START II expires, June 14

The START II is expiring, June 14, 2002. Sergei Ivanov and Igor Ivanov, respective Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, forwarded an official notification on that score to Speaker Gennadi Seleznev of parliament's lower house, report State Duma Council members. The USA has not ratified the treaty to this day, while the Duma did so back in 1999. Meanwhile, the USA quit the ABM treaty of 1972, as was announced, December 13, 2001, to give sufficient grounds to Russia to strip the START II of legal force six months after the USA banged the door on the anti-missile treaty. The move complies with the START and other international legal acts, stressed our Duma informant. The START II has never actually entered into force, with no practical moves made to implement it, he emphatically added. Duma regulations allow the house to take the ministers' information into consideration or denounce the START II. The prospects for its choice are vague now.

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