RUSSIA, CANADA STRESS COMMITMENT TO ABM... Russian President
Vladimir Putin and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien have
stressed their countries' commitments to the 1972 Anti-
Ballistic Missile Treaty in a statement issued in Ottawa on
18 December. That treaty is a "cornerstone of strategic
stability and an important foundation for international
efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," the
statement reads. Putin, for his part, underlined that U.S.
plans to deploy a limited national missile defense will
"without any doubt cause serious damage to the existing
system of international security," and he welcomed Canada's
proposal that it play the role of "go-between" between the
U.S. and Russia on this issue. The joint statement also urged
the rapid implementation of the 1993 START II treaty and
renewed efforts to reach agreement on START III. START II has
not yet taken effect because the State Duma added conditions
that have still to be ratified by the U.S. Senate. The
details of START III are to be negotiated once START II goes
into effect. JC
...EDGE TOWARD CLOSER TIES. In addition to the joint
statement, the two sides concluded several other accords.
These included a pledge by Canada to help Russia join the
World Trade Organization, a statement on developing Arctic
Regions, an agreement to expand commercial air links, and an
accord boosting ties between Russian and Canadian regions.
Putin's two-day state visit to Canada ends on 19 December in
Toronto, where he will address Canadian businessmen. JC
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