BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Friday, 24 May, 2002, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Leaders sign major nuclear arms deal
The Russian and US president begin their summit at the Kremlin
It is the first such treaty for almost a decade
The Russian and US presidents have signed a landmark nuclear arms treaty, which slashes the two countries' arsenals by two-thirds.

We are going to cast aside old doubts, old suspicions and welcome a new era in relations between your great country and our country

President Bush
President Vladimir Putin and President George W Bush signed the deal in a ceremony in the Kremlin.

The agreement - the first major nuclear disarmament deal for almost 10 years - has been hailed by the Americans as banishing the legacy of the Cold War.

Speaking after the signing, President Bush said the treaty would "liquidate the legacy of nuclear hostility between our two countries".

The treaty aims to cut the nuclear arsenals of each side from current levels of between 6,000 and 7,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next 10 years.

War on terror

Mr Bush said he would "work closely" with Russia to resolve a row which has been developing over Russian assistance to Iran, which the US regards as part of an "axis of evil".

And he said he was determined to get the US Congress to lift the 1974 Jackson-Vanik agreement, which restrict normal trade relations with Russia.

Arsenals and Treaties
  • 1972: US and USSR sign first arms pact, but weapons arsenals keep growing
  • 1986: Soviet stockpile reaches its height
  • 1987: Deal agreed to eliminate short and medium-range weapons
  • 1987-1993: USSR slashes short and medium-range weapons by half, the US reduces its arsenal by 72%
  • 1993: US signs a treaty to cut strategic long-range warheads with the nuclear states of the former Soviet Union

    Click here for details of nuclear arsenals and treaties

  • Mr Bush also praised the Russian leader for his steadfast support in the campaign against terrorism, saying that together they would win the war against "cold-blooded killers".

    President Putin hailed a "completely new quality" in Russia's relationship with the US.

    The three-day summit is the fifth between Mr Bush and Mr Putin, but their first meeting on Russian soil.

    Mr Bush, who arrived in Moscow on Thursday night, began the day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, and a meeting with US embassy staff.

    Then the two leaders met behind closed doors with only their national security advisers present, apparently taking some extra time to discuss some of the difficult issues clouding their relations.

    After formal talks, they signed the nuclear agreement, and a declaration on a new strategic partnership, in the ornate, gilded St Andrew's Hall of the Kremlin Palace.

    Critics point out that many nuclear warheads will be placed in storage rather than destroyed as Russia had wanted.


    Russia's relations with Iran threaten to sour the new friendship.

    In Berlin on Thursday, Mr Bush issued a stern warning about nuclear co-operation with what he considers a "rogue state".

    Russian communists protest against the Bush visit
    The Moscow protests have been small scale
    Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov rejected the US fears, saying Moscow was loyal to non-proliferation of weapons.

    But the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Moscow says many Russians still view the US with distrust.

    Ahead of Mr Bush's arrival, about 300 protesters demonstrated outside the US embassy in Moscow, although the protests were small compared to the tens of thousands who massed in Berlin to show their anger at US policies.

    Poultry and steel

    As well as talks on arms, Mr Bush has been discussing economic ties between the USA and Russia.

    Russia is hoping for US help to gain entry to the World Trade Organisation, but trade relations between the two have recently been marred by squabbles over poultry imports and US steel tariffs

    On Thursday, the disagreements resulted in the US Congress' failure to lift the Jackson-Vanik agreement, which was originally introduced to restrict normal trade relations with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration.

    Mr Bush will spend Friday and Saturday in Moscow before visiting Mr Putin's hometown of St Petersburg.

    Next week he travels on to France and Italy.

    The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
    "The relationship between their two countries has turned cold war enemies into friends"
    Vyacheslav Nikonov, political analyst
    "The most substantial arms reduction ever"
    Former Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev
    "This is in the best interests of each country"
    William Cohen, former US Defence Secretary
    "The basis for future discussions has been laid"

    Key stories


    Bush tour diary

    Country profiles
    See also:

    24 May 02 | Europe
    23 May 02 | Europe
    24 May 02 | Media reports
    14 May 02 | In Depth
    Internet links:

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Europe stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |