In accordance with the agreement reached at the US-Soviet Summit in Geneva in November 1985 and confirmed at the Washington Summit in December 1987, Ronald W. Reagan, President of the United States of America, and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, met in Moscow from 29 May to 2 June. 1988.M Gorbachev said today that he hoped to work towards agreements to reduce the number of intervention forces in Europe and a treaty on the elimination of chemical weapons. In view of the unique ecological, demographic and other characteristics of the Arctic, the two Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their support for expanding bilateral and regional contacts and cooperation in this field. They noted plans and opportunities to strengthen scientific and environmental cooperation through a number of bilateral agreements, as well as within an International Arctic Science Committee composed of States with interests in the region. They expressed support for the intensification of people-to-people contacts between Alaska Natives and the Soviet North. The Washington Summit of 7 and 10 December 1987 between President Ronald Reagan and Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev, their third meeting of its kind, was described by both participants as “historic”. On 8 December, they signed the first treaty between the superpowers to reduce nuclear arsenals, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the continuation of strategic arms reduction talks (START).
InF talks had begun in November 1981, begun in June 1982, but the Soviets halted them after the United States installed Pershing II intermediate-range missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles in Western Europe in response to a Soviet deployment of new intermediate-range missiles in an effort to modernize. At their last summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, Reagan and Gorbachev almost agreed to eliminate all nuclear weapons from their country`s arsenals within a decade. Talks stalled when Gorbachev insisted the U.S. must limit research on its Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) — Reagan`s “dream” of a missile defense system to protect against nuclear attacks — to the lab for at least a decade. However, in February 1988, after Soviet scientists convinced him that the IDS would not pose a major threat, Gorbachev hinted to the United States that he could sign an INF treaty without tying it to the IDS restrictions. In a sentiment similar to what Reagan expressed in the international televised speech – excerpts below – after the signing, Gorbachev told the Politburo on his return to Moscow that he was “perhaps for the first time … the importance of the human factor in international politics”. He reported that “the friendly atmosphere, to some extent even the enthusiasm with which Washington met us directly, was a sign of the changes that began in the West, which meant that the `enemy image` had begun to erode and the myth of the `Soviet military threat` had been undermined. It was something very special for us.
And this has been noticed all over the world. Russia denies violating the agreement and has expressed its own concerns about Washington`s compliance with the agreement. Moscow claims that the United States places a missile defense launch system in Europe that can also be used to fire cruise missiles, uses targets for missile defense tests with characteristics similar to intermediate-range missiles banned by the INF Treaty, and manufactures armed drones equivalent to ground-based cruise missiles. The draft joint treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive weapons reflects the previous agreement on the establishment of ceilings of up to 1,600 strategic offensive delivery systems and 6,000 warheads, as well as the agreement of sub-ceilings of 4,900 on all ICBM and SLBM warheads and 1,540 warheads on 154 heavy missiles. They noted with particular satisfaction that concrete agreements had been reached in most of the areas identified at their meetings in Geneva, Reykjavik and Washington. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, short for INF Treaty, a nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, in which the two countries agreed to eliminate their stockpiles of medium-range, shorter-range, shorter-range (or “medium-range”) land-based missiles (which could carry nuclear warheads). It was the first arms control treaty to abolish an entire category of weapons systems. In addition, two protocols to the treaty established unprecedented procedures for observers from both countries to verify first-hand the destruction of each other`s missiles. In February 2019, the United States announced that it was suspending compliance with the treaty.
Over the next few days, we will be discussing further arms reductions and other issues, and here too it will take time and patience to reach agreements. .