Withdrawal From ABM Treaty Is Unacceptable For Russia Under Any Conditions

Strategic stability will be in the focus of attention during Colin Powell's meetings with Russian leaders, US ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow told RIA Novosti. According to him, the sides will discuss the implementation of agreements on strategic offensive arms reduction, and nuclear non-proliferation. We should move further as far as all these questions are concerned, the ambassador said and stressed that their solution should be gradual. As far as Russia's stand concerning strategic stability it regards the 1972 ABM treaty as its most important element. The withdrawal from the treaty, Moscow points out, "is unacceptable for Russia under any conditions -- either together with the USA or separately." Moscow admits that Washington, in compliance with the treaty, has the right to withdraw from it unilaterally, but does not intend "to participate in this action". Russia believes that this is an erroneous step which is shattering the world security and stability system. Moscow is sure that new challenges and threats, whose reality became obvious after the 11 September tragedy do not hamper the White House's search for ways of ensuring its anti-missile defence and national security as a whole and observing the ABM treaty at the same time. Russia is of the opinion that the new strategic framework of relations between Moscow and Washington can lead to concluding certain future agreements. However, this variant should not undermine the foundations of the ABM treaty. The voting in the General Assembly shows that the overwhelming majority of the world community supports it.

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