Meeting Moscow State University journalism students Monday, US ambassador Alexander Vershbow told them that Russian-US dialogue enables the two countries to come to terms in the long perspective despite the brief present-day differences. In his opinion, the USA's unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty declared last Thursday is not to disrupt international strategic stability since the world is free today of such cold-war factors as animosity and suspicion which prevented Russia and the USA from finding a way toward dialogue at the moment of their concluding the ABM treaty in 1972. Alexander Vershbow made a point of America's non-deployment of any national anti-missile defence system against Russia since a defensive system cannot be spearheaded against anybody. He also pointed to the necessity of examining with greater attention the issue of offensive weaponry. This considered, the ambassador praised the Russian-US accords on the reduction of nuclear warheads down from current 7,000 to 1,700-2,200 within ten years. Russia's proposal is to bring down the number of warheads to 1,500-2,200. The ambassador expressed hope that by the moment of President George Bush's coming to Russia in mid-2002, these accords will have become signed documents to live longer than the tenure of both presidents. America knows that Russia disagrees with us but we believe that the momentary discrepancy ought not to bring about any crisis in our relations, said Alexander Vershbow. He assured that new anti-missile defence systems will be tested in cooperation with the USA's allies and friends, including Russia, and on condition of complete transparency. Asked how the United States accounted for introducing a new national-anti-missile defence system, the ambassador noted that his country wanted to protect itself and its allies from the rogue states as they are acquiring delivery means of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February