URGENT Stockholm Conference Adopts First East-West Security Accord of the Decade
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ The 35-nation Stockholm conference today formally adopted the first East- West security agreement of the decade, an accord designed to reduce the risk of an accidental war in Europe.
Delegates celebrated after the session with champagne toasts.
During this morning’s final session of the 32-month conference, the clock remained at 10.56 p.m., the time it was stopped on Friday, the original deadline for the conference. Delegates said they had to ″freeze″ time because several issues were unresolved.
Agreement was reached late Sunday when Soviet and U.S. negotiators compromised on arrangements for notification, observation and on-site inspection of military maneuvers.
According to military experts, the final document will enable NATO, the Warsaw Pact and neutral European nations to foresee and judge with greater precision than before all sizeable military maneuvers and movements in Europe.
″There were issues we fought for and did not achieve but the result is definitely a step forward. It enables us to check the real will to build confidence,″ said a NATO military expert, who spoke on condition he not be identified further.
The agreement, an offshoot of the 1975 Helsinki accords, is the first East- West security agreement since the SALT II document on superpower strategic arms signed by Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna in 1979. That agreement was never ratified by the U.S. Senate.
NATO delegates, headed by U.S. chief negotiator Robert L. Barry, and Soviet delegation head Oleg Grinevsky, speaking for the Warsaw Pact, hailed the agreement Sunday as an example to be followed in arms control.
Barry and Grinevsky said they were not totally satisfied, but agreed they got more than was expected.
The negotiations, formally called the Conference on Security-and Confidence-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe, brought together delegates from the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union and all European states except Albania.
Negotiators stopped the clock to get around the original Sept. 19 deadline for an accord and worked through the weekend to break deadlocks.
Barry said in a statement: ″We have taken an important step toward reducing the risk of military confrontation.″
″Confidence- and security-building measures represent a relatively new instrument for arms control and this conference has just begun to develop their potential. More remains to be done, implementation of these measures will give us valuable experience. But we have made a good start,″ Barry said.
Grinevsky told reporters: ″We achieved the maximum possible, though I wish we could have also solved a number of remaining problems such as air activities. ... The result sets a good example for further talks on arms control.″
The Stockholm document will be evaluated and reviewed at a meeting beginning Tuesday in Vienna. It is to be ratified by the 35 nations before the end of the year, when it is to take effect.
The agreement stipulates that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact must notify the other bloc at least 42 days in advance when planning military activities involving at least 13,000 soldiers or 300 tanks.
Any nation conducting military maneuvers involving 17,000 soldiers or more must invite two observers from other participants in the Stockholm conference.
When maneuvers involve amphibious landings or paratroops, nations must notify the other side if 3,000 or more are involved, and invite observers if 5,000 troops or more are taking part.
NATO had sought mutual notification for maneuvers involving as few as 6,000 troops. The Warsaw Pact initially wanted a figure of 20,000. In Helsinki, the level for notification on maneuvers had been set at 25,000 troops.
If one nation suspects another is conducting large-scale maneuvers without notifying the other side, it can demand an on-site inspection using aircraft or land vehicles.
The two sides compromised on the number of on-site inspections a nation would have to allow, settling for three annually.
Each Nov. 15, participating nations must provide each other with a schedule of planned military activities involving 40,000 or more troops during the next two-year period.
Barry said the measures agreed on, despite what he still considered excessively high notification thresholds, would cover four times as many military activities as the Helsinki accords.
The Soviets long resisted allowing on-site inspections to verify compliance. It was seen as a major concession when the Soviet deputy defense minister, Marshal N. Akhromeyev, came to Stockholm during the conference’s final session to announce the Soviets would allow inspection in some areas.
On Western insistence, the accord contains detailed rules on how the inspection teams may travel and communicate.
NATO wanted the teams to be transported by vehicles and crews of neutral countries, but the Soviets insisted that only their own vehicles and crews could be used for inspections on Soviet territory.