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Russia Warns U.S. About Missiles

November 10, 1999 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that talks on nuclear arms reduction could be scrapped if the United States doesn’t uphold the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, according to a news report.

``Russia will be ready for efforts for further reduction of strategic offensive armaments,″ Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency. ``This includes cooperation in areas that ABM deals with, but only on condition that the ABM treaty remains in effect and is strictly complied with.″

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The United States has been trying to persuade Russia’s parliament to ratify the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty and begin negotiating further cuts under a START III proposal. But lawmakers have balked, and with relations tense over ABM, appear no closer to passing the document.

The ABM treaty, signed in 1972, prevents either country from building more than one missile-defense system, on the assumption that fear of mutual destruction would stop either side from launching a nuclear attack.

The United States wants to modify the treaty to allow for a limited missile defense system to protect itself from attacks by rogue states. Russia has opposed changes to the document.

A U.N. General Assembly committee on disarmament recently passed a resolution calling for the observance of the treaty.