Updated: 14-Nov-2001 1986

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The explosion at the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in April 1986 has severe repercussions, not only in terms of human suffering and catastrophic environmental damage but also in political terms. It starkly illustrates the potential scale of threats to mankind from beyond national borders, and beyond the control of individual countries or even continents. The provision of help from the West seems to point to the international cooperation that could lie ahead.

Although the outcome of a meeting between President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev in Reykjavik in October 1986 is disappointing, a great deal of fruitful work is subsequently done by both sides in preparing proposals. The breakthrough comes in December 1987 when the two leaders, meeting in Washington, sign the INF Treaty.

For the first time, the United States and the Soviet Union agree to eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons - all land-based intermediate and shorter range missiles with a range of 500 - 5,500 kilometres. Some 670 deployed Soviet missiles, including 405 SS-20s, each capable of carrying three nuclear warheads, will be destroyed, together with about 440 deployed US missiles. Furthermore, the Soviet Union accepts the most comprehensive verification programme, including on-site inspections, ever agreed by the superpowers.


1 Jan

Portugal and Spain become members of the European Economic Community (EEC).

12 Mar

In a referendum organised by Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, Spanish voters support the continued membership of Spain in the Atlantic Alliance without participation in NATOs integrated military structure.

15 Apr

In response to terrorist attacks attributed to Libya, United States forces attack targets in Tripoli and Benghazi.

15 Apr-26 May

CSCE Experts Meeting on Human Contacts, Berne.

26 Apr

Nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station in the Soviet Union.

29-30 May

Foreign Ministers issue a Statement on the Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Halifax, Canada, calling on the Soviet Union to join them in taking bold new steps to promote peace, security and a productive East-West dialogue. Ministers establish a High-Level Task Force on Conventional Arms Control.

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22 Sept

End of Stockholm Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (CDE). Concluding document (dated 19 September) includes mandatory measures for notification, observation and on-site inspection of military manoeuvres of participating countries.

13 Oct

At a special session of the North Atlantic Council attended by Foreign and Defence Ministers in Brussels, US Secretary of State Schultz briefs the Council on the negative outcome of the Reykjavik Summit 11-13 October.

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21-22 Oct

Ministerial meeting of NATOs Nuclear Planning Group in Gleneagles, Scotland. Defence Ministers express support for President Reagans arms control programme.

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4 Nov

The third CSCE Follow-up Conference opens in Vienna.

24 Nov

Professor Karl Kaiser (Federal Republic of Germany) receives the third Atlantic Award for services to the Alliance.

11 Dec

NATO Foreign Ministers issue the Brussels Declaration on Conventional Arms Control calling for negotiations on conventional stability, aimed at eliminating existing disparities from the Atlantic to the Urals and establishing conventional stability at lower levels; and on further confidence and security building measures.

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