DEFENSE MINISTER UNDERLINES MOSCOW'S STRONG STAND ON ABM...
In written answers to questions posed by Reuters, Igor
Sergeev made clear that Russia's position on the 1972 Anti-
Ballistic Missile Treaty is "consistent and unchangeable."
"Russia will not agree to any 'adaptation' of the ABM treaty
that would allow national anti-missile defenses to be
deployed and thus, in fact, destroy the treaty," he said.
Sergeev's comments come on the heels of a proposal by the
commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Vladimir Yakovlev,
to create an "index" of strategic weapons to counterbalance
the U.S.'s deployment of a limited national missile defense
system. Such an index would include both anti-missile systems
and nuclear weapons and would allow a country to increase one
component by making cuts in the other, according to that
proposal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 November 2000). In his
comments to Reuters, published on 5 December, Sergeev said
that there have been no talks on Yakovlev's proposal "and we
will not hold any [such discussions]." The Russian defense
minister is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense
William Cohen in Brussels on 6 December. JC
...STRESSES RUSSIA REMAINS OPPOSED TO NATO EXPANSION.
Speaking in Brussels on 5 December after meeting with NATO
defense ministers, Sergeev said that Russia will develop its
relations with NATO but strongly opposes the alliance's
eastward expansion. Moscow, he said, is seeking to improve
its ties with the alliance "on a new, more pragmatic basis,"
noting that the two sides play "too strong" a role in
European and global politics "to continue ignoring each
other's interests." The Russian defense minister also said
that Russia's participation in the alliance's Partnership for
Peace program will focus on military exercises. He also made
clear that Moscow expects to be given a role in the planning
of such exercises. JC
Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free
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