Deputies of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) on Friday failed to support a draft appeal to the US Congress over the withdrawal of the United States from the 1972 ABM Treaty. With the required 226 votes, the document was supported only by 182 deputies. The draft was prepared by the Duma committees on international affairs and on defence. As Alexei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the defence committee (Yabloko faction), explained to members of the lower chamber of parliament, the US president's statement on withdrawal from the ABM Treaty "may erode strategic stability in the world, contribute to a strategic arms race and disrupt the process of reduction and limitation of nuclear arms". "The US presidential decision runs counter to the spirit of cooperation between civilised states in the struggle against international terrorism," Arbatov emphasised. A similar view was expressed by Dmitry Rogozin, head of the international affairs committee, and State Duma vice-speaker Vladimir Lukin. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, one of the LDPR faction leaders, came out against the adoption of the appeal. He emphasised that "the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the ABM Treaty benefits Russia, since it unties its hands." Next week the State Duma is expected to consider an enlarged resolution on the same question.
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