The Bush administration began its sales campaign for an agreement on reducing conventional forces in Europe by showing that the Soviets will have to destroy vastly more weapons than the Western powers.
President Bush, hailing the agreement, said Thursday, "As Europe is transformed politically, we must also redraw the military map of the continent and lift some of the shadows and fear that we and our allies have lived with for nearly half a century."Assuming that NATO and what is left of the shattered Warsaw Pact approve the agreement negotiated over the past 20 months, which is regarded as a near-certainty, the treaty would result in the destruction of tens of thousands of weapons, mostly Soviet.
Some of those figures were confirmed officially by Secretary of State James Baker, who finished the so-called CFE negotiations Tuesday in 51/2 hours of talks in New York with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevaradnadze.
Baker gave reporters at the White House these details:
- Each side will be limited to 20,000 tanks in Europe, meaning the Soviet Union and its former allies will have to junk tens of thousands of them, a process that has already begun.
- Each side will have to reduce its arsenal to 20,000 pieces of artillery, a move that also has begun.
- The Soviets and former allies will have to junk thousands of armored combat vehicles or armored personnel carriers to meet a new limit of 30,000 for each side.
- Although each side will be limited to 2,000 helicopters, there is an unsettled issue about whether a troop-carrier helicopter will count the same as a helicopter gunship and, if not, how inspectors would make sure that rocketpods are not strapped on a troop-carrier, in effect transforming it into a gunship.
- Baker did not give figures for combat aircraft, but officials said the total number will be about 6,700 for each side, meaning some obsolete aircraft will be junked or sold off.