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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           Helsinki, Finland

For Immediate Release March 21, 1997
                            JOINT STATEMENT

President Clinton and President Yeltsin, expressing their commitment to strengthening strategic stability and international security, emphasizing the importance of further reductions in strategic offensive arms, and recognizing the fundamental significance of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty for these objectives as well as the necessity for effective theater missile defense (TMD) systems, consider it their common task to preserve the ABM Treaty, prevent circumvention of it, and enhance its viability.

The Presidents reaffirm the principles of their May 10, 1995 Joint Statement, which will serve as a basis for reaching agreement on demarcation between ABM systems and theater missile defense systems, including:

In this connection, the United States and Russia have recently devoted special attention to developing measures aimed at assuring confidence of the Parties that their ballistic missile defense activities will not lead to circumvention of the ABM Treaty, to which the Parties have repeatedly reaffirmed their adherence.

The efforts undertaken by the Parties in this regard are reflected in the Joint Statement of the Presidents of the United States and Russia issued on September 28, 1994, as well as in that of May 10, 1995. Important decisions were made at the United States-Russia summit meeting on April 23, 1996.

In order to fulfill one of the primary obligations under the ABM Treaty -- the obligation not to give non-ABM systems capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles and not to test them in an ABM mode -- the Presidents have instructed their respective delegations to complete the preparation of an agreement to ensure fulfillment of this requirement.

In Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) negotiations on the problem of demarcation between TMD systems and ABM systems, the United States and Russia, together with Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine, successfully finished negotiations on demarcation with respect to lower-velocity TMD systems. The Presidents note that agreements were also reached in 1996 with respect to confidence-building measures and ABM Treaty succession. The Presidents have instructed their experts to complete an agreement as soon as possible for prompt signature on higher-velocity TMD systems.

Neither side has plans before April 1999 to flight test, against a ballistic target missile, TMD interceptor missiles subject to the agreement on demarcation with respect to higher velocity TMD systems. Neither side has plans for TMD systems with interceptor missiles faster than 5.5 km/sec for land-based and air-based systems or 4.5 km/sec for sea-based systems. Neither side has plans to test TMD systems against target missiles with MIRVs or against reentry vehicles deployed or planned to be deployed on strategic ballistic missiles.

The elements for the agreement on higher-velocity TMD systems are:

        The velocity of the ballistic target missiles will 
        not exceed 5 km/sec.
        The flight range of the ballistic target missiles will not 
        exceed 3500 km.

The sides will not develop, test, or deploy space-based TMD interceptor missiles or components based on other physical principles that are capable of substituting for such interceptor missiles.

The sides will exchange detailed information annually on TMD plans and programs.
The Presidents noted that TMD technology is in its early stages and continues to evolve. They agreed that developing effective TMD while maintaining a viable ABM Treaty will require continued consultations. To this end, they reaffirm that their representatives to the Standing Consultative Commission will discuss, as foreseen under the ABM Treaty, any questions or concerns either side may have regarding TMD activities, including matters related to the agreement to be completed on higher-velocity systems, which will be based on this joint statement by the two Presidents, with a view to precluding violation or circumvention of the ABM Treaty. These consultations will be facilitated by the agreed detailed annual information exchange on TMD plans and programs.

The Presidents also agreed that there is considerable scope for cooperation in theater missile defense. They are prepared to explore integrated cooperative defense efforts, inter alia, in 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.

In resolving the tasks facing them, the Parties will act in a spirit of cooperation, mutual openness, and commitment to the ABM Treaty.


/S/ /S/

Helsinki March 21, 1997