Strategic Offensive Reductions Agreement

I have not doubted that we should run into the understanding of the United States on this; and President Bush`s statement today confirms that. That is why Russia says it is ready to pursue a substantial reduction in strategic weapons. That is why we are proposing today a radical programme to further reduce SOA – at least by a factor of three – to the minimum level needed to maintain the strategic balance in the world. We no longer need to frighten each other to reach an agreement. Security is not provided by weapons and metal mountains, but by the political will of the states and the leaders of those states. The two presidents were divided on how to pursue smaller forces. Bush called for unilateral cuts so that the United States could slightly change the size and composition of its arsenal over time. But Putin argued for codifying cuts in a treaty to preserve parity and predictability between the United States and Russia. Under constant pressure from the Kremlin and key U.S. lawmakers, the Bush administration agreed to negotiate a legally binding agreement. SORT has no intermediate reduction levels or lower limits. However, the United States has repeatedly stated that it intends to reduce its strategic warheads to 3,500-4,000 by 2007.

Russia has not revealed any intermediate targets. Article I, second paragraph, stipulates that each party determines the composition and structure of its strategic offensive weapons on the basis of the global limit set for the number of such warheads. As mentioned above, the Moscow Treaty does not limit the total number of strategic offensive weapons and does not contain lower numerical limits or bans for troop categories. Under the Moscow Treaty, each side will thus have flexibility in the structuring of its forces in order to achieve these new low values for strategic nuclear warheads. The treaty does not limit the decisions of a contracting party on the implementation of the necessary reductions. In February 2003, the Senate Armed Services Committee reviewed the treaty and added two conditions. First, the Committee called for the creation of an annual report on the status of the U.S.-Russian cooperative`s initiatives to reduce the threat.