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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release June 1, 1996

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

              Removal of Nuclear Warheads from Ukraine and 
                      Agreement on CFE Flank Issue

Ukrainian President Kuchma has announced that all nuclear warheads have been removed from the territory of Ukraine. This is a remarkable achievement. In 1991, there were more than 4000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads in Ukraine. Today there are none. I applaud the Ukrainian government for its historic contribution in reducing the nuclear threat. When the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia and I signed the January 1994 Trilateral Statement on this issue, we looked forward to a day that has now arrived.

The trust and cooperation the United States and Ukraine have established in resolving this issue are a cornerstone of a broad and productive relationship. Ukraine has embarked on a bold course of political and economic reform, laying the foundations for democracy and a market economy. We remain committed to supporting Ukraine through its ambitious and far-sighted reforms and to working with Ukraine and our European partners to promote Ukraine's integration into the European community.

I also want to note the fact that both the United States and Russia are ahead of the reduction schedule provided for in the START I Treaty. To date, the United States has eliminated 750 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and about 800 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles in the former Soviet Union have been eliminated, including more than 700 in Russia. The Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) program has played a major role in the elimination of these weapons in the former Soviet Union and in the denuclearization of Ukraine.

I have asked Secretary Perry to meet next week with his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts, Ministers Shmarov and Grachev, and mark the successful implementation of the Trilateral Statement by visiting a destroyed ICBM silo and a former nuclear weapons storage facility in Ukraine. In doing so, they will celebrate another important step in making the world safer for us all.

On this day of important milestones, I also welcome the agreement that was reached today in Vienna by the 30 nations party to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. This agreement resolves a difficult problem that had arisen concerning the level of Russian and Ukrainian military equipment allowed on the northern and southern flank of the CFE region. This agreement is the culmination of two years of negotiations led by the United States. I congratulate all parties, including our NATO allies, Russia, Ukraine and the states of the Caucasus and Central and Eastern Europe, for their hard work, cooperation and dedication to preserving the integrity and effectiveness of this crucial Treaty.

The CFE Treaty is a key element of a new, more stable Europe. The Treaty has resulted in the destruction of over 50,000 tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters. It has also established a system of transparency measures, which will increase confidence through on-site inspections, notifications and information exchanges.

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