Russian START-2 ratification: Argumentation falls on deaf ears

Publish date: September 19, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

This week, the Russian Defence and Foreign ministers made an attempt to convert a Duma majority in favour of Start-2 ratification. Most of the deputies found the offered argumentation

The delay in the Start-2 ratification is yet another matter of embarrassment for president Yeltsin, who on several occasions has promised an acceleration of the process to his colleague in USA. The Start-2 agreement was signed by the two presidents in January 1993, but only the US Congress has ratified it so far. The treaty calls for reduction of the Russian nuclear strategic arsenal, down to 3250 nuclear warheads. In March this year, the presidents, at their meeting in Helsinki, agreed to prolong the time-period for the dismantling operations from 2003 till December 31, 2007.

On September 16 the leaders of the various fractions in the Duma were invited to the Ministry of Defence to listen to the reports made by the Defence and Foreign ministers, containing pro-ratification arguments. After the meeting, Minister of Defence Igor Sergeev was optimistic, claiming that "on a number of points mutual understanding has been reached". Meanwhile, the deputies were less enthusiastic.

–In principle, ratification of the treaty can be supported, but the final decision requires additional meetings and arguments, said Deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky to RIA News.

–We were not persuaded today of the necessity to ratify this treaty. The argumentation presented by the ministers is insufficient to make responsible decisions, claimed Communist Party leader Gennadiy Zuganov.

In Denver, on June 22 this year, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov stated that his government is making efforts to accelerate the ratification process. Apparently, this latest particular effort has not become a success.