ON THE ABM TREATY-RELATED MESSAGES BY THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT
On the ABM Treaty-related Messages by the Russian President
In the wake of the passage in the United States of a national ABM system law and the first flying test as part of the development of this system, a threat is hanging over the fate of one of major international disarmament and arms control agreements - the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Systems. This Treaty forbidding the parties to deploy ABM systems for a defense of the territories of their countries and even to provide a base for such a defense is now being unilaterally declared in the U.S. as "inadequate to new threats." Washington's officials, while verbally reconfirming the importance of the ABM Treaty as well as U.S. commitment to it, issue statements that unless the other parties to the Treaty agree to "small" amendments to it, justifying in advance a breach by the U.S. of its central provision, the U.S. may withdraw from the Treaty.
President Boris Yeltsin has sent messages on the circumstances now surrounding the ABM Treaty to U.S. President Bill Clinton, the heads of a number of influential states of the world, as well as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan voicing Russia's deep concern over the dangerous course of events in this field.
The message to Clinton notes, in part, that not only would a wrecking of the ABM Treaty have extremely dangerous consequences for further strategic offensive arms cuts. It would adversely affect the disarmament process as a whole, and international stability. As Yeltsin points out, abandoning the key restrictions set by this Treaty carries with it the threat of a collapse of the process of the limitation and reduction of nuclear arms. Russia would not like to be a participant in this. At the same time, notes the Russian President, a strict observance of the ABM Treaty and all the other accords in the field of the limitation and reduction of arms - as was stated in Cologne - coupled with political and diplomatic efforts at all levels, can well help withstand the threats the U.S. cites in justification of its plans to deploy a national ABM system.
The messages by the Russian President to the UN Secretary General, the heads of the other Group of Eight states and of China, India, South Africa, and Sweden also draw attention to the alarming situation, fraught with serious negative consequences in the field of international security, that the latest U.S. moves in the ABM field and the real threat to preservation and implementation of the ABM Treaty create. Though the number of ABM Treaty participants is small, it actually affects the security interests of every state. In this context the President of Russia noted the particular importance and urgency of consistent international efforts to keep the ABM Treaty intact and implement it.