Unofficial TranslationTRANSCRIPT OF PRESS BRIEFING
BY V. O. RAKHMANIN
Director of the Information and Press Department Of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia,
October 20, 1999
V. O. RAKHMANIN
Golos Rossii Radio correspondent
Over the weekend the American press carried articles claiming that Russia was ready to review the ABM Treaty. In this connection we have two questions. First, is Russia's position on the 1972 Treaty changing? And, second, did Russia discuss the possibility of adjusting the ABM Treaty in exchange for the offer of US help in building a radar installation near Irkutsk?
The questions of START-3 and the ABM Treaty are within the purview of the Russian-American consultations. These consultations are conducted in accordance with the Cologne accords between the heads of our countries. Recently these topics were touched upon in the course of the meeting of the strategic stability groups led by Deputy Minister G.E. Mamedov on the Russian side and Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Talbott on the American side. Tomorrow a series of consultations are to begin in Moscow. These are planned consultations between Assistant Secretary of State of the US, Mr. Holum and G.V. Berdennikov, who is now a Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia. During these consultations disarmament and interaction between our countries in this area will be discussed, including anti-missile defense and START-3.
As for Sunday's publications, I would like to say that in the course of consultations between the Russian and American sides, the American side tabled a number of suggestions on the development of cooperation in anti-missile defense. These proposals are confidential in character and I will permit myself neither to deny nor to confirm them.
As for the concrete Russian position regarding that key international document, the 1972 ABM Treaty, I would like to stress that Russia is not engaged in any bargaining over this treaty. Our position remains unchanged and is as follows.
In accordance with the Cologne agreements Russia is conducting consultations based on one premise of principle, namely, the achievement of further cuts in strategic offensive weapons within START-3 is only possible on the condition that the ABM Treaty remains inviolable. We are not conducting any negotiations on any amendments to the ABM Treaty, especially amendments that would alter its key provision banning any deployment of national ABM defenses or creating any basis for such defenses. Russia and the US stated in Cologne that -- I quote -- the strengthening of stability can take place only under the condition of the sides' compliance with their earlier agreements in the sphere of the limitation and reduction of armaments. Of course, this fully applies to the ABM Treaty.