|09GENEVA842||2009-10-07 12:48:00||SECRET||Mission Geneva|
VZCZCXYZ0002 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHGV #0842/01 2801248 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 071248Z OCT 09 FM USMISSION GENEVA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9511 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/VCJCS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 4904 RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHMFISS/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUESDT/DTRA-OSES DARMSTADT GE IMMEDIATE RUENAAA/CNO WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHMFISS/DIRSSP WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA PRIORITY 2089 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 1090 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 6287
S E C R E T GENEVA 000842
1. (U) This is SFO-GVA-V-030.
2. (U) Meeting Date: September 29, 2009
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Place: R.F. Mission, Geneva
3. (S) The U.S. and Russian Treaty Text and Definitions
Working Groups (TTDWG) met at the Russian Mission for the
fifth meeting. The group developed agreed text in the "final
provisions" of the Treaty Articles, including language
addressing issues such as treaty ratification, duration,
extension options, withdrawal rights, amendment process, and
registration under the United Nations Charter.
4. (S) Some decisions on language pertaining to treaty
extension options and withdrawal rights were deferred to a
later date. Each side recognized that agreement on the
Russian-proposed language explicitly permitting withdrawal in
event of a buildup in the capabilities of missile defense
systems could not be reached at this time. The sides agreed
that this matter would require resolution at a more senior
START FOLLOW-ON RATIFICATION
5. (S) Each side agreed to refer to the Moscow Treaty by its
formal name in both the Preamble and the final provisions of
the new treaty, rather than using the "hereinafter referred
to as" phrase in the Preamble. The Russian delegation made
clear its discomfort with the U.S. term "Moscow Treaty" while
the U.S. delegation had the same feeling about the Russian
abbreviation "SORT." The agreed text in the Preamble was
updated to be consistent with this decision.
6. (S) The two sides agreed on the following language based
on the U.S.-labeled Article XV regarding the duration of the
This Treaty shall remain in force for 10 years unless
superseded earlier by a subsequent agreement on the reduction
and limitation of strategic offensive arms.
7. (S) (Begin comment: During this discussion, and
throughout this particular working group meeting, the Russian
side accepted U.S. reasoning that strongly favored precedent.
The sides recognized the concepts and wording employed in
the original START Treaty were preferable. End comment.)
PROVISIONS GOVERNING EXTENSION
8. (S) Koshelev objected to the U.S.-proposed language
regarding extension of the new treaty originally requiring a
meeting between the two sides 1 year prior to the treaty's
expiration, at which time the Parties would consider
extension of the treaty. Koshelev said the decision would be
reached by its country without holding an actual meeting.
The Russian side also disagreed with the time requirement in
the U.S.-proposed text.
9. (S) The sides briefly discussed the appropriate level for
the decision regarding extension (e.g., Bilateral
Consultative Commission (BCC), cabinet-level official or head
of state), and agreed that it was best to leave it
unspecified to retain maximum flexibility.
10. (S) During the meeting, the U.S. proposed the following
compromise language to capture each side's position:
No later than 1 year before the expiration of the Treaty, the
Parties shall jointly consider extending this Treaty for a
period of no more than 5 years unless it is superseded before
the expiration of that period by a subsequent agreement on
the reduction and limitation of strategic arms.
11. (S) The Russian side pledged to review and fully
evaluate the U.S. proposal prior to the next TTDWG meeting.
ROLE OF BCC IN AUTHORIZING LOWER-
LEVEL CHANGES TO THE TREATY
12. (S) The working group began a discussion regarding the
amendment process, covered in the U.S.-numbered Treaty
Article XVI. The Russian side had proposed language
permitting involvement of the BCC in the execution of minor
changes to subordinate treaty documents that "do not affect
substantive rights and obligations of the Parties under the
13. (S) Mr. Dean asked the Russian side to more fully
explain its rationale for this proposal. In general, the
United States wanted to understand the Russian argument in
favor of modifying the new treaty via the BCC rather than by
using the normal amendment process.
14. (S) Ms. Kotkova responded that the proposal was
consistent with the manner in which the Joint Compliance and
Inspection Commission (JCIC) had conducted itself in recent
years, so the new wording would simply codify existing
practice. Each side noted that similar wording to the
Russian proposal already existed in the original START
Treaty, but was found at the end of each Protocol. Kotkova
further explained that the Russian-proposed Annex was not
structured to include final provisions, so the language
covering the role of the BCC in treaty changes was moved up
into the actual Articles themselves. Ultimately, the Russian
side recognized that the location of this provision depended
on the final structure of the START Follow-on Treaty, and
stated that they did not prefer one level of document over
15. (S) Ambassador Ries pointed out that this topic was more
suited in a discussion on the overall role of the BCC, and
proposed that it be revisited when the working group tabled
the Protocol governing the BCC. The Russian side concurred.
