START Treaty: Excerpt from December 1 State Department Briefing
Briefer: Ian Kelly, Spokesperson
QUESTION: Anything new on the START situation?
MR. KELLY: I have – actually I have some information on – yeah, on the expiration of START.
MR. KELLY: I do have some new guidance on that —
MR. KELLY: — if you want me to go through that. I have some information on the substitute verification procedures that we started to talk about yesterday.
We’re actively pursuing the means to continue transparency and verification measures on a bilateral basis with Russia during the period between START expiration and entry into force of the new treaty. We believe that the success of the verification procedures in the existing START treaty has given us a positive base to build on in the new treaty. This positive base includes transparency, openness and predictability as part of this relationship with Russia that’s come out of the START treaty, and we want this new kind of relationship to continue.
Just to reiterate, the two presidents agreed in July that the new treaty would contain verification treaties that are adapted, simplified, and made less costly in comparison with the procedures in the START treaty. We believe the new treaty will not be identical to START in terms of the verification regime, but what is in the new treaty has to ensure effective verification of the terms of the treaty.
QUESTION: Is the – so that’s – this is this bridging mechanism we were talking about yesterday?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. I don’t if we’re calling it a bridging mechanism, per se. This is – there are sort of – it’s a politically binding bilateral agreement.
QUESTION: Okay. But would it have – would it then – so this would – it’s agreed that this would come into force when START falls out of force?
MR. KELLY: Well, that’s what we’re working towards.
QUESTION: Okay. So that – we haven’t actually got that agreement in place yet?
MR. KELLY: No, we don’t have it in place yet.
MR. KELLY: But we are working hard on it.
QUESTION: But Ian, yesterday when that question was asked, what if – you know, what if you don’t come up with something by Saturday, did you get the answer to that?
MR. KELLY: Well, first of all, we don’t want to prejudge that we’re not going to be able to come up with something by Saturday. One thing that I did clarify is that we believe that we can keep some of the – not all of them, but some of these verification measures in place via a politically binding agreement. We don’t necessarily need a legally binding agreement that there are – we could have an agreement between the U.S. and Russia that would keep some of these mechanisms in place. But I can’t – I don’t really want to go into what all the different details of it is, because we have an ongoing negotiation.