US quitting ABM treaty will spiral arms race

BELGRADE, December 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Defence Minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev said on Friday in Belgrade the United States withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and creation of a new anti- missile defence system would lead to a new spiral of the arms race.

Sergeyev said the 1972 ABM Treaty is the corner-stone of strategic stability. "In conditions when the nuclear club is broadening, the stabilising role of the ABM Treaty goes far beyond relations between Russia and the United States," Sergeyev said. He believes that if one country creates and deploys antiballistic missiles system in its territory, other countries will have to perfect their armaments.

"This is a new arms race. As the United States plans to deploy some elements of the new anti-missile defence systems in outer space the arms race will spread to outer space," Sergeyev said. He believes the deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile system will lead to the curtailment of nuclear disarmament and will upset the entire system of arms control treaties.

Major world powers will concentrate on confrontation and will no longer be oriented at cooperation, Sergeyev said. There is a probability of new bloc structures formed by states that do not share the United States views on the policy in strategic arms systems. Sergeyev said Russia will be compelled to take asymmetrical measures to ensure its national security. "Then there will be no point in raising the question of ratifying the START-2 Treaty and concluding a START-3 treaty," Sergeyev said.

"The implementation of the United States plans in anti- missile defence area will lead to a deep destabilisation of the military strategic situation in the world. Russia is firmly for preserving the anti-ballistic missile treaty," Sergeyev said.

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