Tags: Bush | Missile | Defense | Plans | Draw | Muted | Reaction

Bush Missile Defense Plans Draw Muted Reaction From Moscow

Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM

Called the most significant attempt to change the U.S. nuclear strategy since the Cold War, the Bush plan to make unilateral cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal was reportedly welcomed by what the Russian news agency Interfax called "military-diplomatic sources" in Moscow.

"Moscow has received signals from Washington that there are forces in the American administration which understand the negative consequences of the United States taking unilateral decisions about leaving ABM and deploying a national missile defense system," Interfax quoted the sources as saying.

"Many in Washington understand that the destruction of ABM and deploying an anti-missile shield could undermine the system of strategic stability which exists in the world today and lead to a new arms race," the sources added.

On the other hand, Interfax noted that while Russian officials remain hopeful that Bush will not unilaterally ditch the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, they warned of a new arms race if he does.

In his speech Tuesday, Bush said that the 1972 ABM Treaty was outdated because the world in which it was drawn up - a world in which opposed superpowers were on a hair trigger of mutual destruction - no longer existed. There were other, newer threats, he said.

Interfax also quoted what it called other sources in "Russian power structures" as reporting that they had listened to the speech carefully and that it needed thoughtful analysis. According to the sources, "the report is worth being thoroughly analyzed". They were, however, positive about Bush's remarks on cutting nuclear arsenals.

"The Russian side can only welcome such intentions," the sources told Interfax.

Kremlin sources said that "along with Washington's stance in favor of revising the 1972 ABM Treaty, which was well known long time ago and with which Moscow could not agree, the report by George Bush contains a whole number of constructive ideas that open up a way towards a dialogue with the new U.S. administration on issues of strategic stability".

In particular, the sources praised Bush's statement that the U.S. is ready to continue radically reducing strategic offensive armaments.

They also described as "encouraging" Bush's statements proving, according to the sources, that the U.S. is ready to solve ABM-related issues together with its allies and friends, rather than unilaterally, and to cooperate with Russia for the sake of maintaining international stability.

They therefore believe that Bush's speech can be viewed as "a signal to resume Russian-U.S. consultations on issues of strategic stability, as a whole, and START and ABM, in particular.

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Called the most significant attempt to change the U.S. nuclear strategy since the Cold War, the Bush plan to make unilateral cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal was reportedly welcomed by what the Russian news agency Interfax called military-diplomatic sources in Moscow. ...
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2001-00-02
Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM
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