(Yeltsin: Talks open new stage in relations)
By Wendy S. Ross USIA White House Correspondent - 21 Mar 97


In the area of arms control, Clinton said he and Yeltsin agreed "that our negotiators and those of the other 28 participating states should accelerate their efforts in Vienna to adapt the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) treaty to the post-Cold War era by setting new limits on conventional forces."

Third, Clinton said he and Yeltsin are "both committed to securing ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention before it goes into force next month, so that we can finally begin to banish poison gas from the Earth."

Fourth, he said President Yeltsin had agreed March 21 "to seek the Dumas' prompt ratification of START II, already ratified by the United States Senate.

"But we will not stop there," Clinton said. "The United States is prepared to open negotiations on further strategic arms cuts with Russia under a START III immediately after the Duma ratifies START II. President Yeltsin and I agreed on guidelines for START III negotiations that will cap at 2,000 to 2,500 the number of strategic nuclear warheads each of our countries would retain, and to finish the reductions of START III by the year 20007."

This means, Clinton said, "that within a decade we will have reduced both sides' strategic nuclear arsenals by 80 percent below their Cold War peak of just five years ago."

Clinton said he and Yeltsin also "reached agreement in our work to preserve the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, a cornerstone of our arms control efforts. Distinguishing between ballistic missile systems restricted by the ABM treaty and theater missile defenses that are not restricted has been a very difficult issue to resolve. Today, after three years of negotiations, we agreed to preserve the ABM treaty while giving each of us the ability to develop defenses against theater missiles.