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|Thursday, September 06, 2001, updated at 13:42(GMT+8)|
US Senate Committee Leader Against Withdrawal From ABM TreatyThe US Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said on Wednesday that America's unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty is wrong and Congress should hold back funding for a missile defense program that would go against the treaty.
"I do not believe that unilateral withdrawal from the treaty is the right way to go at this time," said Senator Carl Levin when armed services subcommittees met to discuss details of the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2002.
He added that abandoning the ABM treaty signed by the United States and the former Soviet Union in 1972 could merely "leave us a lot less secure."
Levin also complained of the lack of information about the planned missile defense activities, especially those that would violate the ABM treaty.
"We're being asked to approve money in the dark," Levin said.
"We have asked for it 10 different ways, and so far we've been given 10 different answers," Levin said, referring to what Pentagon officials presented at congressional hearings in the past months with regard to the Bush administration's missile defense program.
"They've told us, 'We don't know. It's a work in progress. It's under consideration. It's under deliberation.' They either won't tell us, or they don't know," the senator complained.
Levin stressed that Congress should get informed about whether missile defense activities in the budget would violate the ABM treaty, and Pentagon should not be given a blank check for the development of a missile shield that would run counter to the treaty.
Levin's remarks are a warning shot at President Bush who has insisted that the United States should withdraw from the ABM treaty at a time he considered convenient to the country. The Bush administration's approach has been widely criticized both at home and abroad.
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