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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 12:26pm Aug 13, 2001 EST (#7856 of 7905) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

August 13, 2001

Rumsfeld Unable to Sway Russians on ABM Treaty By REUTERS

MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Russia rejected calls by visiting U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday to abandon a landmark nuclear deterrence pact so that Washington could develop a missile defence.

" Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said Rumsfeld had failed to convince him that the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty banning national missile defences should be scrapped.

" ``The existing, multi-layered system of strategic security which exists in the world today fully meets Russian needs,'' Ivanov told reporters.

"\ ``And we feel no compunction to leave...any treaty or accord which we currently have,'' he said.

" Ivanov was speaking at a Kremlin news conference after a meeting with Rumsfeld and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

" Earlier, Rumsfeld said George W. Bush's administration would move ahead with research on missile defence even if such a step violated the ABM treaty.

" He said the agreement had outlived its usefulness after the end of the Cold War.

" Putin told reporters before the meeting that Moscow considered ABM closely linked to the START-1 and START-2 nuclear arms reduction treaties.

" Russia wants to go far beyond the current START-2 treaty which would cut the arsenals of each country by half to about 3,500 warheads.


" Putin said he was pleased the two countries were proceeding with talks on last month's agreement between him and Bush to link discussions on offensive and defensive nuclear systems.

" ``We hope that the high level of Russian-U.S. talks will lead to solutions in the field of offensive weapons and defensive systems,'' Putin said.

" He said Russia needed answers from Washington on new and lower thresholds for the number of nuclear weapons on both sides, as well as suggestions on verification and transparency in cutting nuclear arsenals.

" Ivanov said verification would become a major issue once offensive and defensive capabilities were linked.

" ``What we are trying to do is create a change, a whole new configuration in the U.S.-Russian strategic relationship by looking at both offensive and defensive nuclear systems at the same time,'' he said.

" ``But if you reduce nuclear confrontation and you start reducing nuclear warheads you will need verification, verification becomes that much more important.

" ``Beyond that we now have to also look at how we look at offensive systems and link them very carefully to defensive systems -- and this becomes a very, very complicated algorithm.''

" The United States has said its development of a planned missile defence could soon threaten to break ABM constraints.

" But Ivanov said that talks with Washington could go on for some time. ``I don't see any possible way we can take something that complicated and do it in a couple of months,'' he added.


rshowalter - 12:27pm Aug 13, 2001 EST (#7857 of 7905) Delete Message
Robert Showalter


" At a later forum with academics and Russian defence experts, Rumsfeld stressed that his Moscow talks had covered a wide range of issues from economic ties to jointly fighting terrorism.

" ``I don't want to shock or surprise anybody, but the truth is that our relationship is considerably broader and deeper and more complex than missile defence,'' he said.

" In the Kremlin, he said Washington would have no trouble agreeing with Russia on verification of nuclear cuts although it has not decided yet on how far they could be reduced.

" A senior U.S. defence official, speaking to reporters who travelled with Rumsfeld, said Ivanov's demands to mate talks on offensive and defensive weapons and provide specifics from the U.S. on potential nuclear missile cuts had come as no surprise.

" ``The dialogue is proceeding as we thought it would,'' said the official, adding that ``it was a lively exchange between President Putin and Secretary Rumsfeld.''

" Interfax news agency said more Russian-U.S. consultations were planned next week.

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