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STRATEGIC ROCKET FORCES COMMANDER ON START II.

OMRI Daily Digest Russia 11 March 1997 1997. All Rights Reserved

In an interview published in the 10-16 March edition of the weekly Interfaks-AiF, the commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Army General Igor Sergeev, said that despite its shortcomings "there is no alternative" to ratifying the START II arms control treaty. The 1993 treaty has been ratified by the U.S. Senate, but not by either house of the Russian assembly, both of which must approve it before it can enter into force. Sergeev endorsed the idea of extending the term for implementing the treaty from 2003 to 2006 or 2007. Some of the treaty's Russian opponents have argued that it would be too expensive to implement in just a few years. Sergeev also linked ratification of START II with strict American adherence to the 1972 ABM treaty. Moscow and Washington have a long-standing disagreement over the interpretation of that treaty. -- Scott Parrish