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Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Ivanov in Russia

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
August 14, 2001

Monday, August 13, 2001

(Remarks by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Secretary Rumsfeld after their meeting with Russian President Putin.)

Ivanov: Ladies and gentlemen, we have with Secretary Rumsfeld this morning spent a very intense and interesting discussion, most of which was on a one-on-one basis looking at the prospects of U.S. and Russian relations. We have then just finished a very intense meeting with President Putin, a very detailed look-see at a very wide range of aspects having to do with current U.S.-Russian relations. And we discussed such as political issues, economic issues, military issues, issues of security and security stability.

We also discussed a rather new series of issues upon which we agree absolutely with the United States, and that is one of terrorism, real terrorism, something which you can observe every night on television and something which appears in many, many different spots around our globe.

And I would be every remiss if I were not to mention military issues, since both of us are secretaries of defense and minister of defense. We did discuss many of the issues related to cooperation in the area of strategic stability.

I do have to say, however, that the existing multi-layered system of strategic security which exists today in the world fully meets the needs of Russia today, and we feel no compunction to leave one or any other treaty or accord which we currently have signed. We listened very intently and we hear very well the kinds of arguments and conclusions that the U.S. side is setting forth on a number of different accords, among which is the ABM Treaty. And our two presidents have agreed that we will absolutely pursue our discussions with the very tightest of linkage between offensive and defensive systems in discussing strategic stability issues.

Discussions of this particular issue are now being held in a conceptual way. Now, we are discussing all this very conceptually, but prior to setting on a course of detailed negotiations, what both sides really have to understand very clearly are the parameters for these negotiations, namely the thresholds and limits both in offensive and defensive systems that will be discussed prior to getting down to actually beginning negotiations.

Now, the position of Russia is such -- and we have to say here that in the future, before we set forth a new global architecture for security -- and we don't deny that this might be needed, because in fact the world has changed enormously over the last 10 years, for instance -- and today one of the results -- maybe we shouldn't call it a result as such -- but the two sides are much closer today to understanding that any system of strategic stability, whatever it might look like, will require ways of controlling it and providing verification.

Thank you.

Rumsfeld: Good afternoon. As the minister indicated, we have had a very intensive discussion this morning. The minister and I did, and then our larger group. And we have just completed a lengthy meeting and visit with the president of Russia. The discussions have ranged across the full spectrum of political, economic, and security issues. We discussed, as the minister indicated, problems of terrorism, as well as the issues of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and other types of threats that exist in this new world. We spent a good deal of time on the reality that our relationships have been changed dramatically over the past decade and that it is, in fact, time to acknowledge those changes and address the subject as to how we might best be arranged going forward.

We talked about a broad range of possible areas for consultation and discussion. We indicated that the U.S. expert-level group that met in Washington last week has been invited to come to Moscow and meet some time in early September. The minister of defense and I will be meeting again in Naples in the third week, I believe, of September, and the discussions that are taking place between the two ministries will continue. And I must say I have found this morning to be enormously helpful in casting light on our respective perspectives.

I should add that my delegation and I are both -- all very appreciative of the substantial time that the president gave to our delegation and found him knowledgeable, engaged, and insightful as to the evolving relationship between our two countries.

Q: Mr. Secretary, the minister just made it very clear that Russia has no intention of abandoning treaties such as the ABM Treaty, but the United States still intends to proceed with research and deployment of missile defense even if it breaks that treaty.

Rumsfeld: We had, as I say, missile defense in that treaty as one part of a much broader relationship. We agreed that it is perfectly appropriate to discuss offensive and defensive capabilities together. And, of course, as we've indicated, the ABM Treaty inhibits the kinds of research and development and testing that the United States is engaged in and finds constraining, and as a result we will continue to discuss with them ways that we can move beyond the ABM Treaty so that the kinds of defenses against ballistic missiles, which the President feels are desirable and necessary in this world of extensive proliferation, can go forward.

