Belgrade, Serbia, 22-24 March 2016

 

    Joint Statement of the US-Russia Elbe Group

    Preamble

    The Elbe Group takes its inspiration from the relationship that existed between the United States and Russia during the Second World War; a time when our two nations, despite considerable differences, joined forces against a common threat – fascism.

    In light of the recent terrorist attacks (Paris, Africa, San Bernardino, Brussels, and the downing of a Russian airliner), The American and Russian members of the Elbe Group are in absolute agreement that, in the face of a lack of broad and practical cooperation to interdict and liquidate it, and with the help of a few countries, swiftly growing radical Islamic terrorism is becoming the main threat in the modern world; like fascism in the previous century.  There is an urgent need to deal decisively with the threat of terrorism.

    For the six years of its existence, the Elbe Group has emphasized the importance of continuous and open dialogue between our political, military, and intelligence establishments as a necessary and vital element in combating terrorism and achieving stability.  However, despite our cooperation in addressing such problems as Syrian chemical weapons and the Iranian nuclear program, we have failed to use our full potential to jointly combat the growing threat of Islamic extremism.  Despite issues that keep us from operating together, we urge our governments to create a real coalition for effectively countering the immediate threat of Daesh (ISIS) and radical Islam.

    Elbe Group Participants

    • General of the Army Anatoly S. Kulikov, former Minister of Interior Affairs;
    • General of the Army Valentin V. Korabelnikov, former Head of Military Intelligence;
    • Ambassador Anatoly E. Safonov, former Acting Head of FSB;
    • General Colonel Vladimir V. Verkhovtsev, former Head of Nuclear Directorate;
    • Mr. Victor Kulikov, Executive Director Elbe Group, Russian Federation
    • General John Abizaid USA (ret), former Commander Central Command;
    • General Eugene Habiger USAF (ret), former Commander in Chief Strategic Command;
    • LTG Franklin Hagenbeck USA (ret), former Superintendent U.S. Military Academy;
    • LTG Michael Maples USA (ret), former Director Defense Intelligence Agency;
    • Mr. Robert Dannenberg, former Chief of Operations for Counterterrorism, CIA;
    • Mr. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, former Director of Intelligence at DOE;
    • Brigadier General Kevin Ryan USA (ret), former Defense Attaché to Moscow.

    Presenters

    • LTG Frederick “Ben” Hodges, Commander US Army Europe

    Strategic Stability

    Our strategic relationship is deteriorating while our common threats are increasing.  The lack of dialogue and cooperation between our governments threatens vital interests on both sides.

    The absence of dialogue and cooperation between military establishments prevents taking steps to increase transparency about intentions and troop movements near the borders of NATO and Russia.

    The Elbe Group believes an effective program of monitoring military exercises and timely reporting by sides on the time, size, and goals of exercises, as well as the presence of observers, is possible only after the renewal of military dialogue and cooperation, which has been stopped since 2014.

    The Elbe Group recommends the cessation of actions and threats that might increase the likelihood of nuclear weapons employment.

    The Elbe Group recommends that military to military contacts be reestablished and maintained between Russia and the United States as well as between Russia and NATO.

    The Elbe Group recommends the renewal of contacts between intelligence and special services of the two governments to combat our common threats, especially as part of an anti-ISIS effort (with corresponding directives from the military-political leadership of both countries).

    Representatives of the Russian and American sides recognize that differences on key problems of strategic stability remain and consider it necessary to continue efforts to prevent slipping into armed conflict.

    The Elbe Group continues to encourage the development and implementation of updated confidence building mechanisms and agreements that will enhance stability.

    Terrorism/Radical Islam

    The threat to civilization posed by violent radical Islam is exceptionally serious and demands that we create a real, active, broad international anti-ISIS coalition with decisive goals.

    Under the auspices of the UN, the coalition should have a mandate to develop, resource, and implement a comprehensive global campaign with civil, military, economic, and social components that will eliminate the ISIS threat.

    Elbe Group participants think the actions of the coalition should be based on the norms of international law with the support of the UN Security Council.

    Trust

    The United States and Russia have demonstrated that, operating together, we can bring about changes that enable conflict resolution and peace. The Elbe Group recommends that Russia and the United States take concrete steps to combat real and imminent common threats, while working to resolve problems that divide us.

