Russia's Parliament: U.S. Seeks Strengthening of Relations with Russia

The United States senate's ratification of the treaty on strategic offensive reductions "has manifested the desire to strengthen relations with Russia, on one hand, and a kind of curtsy to our side before a session of the United Nations Security Council which will consider an Iraq resolution, to which Russia cannot agree, on the other hand", said Konstantin Kosachev on Friday. He is the deputy chairman of the international committee of the State Duma (the lower parliamentary chamber) and the first deputy chief of the Fatherland-All Russia faction.

"The unanimous approval of the treaty by senators certainly sets a good tone for a further dialogue between Russia and the United States", said the deputy. He recalled that, under the treaty, the nuclear arsenal of each side is by 2012 to be cut by almost two thirds, or between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads. Now the United States has 6,000 warheads and Russia 5,500 warheads.

"On the other hand, it looks like senators were somewhat tricky in the final unanimous voting", believes Kosachev. "First, the discussion was not very much unanimous. For instance, democrats voiced serious preoccupation over the treaty neglecting a schedule for the reduction of the sides' nuclear arsenals. What's more, the treaty says nothing of the conduct of control. But, realizing that the procedure of withdrawal from the treaty is simple and they can at any time reverse the decision, they did not argue any more". Second, senators "understood that a refusal to ratify will unilaterally rid the United States of the opportunity to gain the adoption of a new Iraq resolution because of Russia's right of veto and, on the whole, will seriously complicate relations with Moscow", said Konstantin Kosachev.

As regards Duma ratification of the treaty, he believes that the State Duma "will certainly ratify it, though with account for the five reservations which the Russian president is now considering".