Q: President Putin today mentioned in his forward address that what we'd like to hear -- on the Russian side we'd like to hear from the U.S. more details about the threshold and limits of offensive systems, about the time it would take to come up with some answers, about confidence-building measures, about the need for verification and the like. Can the U.S. side tell us when approximately it will be prepared to come forward to answers to these kinds of parameters? And then what will the Russian side do, and how long will it take them to come back with some of their parameters?

Ivanov: Well, I have to say as far as the essence of what we all understand to be needed in establishing strategic security we have to go back a little bit in time. We used to live in a system of the so-called MAD, mutually assured destruction, and we lived under the theory -- I repeat the theory -- of fear and intimidation. What we need now is a controllable restraint, a system of controllable restraints. So what we need are a series of limits. You asked how we explain something this complicated. If you remember the old days, there was the old shield. There was a reference to a story about the old shield. We have now a shield. What we're trying to do is create a change, you know a whole, completely new configuration. But if you reduce nuclear confrontation and you start reducing nuclear warheads, you will need verification, and verification becomes that much more important.

However, beyond that, we now have to also look at how we limit offensive systems and how we link it very carefully to defensive systems. And this becomes a very, very complicated algorithm. To do that then in just a couple of months, I don't see any possible way that we can take something that complicated and do it only in a couple of months. We need to talk about it, and as you can see, we are talking about it. We're talking very energetically, very actively about it. As a matter of fact, Secretary Rumsfeld has laid out for you earlier the schedule of what will happen in the future. I await the arrival of the next U.S. delegation to continue the talks that were begun in Washington. As a matter of fact, it might be possible to have more than just one delegation visit, but in the last several years we really have not had anywhere near the kind of frequency or intensity of discussions as we have witnessed recently here.

But, yes, we do need criteria. We do need thresholds. We await as soon as possible from the United States some answers of what these criteria and thresholds should be for the United States, and we anticipate giving our response back as well. As a matter of fact, since -- I have to add here that Russia, regarding its own offensive systems and thresholds and criteria have given it out publicly many, many times before.

Q: Mr. Secretary, the minister has said that these are consultations that will lead to negotiations in the future on linking defensive and offensive weapons, but I was wondering, is the United States even prepared to enter into negotiations, detailed negotiations, that would link defensive and offensive weapons and control and retrain them?

Rumsfeld: Let me respond to two or three things that have come up. One, the United States, as we've indicated, is in the process of a nuclear posture review. We had, in fact, begun the process of reducing some offensive nuclear weapons with the announcement with respect to the Peacekeeper missile and some Trident submarines, and it is expected that the nuclear posture review will be completed -- and has to be completed -- by the end of the year. I have every reason to believe it will be completed sometime before that, and I would assume in late September or sometime in October.

With respect to the minister's comment about verification and monitoring, we agree completely that transparency is highly desirable, and we have had over the decades a number of arrangements with the old Soviet Union that involve monitoring and verification, and we quite agree that it's desirable going forward. It is -- from our standpoint, transparency is pretty obvious in the United States. We have a very open system. We have a Congress that is interested in the subject, and as you know well, (inaudible). And we have a press that's interested in the subject. And I think that the United States and Russia ought not to have any trouble at all fashioning arrangements with respect to transparency and verification and monitoring as we go forward.

With respect to how these discussions or consultations will evolve, I think that's another question. And my impression is that they're moving along well and that we'll just take them step by step. Consider it a process, which in fact it is, where each said is, I believe, gaining a somewhat better perspective as to the thinking and the concerns and the hopes and expectations of the other.

Ivanov: Ladies and gentlemen, we have one more issue that the U.S. delegation and our delegation are absolutely agreed upon, and that is that we need to get something to eat. We're going to go have a nice lunch. We'll have additional conversations later. Maybe later in the day we'll get back to you if we have some additional things to report to you. Meanwhile, have a nice day. And thank you all for coming.

Rumsfeld: Thank you.

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