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|Saturday, June 10, 2000, updated at 11:01(GMT+8)|
Russia Specifies Its Initiative on Pan-European ABM SystemRussian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Friday made public the details of the program proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on creating a non-strategic anti- ballistic missile (ABM) defense system in Europe.
At a news conference on the outcomes of the Russian-U.S. summit in Moscow on June 3-5, Ivanov told the press that the content of Putin's proposal to the European countries is following:
-- Jointly assess the character and scale of missile proliferation and possible missile threats;
-- Jointly develop the concept of the all-European system of non-strategic ABM, the order of its creation and deployment;
-- Jointly create the all-European multilateral center for warnings about missile launchings;
-- Conduct joint staff exercises, research and experiments;
-- Jointly develop systems of non-strategic anti-missile defense system.
Earlier, during his working visit in Italy, Putin proposed to Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato to deploy an anti-ballistic missile defense system for the European continent jointly with Europe and NATO and with the involvement of the United States, but did not give the details of the plan.
Ivanov said Moscow is ready to hold constructive consultations on all these suggestions with European states, stressing that Putin's proposal "is a logical development of the Russian idea on international cooperation in the field of non-strategic ABM."
"Russia has no intention to make West-European nations depend on Russian anti-missile technologies," and "this cooperation is not detrimental to the 1972 ABM treaty. Russia believes it is basically important that a European non-strategic missile defense system should be really Pan-European rather than of a bloc nature, " said Ivanov.
He told reporters that questions of strengthening international security and stability, above all, are to preserve ABM treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which were also the focus of the Putin-Clinton talks in Moscow.
The Russian president "clearly expressed flat opposition to Washington's plans of creating a national missile defense (NMD) system and adjusting the 1972 ABM treaty in this connection," and noted that such actions will lead to the destruction of this important treaty,said Ivanov.
At the same day, Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev also expounded Putin's proposal at a meeting of the Russian-NATO Permanent Joint Council in Brussels, emphasizing "Moscow considers it fundamentally important that a European non-strategic ABM system should not create new frontiers of distrust, opposition or confrontation."
However, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, for his part, said Moscow's proposal "deserves attention and requires study and clarification."
During U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Russia on June 3- 5,he and Russian President Vladimir Putin held long-time talks on global strategic stability and bilateral ties, singed a joint statement on the principles of the strategic stability in the world and two agreements on cooperation in this sphere.
According to Ivanov, at the Moscow summit the Russian and U.S. presidents also agreed to set up a bilateral working group to work out measures to fight the terrorist threat from the Afghanistan territory.
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