises in missile defense,” pointed out Vladimir Dvorkin, principal researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Hans Blix, a member of the Luxembourg Forum’s Supervisory Board and former Director General of the IAEA, also expressed hope for quick progress in global nuclear disarmament: “After a decade of silence in the area of nuclear disarmament and weapons of mass destruction control, a step forward was made. The recent material change in U.S. politics on many issues of international security was received positively by international experts.”
The International Luxembourg Forum is a non-governmental organization established two years ago to counteract the nuclear threat. Its agenda provides for both considering further areas of the Forum’s activity and discussing disarmament issues and prospects for their settlement. The Forum unites many leading Russian and global experts on non-proliferation. The Forum is known for attracting the efforts of leading international experts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and for the politically unbiased positions of its members.