    Key to establishing trust is creating more transparency about political intentions and military capabilities.  This transparency can only happen when dialogue and contacts are renewed between our political, military, and intelligence establishments.

    Syria

    In response to the direct challenge that radical Islam poses, the US and Russia share a special responsibility to work together to forge a global anti-terrorist coalition to totally eradicate common threat posed by Daesh, al-Qaeda, and their allies.  Among the steps necessary, the Elbe Group recommends the following:

    • Create (renew) Russian-American dialogue, to include an "anti-ISIS" group, assigning it the task to develop a complex plan for preserving the territorial unity and statehood of Syria addressing the following factors:
      • Political
      • Economic (humanitarian)
      • Military-technical
      • Special Services
      • Expand the Geneva negotiations on Syria to the whole Near East.
      • Apply maximum effort to preserving the cease fire in Syria, achieved in March 2016. It will serve as the basis for the subsequent dismemberment of Daesh.
      • Take measures immediately to address the human rights tragedy in Syria, which has caused such suffering there and has threatened the stability of other nations.
      • Create and deploy UN peacekeeping forces (in the beginning stage - along the Syria-Turkey border).
      • Take measures to undermine financial support for Daesh (contraband oil, human trafficking, banking network)
      • Establish an operational exchange of information between US and Russian special services against the global threat posed by posed Daesh, al-Qaeda, and their allies.

    Nuclear Terrorism

    The threat of terrorism, both conventional and nuclear, is growing considerably.  A terrorist act using nuclear materials, including a dirty bomb, would have the gravest psychological effect on the population.  In addition, dealing with the consequences demands significant material and financial resources.

    In addressing the threat of terrorism, the Elbe Group believes that special attention must be given to preventing Daesh and other terrorist organizations from obtaining and employing weapons of mass destruction. The Elbe Group maintains its high level of concern about the threat of nuclear terrorism and is increasingly concerned that terrorists will obtain and use chemical or biological weapons.

    The Elbe Group recommends renewing the conduct of joint US-Russia exercises by special units focused on perfecting a system protecting nuclear materials including at locations where spent nuclear materials are buried.  The group also recommends developing joint actions against the threat of terrorists seizing nuclear materials at facilities, which use such materials.

    Addendum

    Over the Elbe Group’s six years of the work (2010-2016), the international environment and the relationship between the two countries have changed.  But the recommendations of the Elbe Group have remained largely constant.  Below are the major themes and recommendations of the Elbe Group.

    Purpose of Elbe Group

    The purpose of the “Elbe Group” is to maintain an open and continuous channel of communication on sensitive issues of US-Russian relations.  [2011]

    US-Russia Relations and Trust

    June 2011

    The Elbe Group considers the issue of improving mutual trust between Russia and the U.S. as a top priority.

    April 2012

    We have emerged from the Cold War and continue to face new complex problems but, the strategic stability we achieved should not be lost as a result of our actions.

    March 2013

    Our two countries have important policy differences on some strategic issues but, the Elbe Group does not consider existing differences to be an insurmountable obstacle to continued cooperation.  By vigorously and diligently confronting common threats, the US and Russia build the mutual trust that leads to cooperation and agreement on these and other sensitive issues.

    March 2014

    The differences between the United States and the Russian Federation over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea affect all aspects of the bilateral relationship.  Failure to overcome this obstacle can lead to a vacuum in the efforts to provide long term security for our nations.

    March 2015

    The Elbe Group recommends increasing transparency of military operations, capabilities, and intentions throughout Eastern Europe to avoid miscalculation.

    Paying tribute to the memory of those who perished fighting against a common enemy 70 years ago, the participants of the meeting especially note that in the current conditions of sharply rising tensions between the US and countries of the West, primarily members of NATO, on the one hand and Russia on the other hand, every effort should be made on both sides to prevent the current and future generations of our countries from experiencing the horrors of war.

    October 2015

    Measures to raise trust should be revived and an adversarial rhetoric should be rejected in favor of mutual respect.  A key step toward this goal would be to establish an exchange of information on the situation in the Middle East broadly and in Syria specifically.

    Security Services Coordination

    Oct 2010

    We suggest, in the interests of warning of potential and existing threats from terrorist use of nuclear devices, to increase coordination between US and Russian special services.  In this regard, when cooperating in the struggle against terrorism, priority should be given to preventing nuclear terrorism.

