Joint Statement on Soviet-United States Relations

 

September 23, 1988

 

Proceeding from the agreed goal of continued development of the U.S.-Soviet dialogue, Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze met September 22 - 23, 1988, in Washington for further discussions on the full range of arms control and disarmament, human rights and humanitarian, regional and bilateral issues in U.S.-Soviet relations. The Foreign Minister called on President Reagan at the White House, where they considered the state of relations. He also met with Vice President Bush.

 

During the two days of detailed and frank discussions, the sides thoroughly reviewed progress in implementing the agreements and understandings reached by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev at the Washington and Moscow summits. They noted that, although important differences remain on certain issues, both sides are convinced that solutions are possible. The record of achievement since the November 1985 summit in Geneva attests to this: goals that seemed impossible have been reached, and other important goals have been brought within sight. Continuity of effort, consistency of purpose, and commitment to a process of candid dialogue aimed at finding practical and enduring solutions to problems will be as indispensable in the months and years ahead as they have been over the last three years.

 

Toward this end, Secretary Shultz and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze agreed that the negotiators and experts of the two sides will continue to seek progress across the agenda set forth by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev in their Joint Statements from the Washington and Moscow summits. These statements comprise a detailed and concrete program of action for building a more stable and sustainable relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, and for contributing, with other nations, to a world at peace.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister noted the active and serious effort underway to resolve outstanding issues in the Geneva nuclear and space talks. They received updated joint draft texts of a Treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms and its associated documents. They welcomed the further elaboration since the Moscow summit of these drafts. The sides discussed a range of issues including air-launched cruise missiles and the problem of verification of mobile ICBMs and SLCMs. Some further progress was achieved in the first two areas.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also reviewed the negotiations to work out a separate agreement concerning the ABM Treaty, in accordance with the joint statements issued at the Washington and Moscow summits. They noted certain progress achieved in the preparation of an associated protocol during the current round of negotiations in Geneva. They instructed their negotiators to intensify their efforts in preparing the Joint Draft Texts of the separate agreement and its associated protocol. They also agreed to continue discussion concerning space-based sensors.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister instructed the delegations in Geneva to continue intensive work aimed at the ultimate completion of the agreements being negotiated in the nuclear and space talks.

 

The sides discussed concerns that both of them have in connection with the observance of the ABM Treaty. Discussions on these matters will be continued.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister noted with great satisfaction that since the Moscow summit, both sides have begun the process of eliminating INF missile systems in accordance with the INF Treaty.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister welcomed completion of the Joint Verification Experiment (JVE) at the nuclear test sites of the U.S. and the USSR, which demonstrated an unprecedented degree of cooperation and openness on verification of nuclear testing limitations. They directed negotiators to finish the new verification protocol for the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, which is nearly complete, and the new verification protocol to the Threshold Test Ban Treaty. They agreed to work for the earliest submission of these documents for ratification, and to continue stage-by-stage negotiations toward the objectives specified by the leaders at the Washington and Moscow summits.

 

The sides reaffirmed the objective of concluding as soon as possible a global convention on the comprehensive prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons, encompassing all CW-capable states. In reviewing progress toward this goal, the sides exchanged views on such issues as laboratory synthesis of super toxic chemicals for medical and research purposes, bilateral data exchanges and other confidence-building measures. They agreed that the tenth round of U.S.-Soviet bilateral consultations on chemical weapons will take place in Geneva from November 29-December 15. The sides expressed deep concern about the recurrent use of chemical weapons, in particular against civilian populations. They shared the view that the expanding proliferation and use of chemical weapons continue to impart a sense of urgency to their discussions and highlight the absolute necessity of negotiating an effective and verifiable CW ban. They reaffirmed their support for the role of the UN Secretary-General in carrying out prompt investigations in order to ascertain the facts of such use. They further agreed that U.S. and Soviet experts would meet on December 16, 1988, for a new round of talks on measures to halt the proliferation of chemical weapons.

 

The sides also stated their serious concern about the proliferation of ballistic missile technology and announced that, pursuant to the Moscow summit joint statement, U.S. and Soviet experts will meet on September 26 in Washington to discuss this growing problem.

 

The sides held a thorough discussion of both progress to date and continuing problems in the area of human rights and humanitarian issues. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister underscored the value of regular bilateral discussions on these issues and the need further to develop constructive dialogue.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister expressed the special importance their governments attach to achieving promptly a balanced conclusion to the Vienna Follow-Up Meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and called on all participating states to work intensively toward this end. They reaffirmed the necessity of an outcome at Vienna which encompasses significant results in all of the principal areas of the Helsinki Final Act and the Madrid Concluding Document and which further strengthens the CSCE process. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of the ongoing effort with other states to resolve remaining issues on a mandate in order to begin as soon as possible a new negotiation with the objective of enhancing stability and security in the whole of Europe at lower levels of armed forces and conventional armaments.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister considered regional issues including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Central America, the Iran-Iraq War, the Korean peninsula, the Middle East, and southern Africa. They affirmed the importance of the Geneva accords on Afghanistan. They also noted encouraging trends in the search for political solutions to several longrunning regional conflicts; in some cases, existing negotiating efforts have found new vigor, and in others new efforts have emerged. They agreed that the process of a settlement in southwestern Africa is currently at a crucial stage, and noted the importance of sustaining the momentum toward solutions of the problems of Angola and early independence for Namibia in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 435.

 

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister welcomed the increasingly active contribution of the United Nations to regional conflict resolution, especially the effort to achieve a durable settlement of the Iran-Iraq war. They also favored further efforts aimed at bringing peace to Cambodia. They agreed that U.S. and Soviet experts would continue to meet as appropriate to support the search for peaceful solutions to regional conflicts.

 

The two sides welcomed the continued development of bilateral cooperation and interchange as set forth in the Moscow summit joint statement, as well as further development of contacts among defense and military officials. They strongly believe that expansion of bilateral ties on the basis of mutual benefit is in the interests of both sides. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister exchanged views on prospects for developing trade and economic relations, and reiterated the goals set forth in this field in the Moscow summit joint statement.