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Published on Friday, June 14, 2002 by the Agence France Presse
Russian Legislators Condemn US Withdrawal From ABM Treaty

MOSCOW -- Russian legislators strongly criticized as "a serious political mistake" the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

In a declaration the deputies in Russia's lower-house Duma said that the US withdrawal from the treaty "could deal a severe blow to international security."

They also called for extra measures to ensure Russia's security.

The United States on Thursday formally withdrew from the 1972 ABM treaty in order to develop an anti-missile defence system, which was prohibited by the ABM treaty.

Washington had given advance notice of its decision in December.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov on Friday sought to minimise the threat to Russia's security, arguing that the US anti-missile system existed only on paper and that it made no sense to talk about counter-measures at this stage.

The declaration on strategic stability was adopted almost unanimously in the Duma, with 359 votes in favour and one abstention.

Russia had called the ABM treaty a "cornerstone of strategic stability."

Copyright 2002 AFP


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