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ELN Group Statement: Appeal for the U.S. government to extend New START

 

 

 

 13 Oct 20 . With less than four months until the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is set to expire, a group of over 75 European parliamentarians from more than 20 European capitals, the European Parlament, and NATO Parliamentary Assembly have joined forces to call on their US Congressional counterparts to take bipartisan action in urging the US government to agree to the extension of New START.

The letter comes as the US and Russia have been engaged in strategic stability talks in recent months related to their nuclear arsenals. Last week, delegations headed by US Special Envoy for Arms Control Ambassador Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov met in Helsinki. While US officials have stated to American media outlets that the US and Russia have agreed on a “freeze” of their current stockpiles and are close to a wider framework agreement, recent Russian reporting indicates that this may not be the case.

Questions or comments can be directed to Sahil Shah (Policy Fellow, European Leadership Network) at sahils@europeanleadershipnetwork.org / +447452983625.

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Appeal to take action and urge the U.S. government to extend New START 

Distinguished Representatives,
Distinguished Senators,
Dear colleagues,

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is the only remaining agreement that limits the nuclear forces of the United States of America and the Russian Federation. If it is allowed to expire in early 2021, it will be the first time since 1972 when no quantitative limits are in place on either side. While Europe did not participate in New START’s negotiations, it is both a beneficiary of the stability brought by the Treaty and a potential victim of much greater uncertainty and danger if it disappears.

As officials who strive to protect the health and security of millions of European citizens, we feel distressed by the possibility that New START may lapse in less than four months. We would like to appeal to our colleagues, the elected representatives of the United States, to act on this issue. The broad support that continues to be given to New START by many Members of the U.S. Congress gives us hope that bipartisan efforts within the U.S. government can help ensure the Treaty’s survival.

New START has directly contributed to the achievement of mutual deterrence at a much lower level of strategic nuclear arsenals than would otherwise have been the case. The Treaty has thus helped stabilise the European security situation, which is a shared interest of all European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members, including the United States, as well as wider Europe.

New START will keep the door open for continuing contacts as well as negotiated improvements – doors that are now shuttered if not fully closed. This is especially important in the context of nuclear weapons still to be regulated in Europe, including Russian tactical nuclear weapons, which all carry risks of accident and miscalculation and will not be regulated without a US-Russia strategic agreement as a foundation and steppingstone.

While we support the call to discuss the next generation of arms control and the need to consider the role of the Chinese nuclear arsenal, extending New START and engaging in good faith dialogue with other nuclear powers are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are both necessary under the obligations provided under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which all five major nuclear weapons states are a party.

As was evident in the process that led to New START, time is needed to negotiate solutions that meet the laudable goals put forward by both the United States and Russia during their strategic stability talks this year. In short, extending the duration of New START is not an end. It is a mutually beneficial tool for maintaining stability, transparency, and predictability while we write a new chapter of arms control together.

In this vein, we welcome continued U.S. and Russian compliance with the Treaty and current efforts to implement it as much as the circumstances posed by COVID-19 will allow. While on-site inspections had to be suspended due to the pandemic, it is positive to note that at least 1,096 notifications have been exchanged by the U.S. and Russia between the end of March and early October, bringing the total to at least 20,911 notifications over the past decade. Without this information, the US and Russia would not have a current, system-by-system understanding of where the other’s nuclear arsenal stands.

We also note the 328 on-site inspections that have been made to date, as well as the recently completed biannual data exchange on Treaty-accountable ballistic missiles, heavy bombers, nuclear bases, test sites, and storage facilities. If New START is not extended, all this valuable monitoring information will be lost, limiting confidence and communication that is important if Europe is not to be collateral damage in a new great power Cold War and emerging nuclear arms race.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it best earlier this summer: “We should not end up in a situation where we have no agreement whatsoever regulating the number of nuclear weapons in the world.” To that end, we wish to express our interest in cooperating with you in urging the U.S. government to agree to the extension of New START.

Signatories:

AUSTRIA

  • Mr. Lukas Mandl, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence

BELGIUM

  • Mr. Kris Peeters, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence; former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister

BULGARIA

  • Vice Admiral (ret.) Plamen Manushev, Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee and Head of Bulgaria’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; former Vice Admiral of the Bulgarian Navy
  • General (ret.) Constantin Popov, Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Assembly Defence Committee; former Chief of the Defence of Bulgaria

CYPRUS 

  • Mr. Yiorgos Lillikas, Chairperson of the House Standing Committee on Foreign and European Affairs; former Croatian Foreign Minister

DENMARK

  • Mr. Bart Groothuis, Substitute Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Mr. Martin Lidegaard, Chairperson of the Folketinget Foreign Policy Committee and Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees, former Danish Foreign Minister

ESTONIA

  • Mr. Sven Mikser, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence; former Estonian Foreign Minister and Defence Minister

FINLAND

  • Ms. Inka Hopsu, Member of the Parliament of Finland Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Kimmo Kiljunen, Member of the Parliament of Finland Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees and Forum for International Affairs
  • Mr. Mika Niikko, Chairperson of the Parliament of Finland Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Tom Packalén, Member of the Parliament of Finland Foreign Affairs Committee and Finland’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Mr. Erkki Tuomioja, Vice-Chairperson of the Parliament of Finland Foreign Affairs Committee; former Finnish Foreign Minister and President of the Nordic Council

