Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


4-5US discussing ABM Treaty, intending to work closely with their ability to detect incoming missiles.

DPB #125
MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1999, 12:48 P.M.


QUESTION: Let me try this one. The anti-ballistic missile defense trials - one this weekend - was a resounding success and we know also that the Russians do not want the United States to move any further into anti-ballistic missile defense research, etc. So is it possible that the Clinton Administration might offer the Russians some kind of a deal now that they're suffering from terrorism themselves - could be targets of rogue nations' missiles? Mr. Rubin, is it possible that we could - that the United States could offer the Russians some kind of technologic sharing?

MR. RUBIN: Let me say that the discussions that we are having with Russia are focused both on the threat that we face and that we believe Russia faces; the changes we believe are necessary in the ABM Treaty to accommodate the kind of system we would expect to deploy if a deployment decision is made; and thirdly, a cooperation in the area of early warning and other technologies and expertise.

So yes, we are intending to work very closely with Russia, including technical, scientific and other cooperation to improve their capability to detect incoming ballistic missiles because we believe that some of the very countries that we're concerned about, Russia should be concerned about as well. That's part of the argument that we're making to them, yes.

QUESTION: On the ABM Treaty and the changes required --

MR. RUBIN: If you'd like to follow up, that's okay.

QUESTION: Thanks. I just was going to ask if the Reagan approach - the Star Wars approach where the US would give technology to Russia - could possibly apply in this case?

MR. RUBIN: As I understood that, studying it very carefully in one of my previous positions, that involved giving the whole system to the Russians - sharing the actual operation of a global defense shield which was something that I think most people thought was not on and I don't believe it's on now.

QUESTION: On required changes to the ABM Treaty, other than the location of the single system that is allowed, which is now, I think, North Dakota and we would want it to be in Alaska to cover all of the 50 states - other than that location issue, what other things need to be changed?

MR. RUBIN: I don't think we're prepared to discuss in public right now precisely what changes we'd need to make. You've described an example -- that's not a small example, it's a very big example because you also have the existing site and what would happen there and what you would need to do, if anything, to that site. So there are a number of issues related to the location of the initial deployment if the decision is made and a number of other issues that have to be addressed.

But I'm not in a position to specify the specific changes to the treaty at this time. Do you have another question?

QUESTION: It sort of slipped my mind.

MR. RUBIN: Okay.


(The briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.)

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