16. (S) Ries began discussion on the provision governing
withdrawal by saying that the U.S. approach drew heavily from
established precedent in other arms control agreements. In
addition, the United States believed it was not necessary to
specify circumstances under which withdrawal might be
appropriate. This could artificially constrain the Parties
in the future.
17. (S) Koshelev replied that he was familiar with the U.S.
position. He stated that a complete agreement on this
provision of the treaty was impossible at this time due to
the Russian position on missile defense. The
Russian-proposed text specifies that "quantitative and
qualitative buildup in the capabilities of strategic missile
defense systems" would be grounds for withdrawal from the
treaty. The U.S. side agreed that this issue needed to be
resolved at a more senior level.
18. (S) The Russian side then presented its rationale for
using the word "terminate" to describe the withdrawal of one
Party from the treaty. Kotkova stated that the word
"withdrawal" was typical in multilateral agreements, but did
not make sense for a bilateral agreement since the act of
withdrawal by one Party would immediately nullify the treaty.
She did acknowledge that the original START Treaty uses the
19. (S) Dean responded that "withdrawal" was a
well-established term for this provision, that it set a more
appropriate tone in English than the Russian-proposed
"terminate," and that, logically speaking, treaty termination
was a result of one Party's withdrawal. For all these
reasons, the United States believed "withdrawal" was the
20. (S) The Russian side acknowledged the U.S. position, but
suggested a deferral of the discussion to allow each side to
think creatively on the matter. The U.S. side concurred.
21. (S) Mr. Luchaninov then asked the U.S. side to clarify
its approach by describing the "extraordinary events" that
might justify withdrawal from the treaty. Dean repeated the
U.S. position that this was well-established and universally
accepted language from existing international agreements.
22. (S) Luchaninov followed up by asking the U.S. side to
explain the words "related to the subject matter of this
Treaty," which the United States had used to qualify the
"extraordinary events" justifying withdrawal. Dean replied
that the events would have to be related to reductions in
strategic offensive arms. Luchaninov asked Dean to name
examples of such events, and Dean answered that it would not
be productive to speculate. He also elaborated on Ries'
earlier comment, stating that to include such an example in
the treaty text could have an unintended consequence.
Specifically, it could prompt future discussion about whether
a given basis for withdrawal rose to the level of the example
specified in the treaty. This could constrain the Parties'
ability to exercise discretion under this clause.
23. (S) Ries then engaged the Russian side on the timeframe
for withdrawal. Ries defended the U.S. case for 6 months,
stating that the longer advance notice signaled the gravity
of such a decision, and reflected the fact that the START
Follow-on Treaty was a complex document with complicated
procedures. Koshelev appeared sympathetic to the U.S.
position, and admitted that he did not know why the Russian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs had changed the Russian-proposed
text to specify 3 months. He pledged to research the matter
and readdress the issue during the next meeting.
BCC ACTIVITIES OTHER THAN MEETINGS
24. (S) Koshelev began a discussion of the Treaty Article
XIII governing the role of the BCC by saying the sides had
two differences, neither of which was substantive. Kotkova
elaborated by stating that the Russian-proposed text
specified that the BCC was subject to procedures described in
subordinate treaty documents. This was consistent with
similar phrases in the treaty regarding inspections,
notifications and the database. The Russian side pointed out
that the verbiage here was again unable to be completely
resolved until the final structure of the new treaty was
25. (S) Ries acknowledged the Russian position and agreed
that approval of final text in this area would have to wait
until the sides finalized treaty structure. She added that
the U.S. side felt it important that the Parties "meet within
the framework of" the BCC rather than "hold sessions." She
explained that this broader construction better captured the
reality of JCIC activities during recent years, which
included jointly observed demonstrations and exhibitions.
26. (S) The two sides then engaged in a lively discussion of
recent JCIC activities, with Mr. Dunn and Mr. Taylor
providing numerous examples of recent JCIC demonstrations
that were conducted by agreement of the Parties in the JCIC,
but outside the context of a sit-down session in Geneva. The
Russian side recognized the merit of the U.S. position but
asked to consider the matter further before returning to
ROLE OF BCC WITH RESPECT TO
NEW STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE ARMS
27. (S) The meeting concluded with a short discussion on the
role of the BCC with respect to new strategic offensive arms.
Ries reviewed the U.S.-proposed language on this subject,
and stated it provided a clear procedure for the BCC to
follow in this case.
28. (S) Koshelev pointed out that this text was again
problematic due to the unresolved treaty structure, since it
referred to the U.S. Notification Protocol rather than an
Annex. He believed that a parallel notification (regarding
newly developed strategic offensive arms) did not exist in
the Russian-proposed Articles or Annex. Koshelev further
opined that discussion of this matter would be more
appropriate in the meetings of the Elimination-Notification
Working Group. Ries agreed.
29. (U) Documents exchanged: None.
30. (S) Participants:
Ms. Gross (Int)
Adm (Ret) Kuznetsov
Ms. Evarovskaya (Int)
31. (U) Gottemoeller sends.