Rome, 20th-21st April 1993

Official Record

Office of the Clerk of the Assembly of WEU




Tuesday, 20th April 1993


(The sitting was opened at 2.40 p.m. with Mr. Lopez Henares, Chairman of the Technological and Aerospace Committee, in the Chair)

How to cope with the challenges


Russia's anti-missile defence

Mr. TCHUVAKHIN (Deputy Director for Missile Technology, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation).- I am grateful for this opportunity to speak at this symposium. The matters being discussed have come to the forefront of international security policy. Russia's military and politics are close to those of the Western European countries.

The background to this is that there have been radical political transformations in the world in 1989-90 with a shift in the East-West confrontation which has reached a stage of partnership in which new challenges are studied and identified. The principal East-West milestones and efforts were the treaty on the reduction of conventional armed forces (1990); the treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons - START-1 (1991); and START-2 (1992).

These are tremendous achievements, but at the same time they have attenuated other problems that are still unsolved and may have a dramatic influence on strategic stability. First, there are problems relating to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The paradox of the situation is that, in several of these areas, the international legal mechanisms and regimes that have, to some degree, been effective were introduced before the Soviet Union (Russia) and the United States concluded the abovementioned treaties.

Hence the question of the steps to be taken and the efforts to be made by the international community of civilised states to strengthen these regimes significantly. In short, it is essential to have another look at non-proliferation problems, first of all in the context of today's radical political changes. This is the very standpoint from which Russia's proposal on the joint establishment and use of the global protection system (GPS) by the international community should be considered.

I should like to make one remark straight away. As you know, addressing the entire international community, the

President of the Russian Federation put this idea to the United Nations Security Council. However, it so happened that the actual discussion of GPS problems was started in the context of the Russo-American dialogue. The outline for such a discussion was drawn up at the Washington summit meeting in June 1992 where it was decided to set up a high-level group (with Mr. Mamedov for Russia). This group held two rounds of consultations: in Moscow in July and in Washington in September. Three working groups held consultations in Moscow in October 1992. They concentrated on non-proliferation, the establishment of a joint concept and the attitude towards the exchange of technology. The discussions were very substantial, useful and fruitful. On several aspects, positions were identical. On others, it was seen that special studies were necessary. At the same time, it was noted that there were differences of views with the former United States administration on certain aspects.

Russia is prepared to pursue this dialogue. We understand, however, that the new United States administration will take some time to work out its analysis and assess and define politico-military priorities. We hope this will not take too long. For this reason and in view of our undertakings regarding the confidentiality of the dialogue with the United States, I shall have to confine myself to describing the main aspects of in the Russian concept of the GPS without giving details of the discussion we had during the bilateral consultations.

In short, there are two main aspects to the Russian concept of the GPS: first, technical: establishment of a system of measures to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, testing and the combat use of missiles and also a system of protective measures against their use; second, politico-legal: strengthening existing regimes relating to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, particularly the regime for controlling ballistic technology, including the question of setting up new and more effective regimes.

Before moving on to a more detailed description of each of these elements and their interaction, allow me first to say something about the fundamental principles of the GPS concept.

First, the maintenance and strengthening of strategic stability. Here I wish to go into rather more detail. In the discussion in scientific and public circles, the idea sometimes emerges that Russia has changed its attitude towards the role of anti-missile defence systems and their impact on stability. This idea is wrong. We are still thinking about the real situation, i.e. the existence of five nuclear powers and their potential to ensure strategic stability. It goes without saying that our policy is counting on the role of this factor diminishing in the future. We hope that the other three nuclear powers will subscribe to the nuclear disarmament plan. At present, however, the deterrent factor must be recognised.

In this context, our attitude towards the treaty on anti- missile defence remains intact. It is a bilateral agreement. It concerns the strategic anti-missile defence system of Russia and of the United States - systems to fight against strategic ballistic missiles. Maintaining this treaty is the condition for ensuring implementation of the START-1 and START-2 agreements. Yet it is quite clear that the significance of this treaty goes beyond the framework of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia, and the world recognises this.

Second, opening up the GPS to participation by a large number of states. We consider that, although Russia and the United States started this dialogue, they have no right to dictate new collective security standards and principles to other countries. That is why the Russian approach assumes that, before practical work starts on the GPS, the approval of the international community must be obtained for the appropriate concept.

Third, conciliation in the development and use of the GPS. We believe the GPS can be of real benefit only if the potentials of other countries are associated in its work. Here the main criterion must be the possibility of collective management of the system. However, this must not conflict with the sovereign right of individual participants to retain control of their national components.

Fourth, creation of the GPS step by step. The complexity of creating such a collective security system in accordance with objective political transformations and their development means that the system will have to be set up gradually. This concern both the technical and the politico-legal components.

Now I shall speak in greater detail about the technical and politico-legal components of the GPS.

It is essential to give priority to the objective perception of the threat to the international community stemming from the proliferation in the world of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The GPS must be set up on a basis of profitability. For instance, the scale of the means of active counter-action deployed must be strictly in relation to the threat. However, everything has a price. If we can manage to prevent proliferation effectively by perfecting existing international regimes we should no longer need one or other anti-ballistic missile system.

We estimate that, in the near future, it is unlikely that third countries will have missiles with a range of more than 2 000 to 2 500 km. The ability to produce tactical ballistic missiles and intercontinental missiles is a gigantic technological "gift". Here, one can obtain a better idea of the choice of appropriate means of counter-action and the location of regions of greater risk.

The other potential threat is from unauthorised launchings of ballistic missiles, which is not very probable. However, this problem can be solved through measures to improve technical and organisational efforts to prevent such launchings.

The third threat is an inadequate assessment of the situation where missiles and space are concerned. The only way out is to improve the system that gives early warning of any launching of ballistic missiles whatsoever, thereby preventing this happening (French proposal).

All this leads to the idea of setting up, during the first stage of the GPS, an international centre to give early warning of missile attacks (EWC) which might then take over the duties of the GPS management centre.

The EWC might carry out the following tasks: gathering and analysing information on the testing and launching of ballistic missiles for combat or training purposes, the estimated targets of launchings and undeclared launchings, and their flight parameters and data on the combat use of these missiles; through the United Nations, informing other states of the proliferation, testing and deployment of missiles; monitoring space production. The EWC might take as a technical basis Russian and United States anti-missile observation systems. The sovereignty of national systems must be safeguarded. In the future other countries should have such observation systems. Algorithms and criteria for transmitting information should be concerted.

During the first stage of the GPS, the tactical system of anti-missile defence might also be studied. In particular, this should cover the creation of rapid-deployment tactical anti-missile defence, similar to the system in the Persian Gulf. These formations would be deployed in crisis areas on the orders of the GPS management centre and at the request of the participating countries concerned or following a decision by the United Nations Security Council.

It is essential to carry out the study of the whole of this technical part of the GPS in parallel with efforts to strengthen existing regimes aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their ballistic means of delivery (1968 non-proliferation treaty, 1987 bacteriological, 1987 ballistic and 1992 chemical).

A word about the ballistic missile technology control regime. We are respecting it, but it is not a treaty. There are no systematic verifications. There are exceptions and ambiguity in its provisions. We need a new mechanism and new stimulus, an International Atomic Energy Agency in the ballistic and space areas (but this may be refused). Co-operation in the peaceful use of space must not be jeopardised. Then there is Cocom.

To sum up, we hope to pursue the dialogue with the United States; the opinion of the western countries is extremely important; we must have an accurate perception of the threat; it is time to set up an early-warning centre; the regimes must be strengthened and we must work together in the area of defence against tactical missiles.