Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Negotiations

September 12, 1983

The United States is constantly reviewing the progress of the negotiations to see how best to move the talks forward, and we are continuing intensive consultations with our allies on the INF talks. The sixth round of these talks has just begun, and the United States is engaged in serious negotiating efforts to obtain an agreement that meets alliance security concerns. Both sides are bound to respect the confidentiality of the negotiations. Press speculation about the substance of the talks is not helpful.

As in the previous round, U.S. negotiators have great flexibility to consider any serious Soviet proposal according to criteria set forth by the President earlier this year. These five criteria remain the basis of our position: equal rights and limits for the United States and U.S.S.R., no compensation for third country systems, global limits with no shifting of the threat from Europe to Asia, no adverse effect on NATO's conventional deterrent, and effective measures to ensure verifiability.

We and the allies remain convinced that the best long-term results of the negotiations would be the elimination of all land-based U.S. and Soviet LRINF missiles, and that as long as the Soviets remain unwilling to accept this outcome, the President's interim agreement proposal provides a flexible framework for progress.