Russian Expert Doesn't Think USA Will Quit ABM Treaty With Afghan Operation On

The US Administration is unlikely to determine unilateral exit from the 1972 ABM treaty--at least, not before anti-terror action finishes in Afghanistan, Academician Alexander Pikayev said to Novosti at a news briefing. An exit would very badly tell on US contacts with Russia and China, while Russia--considering the part it plays in the Afghan operation--is far more important to the USA than Germany, France or any other of its long-established allies, remarked the expert. He does not expect Russia and the United States to make an understanding on the ABM treaty and further radical cuts on strategic offence arsenals before next year. Though the matter will certainly dominate the agenda as Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush meet in the USA next month, the summiteers are not likely to come to major agreements related to it. The US military top has not yet finished reappraisals of its nuclear strategies, so Americans are not sure just how far they will get with strategic offence arms reduction. Mr. Pikayev expects President Bush to present key premises of updated US nuclear strategies to his Russian partner on the November summit. To all appearances, the two federal Presidents will make do with a joint statement to voice shared determination for further consultations eventually to agree on anti-missile defence and strategic offence arms cuts. Alexander Pikayev is board manager at the Geopolitical and Military Prognostication Centre of the research Institute of World Economics and International Relations under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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