The West Comments On Possible U.S. Unilateral Withdrawal From 1972 ABM Treaty

The West comments on a possible U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty. On Wednesday, December 12, U.S. president George Bush officially notified leader of the Senate majority Thomas Daschle and other top officials of the U.S. congress on his decision concerning the US unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty. Commenting on this statement, an official representative of the French foreign ministry pointed to the importance of the ABM treaty as an element of present-day stability of international relations. According to him, the stand of France on this treaty has not changed. France attaches great importance to the earlier reached international agreements, and does not want the ABM treaty to be replaced by another system, the official representative of the French foreign ministry pointed out. He stressed that prime minister Lionel Jospin had stated during his official visit to Moscow last October that the ABM treaty was the main element of international stability, and France did not want it to be changed. London believes it is premature to comment on the situation concerning the ABM treaty since the US administration has not made an official statement so far. In principle, an official representative of the British prime minister's office said, the 1972 ABM treaty is a bilateral agreement signed by the USA and the former USSR. That is why precisely the USA and Russia have the right to solve its fate. RIA Novosti was told in the British foreign ministry that it is thoroughly studying information coming from the USA in relation to the US administration's stand on the ABM treaty and working out its own stance taking this into account. The British foreign ministry's position will be announced later. The foreign ministry of Germany also declines to make any statements on the press reports concerning the US unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty until it receives an official statement from the USA. A representative of the German foreign ministry told RIA Novosti Wednesday evening that it is not customary in international diplomatic practice to react to press reports by making official statements, without any specific documents available. At the same time she believes that this issue will, possibly, be discussed on Friday at the European Union session in Laaken, and the US official attitude to its withdrawal from the bilateral 1972 ABM treaty will be formulated. As far as NATO is concerned, the statements of the US representatives on the US withdrawal from the 1972 treaty are not unexpected, the source at the apparatus of the North Atlantic Alliance told RIA Novosti late on Wednesday evening. At the same time, he pointed out that this is the issue of Russo-US bilateral relations, above all. That why, he believes, it is early to discuss the Alliance's official stand, in whose elaboration all the NATO allies should take part.