Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 70

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valery Nesterushkin yesterday said the U.S. could not unilaterally declare that its theater missile defense programs are in compliance with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. At their Helsinki summit last month Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton had seemingly broken an impasse in the theater missile talks when they agreed on the allowed limits for the so-called "higher-velocity" theater missile defense systems. It has long been the U.S. position that each country could make its own compliance determination when it came to its high speed systems, and the Clinton administration has certified to the Congress that all 6 theater systems under development comply with the treaty. Nesterushkin disputed this approach, saying that compliance could only be established "within a legal framework to be approved by the parties to the talks." He noted that such a framework is still under negotiation and said that, in the mean time, the compliance of the U.S. programs with the treaty remain an open question. (Interfax, April 8)

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