    June 2011

    US and Russian relevant government agencies, including the special services, should lead international exercises to prepare for interdiction and consequence management of a terrorist attack with a nuclear device.

    March 2013

    The Elbe Group underscores the importance of the efforts of both countries to sustain productive cooperation on intelligence matters to improve national and international security.  This cooperation is one of the keys to preventing nuclear terrorism and addressing the threat of terrorism in general.  The level of intelligence cooperation between security services is an indicator of the level of trust between the two countries

    March 2015

    The Russian and American members of the group called for the resumption of cooperation between special services of the countries for the sake of intensifying the fight against international terrorism, acknowledging that this cooperation should be a "two-way street." Appropriate policy guidance from the political leadership of the two countries should be a prerequisite for resumption of this cooperation.

    The Elbe Group believes it would be prudent to resume cooperation of the special services of both countries so that they can exchange information on identification of the intentions and objectives of cyber-terrorist groups.

    Countering Nuclear Terrorism.

    October 2010

    There are many terrorist threats that are more likely than nuclear terrorism but none are more dangerous.

    Despite years of study on nuclear terrorism, there is insufficient operational cooperation, information sharing and planning between our two governments to provide adequate warning and response to a nuclear attack by terrorists.

    March 2014

    We believe it is in the interest of the US and Russia that current problems in the bilateral relationship not contribute to vulnerability in global nuclear security.  The joint efforts of both countries are required to prevent terrorist groups from acquiring nuclear or other radiological materials.

    March 2015

    As for countering nuclear terrorism, the two sides note that the events in Ukraine must not prevent cooperation between the two countries on perfecting the methods and ways of dealing with attempts of nuclear terrorism. Both sides agree that in areas of instability, such as Ukraine, the physical security of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities might decrease, which could raise the likelihood of malicious acts.

    October 2015

    Questions of strategy and tactics in the battle with the terrorist group ISIL should also address the terrorist group’s well-known efforts to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction.

    Strategic Stability

    June 2011

    The deployment of a global missile defense system affects not only the ability to maintain the strategic balance between the two countries but also the ability to achieve consensus in other areas. In this connection there is a need to step up discussions on the issues of global and euro BMD in support of strategic stability and prevention of damage to the US and Russian national security interests.

    April 2012

    The Elbe Group recognizes that strategic stability and trust between the world’s two strongest nuclear powers will continue to play a vital role in providing security for both our countries and the entire world, including our ability to resist terrorism.

    We have emerged from the Cold War and continue to face new complex problems but, the strategic stability we achieved should not be lost as a result of our actions.

    March 2014

    Ukraine.  We are concerned about the possible negative consequences from the crisis in Ukraine.  It is in the interest of our countries that the situation in Ukraine be normalized.  The actions of all parties, internal and external, should not further complicate the situation.

    The differences between the United States and the Russian Federation over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea affect all aspects of the bilateral relationship.  Failure to overcome this obstacle can lead to a vacuum in the efforts to provide long term security for our nations.

    March 2015

    The Elbe Group recommends increasing transparency of military operations, capabilities, and intentions throughout Eastern Europe to avoid miscalculation.

    At the same time, the Russian side continues to express concern about the approach of the military infrastructure of NATO to Russia's borders and proposes to make this problem the subject of a separate discussion.

    The American side welcomes additional discussion about the relationship between NATO and Russia, but points out that the decision to join NATO is the right of independent states, all of which commit themselves to collective defense.

    October 2015

    Elbe Group members believe it would be beneficial to renew contacts between Russia and NATO, given that combat operations in Syria are being conducted near the border of a NATO member state.

    Elbe Group members believe it is necessary to use all means of power to resolve the problem of refugees and to protect the rights of minority populations, both of which affect strategic stability.

    The Elbe Group believes that the US and Russia should encourage further efforts to develop new concepts and mechanisms for maintaining strategic and regional stability in today’s world, based on norms of international law.

    Islamic Extremism

    March 2013

    “Islamism” (radical extremist Islam).  The Elbe Group considers it necessary to study the impact of violent radical Islamists on international security, and nuclear terrorism in particular, as they operate in an ever enlarging zone of operations, threatening the interests of both Russia and the United States.

