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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           Helsinki, Finland

For Immediate Release March 21, 1997


Joint Statement Concerning the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

In a major breakthrough, President Clinton and President Yeltsin agreed today on a Joint Statement Concerning the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty that provides the basis for the conclusion of negotiations to demarcate strategic from theater missile defenses (TMD). The Joint Statement reaffirms the Presidents' commitment to the ABM Treaty and the necessity of effective theater missile defenses.

The Presidents reaffirmed the agreement reached last year on demarcation of lower-velocity TMD systems, as well as confidence building measures and ABM Treaty succession. The Presidents also announced they have now reached an understanding on the elements of a demarcation agreement on higher-velocity TMD systems.

The agreement will limit the velocity (five km/sec) and range (3500 kilometers) of target missiles used in TMD tests.

The agreement will include a provision not to develop, test or deploy space-based TMD interceptors or components based on alternative technologies that could substitute for space-based TMD interceptors. Neither side has plans for space-based TMD interceptors; and experts agree that any such interceptor would conflict with the ABM Treaty's ban on space-based ABM systems.

There will be transparency provisions to provide mutual confidence. The sides state that neither side has plans for TMD interceptors with velocities greater than 5.5 km/sec for land-based and air-based TMD systems, or 4.5 km/sec for sea-based TMD systems, nor are there plans for tests against a target missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles or strategic ballistic missile reentry vehicles. The sides also state that neither side has plans before April 1999 to flight test a higher-velocity TMD system against a ballistic target missile.

The Joint Statement deals with potential new technologies by calling for consultations in the event new technologies arise for TMD systems. Such consultations would be undertaken with a view to precluding violation or circumvention of the ABM Treaty, but would not provide either side a veto over the programs of the other side.

The agreement is consistent with planned U.S. TMD programs (including Patriot, MEADS, THAAD, Navy Area and Navy Theater Wide), all of which have been certified by the United States as compliant with the ABM Treaty.

Finally, the two Presidents agreed there is considerable scope for cooperation in theater missile defense, and will explore integrated cooperative defense efforts, such as the provision of early warning support for TMD activities, technology cooperation in areas related to TMD and expansion of the ongoing program of cooperation in TMD exercises.

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