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Public Papers - 1989

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on NATO-Warsaw Pact Conventional Forces Negotiations

1989-09-07

The third round of the negotiations on conventional armed forces in Europe began today in Vienna. At the NATO summit in May, allied leaders endorsed the President's initiative to include land-based combat aircraft and land-based combat helicopters and U.S. and Soviet ground and air manpower stationed in Europe in the negotiations. On July 13, 2 months ahead of schedule, the allies presented details of this initiative at the negotiations in Vienna. The tabling of those elements of our proposal reflects our determination to fulfill the President's commitment and move forward as rapidly as possible in these negotiations. The members of the Warsaw Pact have indicated that they want to conclude a conventional arms reduction agreement, and we await their response to our initiatives during this round.

Similarly, we hope that the Warsaw Pact members will be prepared to discuss the 12 detailed measures that we and our NATO allies put forward during the last round of the 35-nation talks on confidence and security-building measures, which have just resumed in Vienna. Greater openness and predictability about military forces and actions in Europe are key elements in the NATO alliance's approach to conventional arms control.

Our objectives in both these negotiations is to secure a more stable balance of forces in Europe and to reduce the risk of armed confrontation on the Continent. It is a goal we and our allies have been seeking for 40 years. We believe that the conditions are right for achieving sound and stabilizing agreements which will increase security for all the nations concerned.

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