DATE=5/25/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-N / NUCLEAR WEAPONS (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-262801 BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia warns that efforts by the United States to modify the anti-ballistic missile treaty will jeopardize efforts for further reductions in nuclear weapons. Lisa Schlein reports the Russian Ambassador issued his warning to delegates attending the U-N Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. TEXT: Russian Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Vasily Sidorov, calls the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty the cornerstone of nuclear arms control accords. He warns any attempt to undercut the treaty will undermine 30-years of painstakingly achieved disarmament agreements. The Ambassador's warning comes shortly before a planned Moscow summit between President Clinton and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin in early June. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott has just held two days of talks in Moscow to prepare for the summit. Mr. Talbott's efforts to persuade Russia to consider modifying the A-B-M treaty reportedly failed. The United States wants to change the treaty to allow it to construct a limited missile-defense shield against so-called rogue states, notably Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Russian Ambassador Sidorov says the system would violate the A-B-M treaty. He says this would threaten other important nuclear treaties, leading to a new arms race. /// OPT /// China also is opposed to the U-S nuclear defense system. It warns that any attempt to break out of the A-B-M treaty will force China to build up its nuclear arsenal. /// END OPT /// Ambassador Sidorov notes Russia has ratified the START-Two treaty, committing it to reductions in strategic offensive weapons. He says START-Three negotiations, now being conducted, could result in Russia cutting its nuclear arsenal to 15-hundred warheads. But, Ambassador Sidorov warns all this will be lost if the United States goes ahead with its so-called "star wars" defense. The Russian Ambassador suggests Washington drop its military solution and consider political and diplomatic measures instead. (SIGNED) NEB/LS/GE/RAE 25-May-2000 09:15 AM EDT (25-May-2000 1315 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .