Statement by Viatcheslav Kantor, President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, regarding the upcoming Russia-U.S. Summit

In connection with the upcoming meeting between the Russian and U.S. Presidents, I would like to stress the following: both countries must make concerted efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The priority step with regard to nuclear disarmament must be the conclusion of a legally binding treaty between the United States and Russia on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons to replace START-1, which expires in December, 2009. This is extremely important for the NPT Review Conference in May 2010 to be a success.

In that same connection, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty must take into account in a mutually acceptable form the link between the limitation of offensive strategic systems on the one hand and of defensive strategic systems on the other hand while also limiting the conversion of strategic systems for delivering high-precision conventional weapons. It is also necessary in the course of reduction of strategic warheads to concurrently reduce the number of strategic delivery vehicles and their launchers so as to minimize the destabilizing “return potential”.

Another very important step towards nuclear disarmament must be the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which will require the ratification of that treaty by the United States, the People’s Republic of China, India and other countries, without whose participation that treaty cannot enter into force. The participants of the workshop are pleased to note the importance of the new U.S. Administration’s commitment in that regard.

Over the short term, the growing threat of a nuclear crisis emanating from Iran and North Korea should be viewed as posing the greatest danger to the sustainability of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The stepping up of Iran’s industrial uranium enrichment capacities and the high level of readiness for weapons grade enrichment and, as well as nuclear tests carried out by North Korea together with the continuing efforts of both those countries in developing a new generation of long-range missiles call for the imposition of considerably tougher sanctions by the United Nations Security Council in full accordance with Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations. The leading states must take measures to radically restrict economic cooperation with Iran.