Economic Development and Trade participated in the study and development of this report (Attachment 1).
It should be pointed out that all participants of the Project serve as independent experts in nuclear nonproliferation for the purpose of this study. As a consequence, their viewpoints as stated in the report may not necessarily coincide with official positions of their parent ministries or organizations.
One should proceed from the fact that the fundamental positions of the U.S. and Russia on nuclear nonproliferation coincide. The U.S., as well as Russia, possess by far the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons and fully realize the huge potential hazards of nuclear proliferation, fraught with making it more difficult to control the process by international agencies, and with higher chances for countries with totalitarian and unpredictable political systems to acquire “nuclear” status. Realizing the need to ensure their own national security and maintain international stability, Russia and the U.S. are equally interested in keeping and consolidating the world nuclear nonproliferation system.
Despite many positive and encouraging results in the U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation, a variety of problems and impediments have emerged, which reduce significantly the efficiency of joint efforts of both countries focused on the ultimate goal. There are different causes of these impediments to cooperation, which result from political, legal, technical, managerial, bureaucratic, structural, psychological and other issues.
The Project is aimed at identifying and analyzing the existing impediments and complications to the whole complex of the U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and elaborating joint recommendations to overcome or mitigate them to be forwarded to the Presidents of the U.S. and Russian Academies.
Despite the obvious importance of the problem under consideration, so far it has not been the subject of special analysis and research. Thus, the report is actually one of the first attempts at a systematic examination of such an important problem. The authors fully realize how complex and interrelated the causes of emerging difficulties and impediments to cooperation are, and they are quite aware of the fact that no single remedy will be able to solve these problems.
At the same time it seems quite possible and useful to develop and propose a set of recommendations and considerations as well as specific actions and measures based on a comprehensive analysis of the whole problem to be used by governing bodies as an adequate framework for choosing optimal lines of work and for making decisions.
The first joint working meeting of the Project participants took place in May 2003 in Moscow and addressed the Project goals, contents, milestones and expected results (Attachment 2). It was agreed that in compliance with basic provisions of this document both sides would carry out independent research and draw up their own versions of a joint report on overcoming impediments to the bilateral U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and would submit the documents for discussions at the next working meeting in Vienna (September 2003).