For Immediate Release
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
May 24, 2002


Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions

Today, President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin signed the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions. Under this Treaty, the United States and Russia will reduce their strategic nuclear warheads to a level of 1700-2200 by December 31, 2012, a level nearly two-thirds below current levels.

This new, legally-binding Treaty codifies the deep reductions announced by President Bush during the November 2001 Washington/Crawford Summit and by President Putin at that Summit and a month later. It is part of the new strategic framework that the United States and Russia have established. This framework includes a broad array of cooperative efforts in political, economic, and security areas, and marks a new era in our bilateral relationship.

Treaty Provisions

The Treaty requires each country to reduce and limit its strategic nuclear warheads to 1700-2200 by December 31, 2012. Each side may determine for itself the composition and structure of its strategic forces consistent with this limit. A Bilateral Implementation Commission will meet at least twice a year to discuss issues related to the Treaty.

Ratification Process

The Treaty will be transmitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent to ratification; in Russia, the two Chambers of the Federal Assembly must approve a bill on its ratification. Once this process is completed in both countries, the United States and Russia will exchange instruments of ratification and the Treaty will enter into force. It will remain in force until December 31, 2012, and may be extended or replaced with a subsequent agreement.

Relationship to START

The five-Party Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 1991 continues in force unchanged. (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States are Parties to START.) START's comprehensive verification regime will provide the foundation for transparency and predictability regarding implementation of the new bilateral Treaty. As noted in the Joint Declaration on the New Strategic Relationship also issued today in Moscow, the United States and Russia also will continue discussions to explore additional ways to enhance transparency and predictability.

U.S. Reduction Plans

As outlined in the Department of Defense's Nuclear Posture Review submitted to Congress earlier this year, the United States plans to retire all 50 of its ten-warhead Peacekeeper ICBMs and convert four Trident submarines from strategic to conventional service. Additional steps to reduce the number of U.S. operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to the 1700-2200 level will be decided subsequently.

Some of the warheads which are removed from deployment will be used as spares, some will be stored, and some will be destroyed. The United States will continue to deploy land-, sea- and air-based strategic forces.

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