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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           Helsinki, Finland

For Immediate Release March 21, 1997
                           IN NUCLEAR FORCES

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin underscore that, with the end of the Cold War, major progress has been achieved with regard to strengthening strategic stability and nuclear security. Both the United States and Russia are significantly reducing their nuclear forces. Important steps have been taken to detarget strategic missiles. The START I Treaty has entered into force, and its implementation is ahead of schedule. Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine are nuclear-weapon free. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was indefinitely extended on May 11, 1995 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed by both the United States and Russia on September 24, 1996.

In another historic step to promote international peace and security, President Clinton and President Yeltsin hereby reaffirm their commitment to take further concrete steps to reduce the nuclear danger and strengthen strategic stability and nuclear security. The Presidents have reached an understanding on further reductions in and limitations on strategic offensive arms that will substantially reduce the roles and risks of nuclear weapons as we move forward into the next century. Recognizing the fundamental significance of the ABM Treaty for these objectives, the Presidents have, in a separate joint statement, given instructions on demarcation between ABM systems and theater missile defense systems, which will allow for deployment of effective theater missile defenses and prevent circumvention of the ABM Treaty.

With the foregoing in mind, President Clinton and President Yeltsin have reached the following understandings.

Once START II enters into force, the United States and Russia will immediately begin negotiations on a START III agreement, which will include, among other things, the following basic components:

      Establishment, by December 31, 2007, of lower aggregate levels
     of 2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear warheads for each of the
     Measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear
     warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear
     warheads and any other jointly agreed technical and organizational
     measures, to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions
     including prevention of a rapid increase in the number of warheads.
     Resolving issues related to the goal of making the current 
     START treaties unlimited in duration.

Placement in a deactivated status of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles which will be eliminated under START II by December 31, 2003, by removing their nuclear warheads or taking other jointly agreed steps. The United States is providing assistance through the Nunn-Lugar program to facilitate early deactivation.

The Presidents have reached an understanding that the deadline for the elimination of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles under the START II Treaty will be extended to December 31, 2007. The sides will agree on specific language to be submitted to the Duma and, following Duma approval of START II, to be submitted to the United States Senate.

In this context, the Presidents underscore the importance of prompt ratification of the START II Treaty by the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

The Presidents also agreed that in the context of START III negotiations their experts will explore, as separate issues, possible measures relating to nuclear long-range sea-launched cruise missiles and tactical nuclear systems, to include appropriate confidence-building and transparency measures.

Taking into account all the understandings outlined above, and recalling their statement of May 10, 1995, the Presidents agreed the sides will also consider the issues related to transparency in nuclear materials.


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Helsinki March 21, 1997