TRANSCRIPT 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,
November 10, 1999
V. O. RAKHMANIN
* * *
Moscow welcomes the adoption by the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly Session of the resolution on the preservation and observance of the 1972 ABM treaty, that was tabled by Russia in co-authorship with China and Byelorussia.
The resolution confirms the central role of the ABM treaty in the maintenance of international peace, security and strategic stability in contemporary conditions and stresses the tremendous importance of its full and strict observance by all parties, including in the context of the process of the reduction of strategic offensive arms and non-proliferation. In particular, the resolution specially singles out the central limitation imposed by this Treaty -- not to deploy ABM systems of the territory of one's country and not to create the basis for such a defense. It is noted that the adoption of any measures undermining the aims and provisions of the treaty undermine strategic stability, peace and the further reduction of strategic arms. Thereby support for international efforts directed at ensuring the immutability and integrity of the ABM treaty has been confirmed.
The adoption of this resolution is regarded in Russia as extremely topical and timely because the fate of this agreement, one of the fundamental international agreements in the field of disarmament and arms control, is in danger as a result of the adoption in the United States of a law on the policy of creating a national ABM system, that is prohibited by the ABM treaty, and to carry out the first flight test within the framework of the development of this system. As it was noted by the President of the Russian Federation B.N. Yeltsin, rejection of the key restrictions imposed by the ABM treaty is fraught with the danger of derailing the process of limiting and reducing nuclear weapons. Russia would not want to be a participant of this. We hope that the signal sent by this resolution to those who want to wreck the ABM treaty will be properly received and ultimately help avert this danger.
We note that the resolution, which was adopted in far from simple conditions, got the support of a wide range of states, including France, India, Mexico, Ireland, Indonesia, the Republic of South Africa and Egypt. In this connection we would like to emphasize again that although five states are taking part in the implementation of the ABM treaty, in reality, it affects the foundations of the security of virtually all countries. That is why Russia believes it more than natural that the attention of the entire world community is now attracted to the question of the preservation and observance of the ABM treaty.
We would not want to interpret the vote by the United States against this resolution as evidence that the United States is not ready to confirm its adherence to the ABM treaty. We take note of the statements made by the American administration about the importance of this treaty and the need to make it more effective and viable. Russia will be prepared to work for a further reduction of strategic offensive arms on a mutual basis and further interact with the United States in identifying and averting common threats to our security, this including cooperation in areas connected with the ABM, but on the basis of the preservation and strict observance of the ABM treaty, as it was stated by the presidents of Russia and the United States in Cologne in June of this year.
INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF RUSSIA