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|Thursday, February 08, 2001, updated at 08:23(GMT+8)|
British Foreign Secretary Urges US to Talk to Russia on NMDBritish Foreign Secretary Robin Cook Wednesday urged the Bush administration to keep its promise to negotiate with Russia before building a National Missile Defense (NMD) system.
"It should be possible to persuade Russia that this is not in any way destabilizing to Russia and should go ahead on the basis of an accommodation with Russia," Cook told reporters.
The Bush administration has indicated that it would take a tougher line than Clinton by vowing to build NMD even if it meant pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, author of a key report on NMD, fueled suspicion in Europe that the Bush administration would abandon the ABM treaty by saying even before he was confirmed in his post that the pact was "ancient history."
But Cook told reporters that US Secretary of State Colin Powell had given him assurances Russia would not be left out of the loop.
"Nobody I met yesterday argued for the abrogation of the Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty," said Cook, who met members of the Senate's armed services and foreign relations committees.
Cook said Russia need not fear that its many thousands of missiles would be rendered inoperable by NMD.
"I therefore very much hope that the administration will carry through the consultations that they have committed themselves to with Russia, and in light of the discussions that took place under the previous administration, it should not be impossible to get agreement," he said.
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