    March 2014

    Syria.  We believe it is in the interest of the US and Russia that the withdrawal and elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Syria not be interrupted and that the conflict there be settled in a peaceful way.

    Afghanistan.  We believe it is in the interest of the US and Russia that, as US and coalition forces draw down in Afghanistan, a mechanism is developed and sustained to prevent the reemergence of violent Islamic extremists and terrorists groups which can threaten the people of Afghanistan or the neighboring states.

    Islamic Extremism.  We believe it is in the interest of the US and Russia to continue to work jointly with our partners and allies to combat violent Islamic extremism.

    March 2015

    On Islamic extremism, the two sides note that terrorism, in all of its manifestations, represents one of the most dangerous challenges in today's world; in its scale, unpredictability and, consequences on social-political and moral problems. Having been fueled by radical Islam, it increasingly threatens the security of individual countries as well as of entire regions located not only in the traditional hotbeds of tension, but also far beyond those.

    Every year the scale of the activities of extremist groups grows as do the complexity of their structure and their financial basis.

    The Russian and American members of the group called for the resumption of cooperation between special services of the countries for the sake of intensifying the fight against international terrorism, acknowledging that this cooperation should be a "two-way street." Appropriate policy guidance from the political leadership of the two countries should be a prerequisite for resumption of this cooperation.

    Cyber-terrorism

    March 2014

    The parties noted that cyber terrorism has not yet been sufficiently studied as a threat.   In this regard, there is an urgent need for concerted actions against this new threat so that possible colossal negative consequences can be prevented.

    The Elbe Group believes it would be prudent to resume cooperation of the special services of both countries so that they can exchange information on identification of the intentions and objectives of cyber-terrorist groups.

    Совместное заявление Российско-Американской
    Группы «Эльба»
     

    Преамбула

    Вдохновением для создания Группы “Эльба” послужили отношения, существовавшие между Соединенными Штатами и Россией в период Второй мировой войны, когда наши два государства, несмотря на значительные разногласия, объединили усилия против общей угрозы – фашизма.

    В свете последних актов терроризма (Париж, Африка, Сан-Бернардино, Брюссель и крушение российского авиалайнера), члены Российско-Американской Группы “Эльба” уполномочены заявить, что стремительно распространяющийся в мире радикальный исламский терроризм, как идеология насилия, при попустительстве ряда стран, отсутствии согласованного широкого практического сотрудничества по его пресечению и ликвидации, становится главной угрозой в современном мире, как фашизм прошлого века. Необходимо безотлагательно предпринять решительные действия в отношении угрозы терроризма.

    В течение шести лет своего существования Группа “Эльба” придавала особую важность непрерывному и открытому диалогу между политическими, военными и разведывательными структурами обеих стран как необходимому и жизненно важному элементу борьбы с терроризмом и достижения стабильности. Однако, несмотря на наше сотрудничество в решении проблем химического оружия в Сирии и иранской ядерной программы, нам не удалось полностью использовать свой потенциал для совместной борьбы против растущей угрозы исламского экстремизма. Мы призываем правительства наших стран несмотря на проблемы, стоящие на пути проведения совместных операций, создать реальную коалицию для эффективного предотвращения непосредственной угрозы миру со стороны ДАИШ (ИГИЛ) и радикального ислама.

    Участники группы “Эльба”

    Куликов Анатолий Сергеевич, генерал армии, бывший министр внутренних дел РФ;
    Корабельников Валентин Владимирович, генерал армии, бывший начальник Главного разведывательного управления Генерального штаба Вооруженных сил России;
    Сафонов Анатолий Ефимович, посол, бывший Первый заместитель  директора Федеральной службы безопасности России (ФСБ);
    Верховцев Владимир Николаевич, генерал-полковник, бывший руководитель 12-го Главного управления Министерства обороны России;
    Куликов Виктор Анатольевич, исполнительный директор Группы “Эльба”, Российская Федерация
    Джон Абизаид, генерал, бывший командующий Центральным командованием США;
    Юджин Хабигер, генерал, бывший командующий Стратегическим командованием США;
    Франклин Хагенбек, генерал-лейтенант, бывший начальник Военной академии США;
    Майк Мейплс, генерал-лейтенант, бывший директор Разведывательного управления Министерства обороны США;
    Роберт Данненберг, бывший начальник оперативного управления в Контртеррористическом центре ЦРУ;
    Рольф Моэтт-Ларссен, бывший директор по разведке Министерства энергетики США;
    Кевин Райан, бригадный генерал, бывший военный атташе посольства США в России.