FRANCE 

  • Mr. Pierre CabaréMember of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Mireille Clapot, Member of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Anne Genetet, Member of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Christophe Grudler, Substitute Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Mr. Bernard Guetta, Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Mr. Jean-Charles Larsonneur, Member of the French National Assembly National Defense and Armed Forces Committee and NATO Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Defence and Security
  • Ms. Nathalie Loiseau, Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; former Minister for European Affairs of France
  • Mr. Jean François Mbaye, Member of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Laetitia Saint-Paul, Vice-President of the French National Assembly, Chair of the Delegation in charge of International Activities of the French National Assembly Bureau, and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Mounir Satouri, Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Ms. Valérie Thomas, Member of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee

GERMANY 

  • Dr. Karl-Heinz Brunner, Chairperson of the Bundestag Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Reinhard Bütikofer, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Delegation for Relations with the United States
  • Ms. Özlem Demirel, Vice-Chairperson of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Dr. Daniela De Ridder, Deputy Chairperson of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Dr. Fritz Felgentreu, Chairperson and Speaker of the Bundestag Defence Committee
  • Mr. Michael Gahler, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Mr. Wolfgang Hellmich, Chairperson of the Bundestag Defense Committee and Member of Germany’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Matthias Höhn, Chairperson of the Bundestag Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation and Member of the Defense Committee
  • Ms. Katja Keul, Chairperson of the Bundestag Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation and Member of the Defence Committee
  • Mr. Roderich Kiesewetter, Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Dr. Bärbel Kofler, Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Dr. Dietmar Köster, Member of the European Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Christoph Matschie, Chairperson of the Bundestag United Nations, International Organizations and Globalization Subcommittee and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. David McAllister, Chairperson of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Member of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Ms. Hannah Neumann, Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Mr. Thomas Oppermann, Vice-President of the Bundestag and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Aydan Özoguz, Deputy Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Dr. Nils Schmid, Chairperson of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Dagmar Schmidt, Deputy Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Ulla Schmidt, Deputy Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee; former Vice-President of the Bundestag

GREECE 

  • Ms. Marietta Giannakou, Head of Greece’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the Hellenic Parliament Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs
  • Ms. Eva Kaili, Substitute Member of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

ITALY

  • Ms. Laura Boldrini, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee; former President of the Chamber of Deputies
  • Mr. Maurizio Buccarella, Member of the Italian Senate Defence Committee
  • Mr. Pino Cabras, Deputy Chairperson of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Member of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  • Ms. Iolanda Di Stasio, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Mirella Emiliozzi, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Piero Fassino, Chairperson of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Gennaro Migliore, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Riccardo Olgiati, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Fabrizio Ortis, Secretary of the Italian Senate Defence Committee and Member of Italy’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Ms. Roberta Pinotti, Chairperson of the Italian Senate Defence Committee; former Italian Minister of Defence
  • Ms. Lia Quartapelle, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Ms. Andrea Romano, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Foreign and European Community Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Vito Vattuone, Member of the Italian Senate Defence Committee

LATVIA 

  • Mr. Rihards Kols, Chairperson of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Mr. Juris Rancāns, Chairperson of the Saeima Defense, Home Affairs and Prevention of Corruption Committee and Member of the National Security Committee

LITHUANIA

  • Mr. Juozas Olekas, Substitute Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence; former Lithuanian National Defence Minister

LUXEMBOURG 

  • Ms. Semiray Ahmedova, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Committee for Internal Security and Defence and Substitute Member of Luxembourg’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Mr. Gilles Baum, Member of Luxembourg’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Mr. Sven Clement, Substitute Member of Luxembourg’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Mr. Yves Cruchten, Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, Cooperation, Immigration and Asylum
  • Ms. Stéphanie Empain, Chairperson of the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Internal Security and Defense
  • Ms. Lydia Mutsch, Head of Luxembourg’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the Chamber of Deputies

NETHERLANDS

  • Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, Member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

POLAND

  • Mr. Bogdan Klich, Chair of the Polish Senate Foreign and European Union Affairs Committee; former Polish National Defence Minister
  • Mr. Radosław Sikorski, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the United States and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence; former Polish Foreign Minister and National Defence Minister
  • Mr. Paweł Zalewski, Vice-Chairperson of the Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee

UNITED KINGDOM

  • Lord (David) Hannay of Chiswick, Member of the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee; former British Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Lord (David) Alton of Liverpool, Member of the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee
  • Lord (Bruce) Grocott, Member of the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee
  • Ms. Harriett Baldwin, Member of the United Kingdom’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; former British Defence Procurement Minister

SLOVENIA

  • Mr. Klemen Grošelj, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs

SWEDEN

  • Mr. Håkan Svenneling, Member of the Riksdag Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Ms. Elisabeth Falkhaven, Member of the Riksdag Committee on Defence

SWITZERLAND

  • Ms. Tiana Angelina Moser, President of the National Council Foreign Policy Commission

The opinions articulated above represent the views of the signatories and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

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