- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Russia continued to violate provisions of the 1991 START nuclear-arms treaty up until the agreement expired in December, raising new concerns that Moscow will violate the pending “New START” treaty now being debated for ratification in the Senate.

The 2010 State Department report on arms-control compliance, which had been requested by Senate Republicans as part of the START ratification debate, also discloses new details showing Iran is secretly working on nuclear-missile warheads, and includes new information about nuclear programs by North Korea and Syria.

On Russia’s START violations, the report stated: “Notwithstanding the overall success of START implementation, a number of long-standing compliance issues that were raised in the START Treaty’s Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission (JCIC) remained unresolved when the Treaty expired on December 5, 2009.”

The unclassified report, “Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” is set to be released publicly Wednesday. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Times.

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The report said that U.S. and Russian officials sought to resolve the compliance issues.

Release of the compliance report followed dispatch of an earlier State Department analysis to Congress on arms verification that concluded that Russian cheating on the new START treaty would not be significant.

Classified versions of the arms-compliance report were sent earlier to the Senate, and sources said they did not present a complete outline of START issues between 2006 and 2010.

Under pressure from the Obama administration, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hope to approve the treaty and send it to the full Senate before the monthlong August recess. But that gives Senate leaders only a limited number of working days in September to deal with the treaty before adjourning for the midterm-elections campaign.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the panel’s ranking Republican, back the treaty, but the administration still needs the support of several GOP senators to obtain the required two-thirds majority for ratification.

The compliance report is required under the Arms Control and Disarmament Act, and the last report sent to Congress was in 2005. That report also noted several major Russian START treaty violations.

The latest report said that the United States had raised new compliance issues since the 2005 report. 

“The United States considered several of these [issues] to have been closed,” the report said. “A number of the remaining issues highlighted the different interpretations of the parties about how to implement the complex inspection and verification provisions of the START Treaty.”

The recent violations were not identified in detail. However, the report stated that past violations included Moscow’s blocking inspections of mobile missile warheads — a significant problem that specialists say could allow Russia to create a large, hidden warhead stockpile.

The 2005 survey reported those violations and also the issue of Russia’s failure to provide data tapes containing information provided by missile flight tests to ground stations, known as telemetry.

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