    Выступающие

    Фредерик Бен Ходжес, генерал-лейтенант, Командующий Сухопутными войсками США в Европе

    Стратегическая стабильность

    Происходит ухудшение наших стратегических отношений на фоне возрастания угроз, общих для обеих стран. Отсутствие диалога и сотрудничества между нашими правительствами угрожает жизненно важными интересам обеих сторон.

    Отсутствие диалога и сотрудничества между военными ведомствами не позволяет предпринимать меры по повышению транспарентности в отношении намерений сторон и передвижению войск около границ стран НАТО и России.

    Группа «Эльба» считает, что эффективная программа мониторинга войсковых учений, а также заблаговременное уведомление сторон о времени, численном составе войск и целях учений, как и присутствие наблюдателей на них, возможно только после возобновления военного диалога и сотрудничества, приостановленного в 2014 году.

    Группа “Эльба” рекомендует отказаться от всех действий и угроз, способных повысить вероятность применения ядерного оружия.

    Группа “Эльба” рекомендует возобновить военные контакты с целью поддержания военного сотрудничества между Россией и Соединенными Штатами, а также по линии Россия-НАТО.

    Группа “Эльба” рекомендует возобновить контакты специальных служб и разведывательных структур двух государств для борьбы с общими угрозами и прежде всего на антиигиловском направлении (при получении соответствующих директивных указаний со стороны военно-политического руководства обеих стран).

    Представители российской и американской сторон констатировали сохранение разногласий по ключевым проблемам стратегической стабильности и считают необходимым продолжение совместных усилий, направленных на недопущение сползания к военному противостоянию.

    Группа «Эльба» продолжает способствовать разработке и применению современных механизмов по укреплению доверия и договоров по повышению стабильности.

    Терроризм/Радикальный ислам

    Угроза цивилизации, исходящая от воинствующего радикального ислама, является исключительно серьезной и определяет необходимость создать реально действующую широкую международную антиигиловскую коалицию.

    Коалиция под эгидой ООН должна иметь мандат на разработку, выделение ресурсов и проведение всеобъемлющей глобальной кампании с использованием гражданских, военных, экономических и социальных сил и средств, способных ликвидировать угрозу, исходящую от ИГИЛ.

    Участники Группы “Эльба” считают, что действия коалиции должны основываться на нормах международного права и осуществляться при поддержке Совета безопасности ООН. 

    Доверие

    Соединенные Штаты и Россия продемонстрировали, что совместные действия могут привести к изменениям, способствующим разрешению конфликтов и восстановлению мира. Группа “Эльба” рекомендует России и Соединенным Штатам предпринять конкретные шаги по борьбе с общими реальными и неизбежными угрозами и одновременно работать над решением проблем, разделяющими наши страны.

    Ключом к формированию доверия является обеспечение большей транспарентности в отношении политических намерений и военного потенциала. Подобная  транспарентность может иметь место только при наличии возобновленного диалога и контактов между нашими политическим, военными и разведывательными структурами.

    Сирия

    В ответ на прямой вызов, исходящий от радикального ислама, Соединенные Штаты и Россия несут особую ответственность за организацию совместной работы по созданию глобальной антитеррористической коалиции с целью полной ликвидации общей угрозы со стороны ДАИШ (ИГИЛ), Аль-Каиды и их союзников. Среди шагов, которые необходимо предпринять, Группа “Эльба” рекомендует следующее:

    • Создать (возобновить) российско-американский диалог, сформировав в нем группу «Антиигил», имея ввиду поручить ей разработку комплексного плана по сохранению территориальной целостности и государственности Сирии по направлениям:
      • политическом;
      • экономическом (гуманитарном);
      • военно-техническом;
      • специальных служб.
    • Женевские переговоры по Сирии расширить на весь Ближний Восток.
    • Приложить максимум усилий для сохранения достигнутого в марте 2016 года соглашения о перемирии в Сирии. Это станет основой для последующего разгрома ДАИШ (ИГИЛ) по частям.
    • Принять незамедлительные меры по разрешению трагической ситуации с правами человека в Сирии, которая приводит к человеческим ст
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