While touring a number of European countries, namely Great Britain, Germany and France, US Secretary of State Colin Powell informed the leadership of these states about the plans of the Bush administration to unilaterally withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty, CNN reported referring to high-ranking officials in the US administration. The sources stated that Powell had tried to reason away the misgivings of the official London, Berlin and Paris in connection with the US plans. In the mean time, the French Foreign Ministry has emphasised the necessity to maintain the ABM Treaty as an element of the present stability of international relations. The official spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry reported that "France is attaching great importance to the international agreements reached before and would not like to see the ABM Treaty changed on a compulsory basis." London believes it too early to comment on the ABM-related situation since so far the US administration has issued no official statement to this effect. The German Foreign Ministry also abstains from statements regarding press reports about a US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty until the USA issues an official statement. The German Defence Ministry told a RIA Novosti correspondent that it has not received any official information related to this issue and that's why it does not intend to make any statements to this effect. As for NATO, the US declaration of a withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty was not unexpected for the Alliance, a source in the North Atlantic Alliance headquarters told a RIA Novosti correspondent late on Wednesday night.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart