Helsinki Praises US President's Readiness To Negotiate Abm Issues With Russia

Helsinki praises the readiness of US President George Bush Jr. to hold consultations on ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) issues with other countries, including Russia. This was disclosed to RIA-NOVOSTI here today by Markus Ljura, who heads the Finnish Foreign Ministry's political department. According to Ljura, Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja will discuss strategic stability and security with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, due to arrive in Helsinki May 10. In his words, Helsinki hopes very much that a new framework agreement for settling this involved issue will be elaborated as a result of such consultations. Finland is particularly worried about a possible new spiral of the arms race, as well as possible counter-measures in response to the deployment of the US NMD (National Missile Defense) system, he added. Helsinki reacts rather cautiously to the US President's statements on this issue, Ljura added. Washington has no intention of unilaterally abrogating the 1972-vintage ABM Treaty; and this is heartening news, indeed, Ljura said in conclusion.

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