23 December 2000
U.S. Missile System Aimed at World Domination, not Rogue States
Agence France Presse

MOSCOW, Dec 23, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) The only reason the United States is seeking to deploy a national missile defense system (NMD) is the country's desire to strategically dominate the world, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said Saturday.

The perceived threat to the United States of a missile attack from a "rogue" nation like Iran or North Korea was not realistic, Sergeyev said in an interview published in the Russian daily Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star).

The deployment of the NMD would be "directed against Russia," he told the newspaper.

"Our position remains unchanged. Russia will not accept an alteration to the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty, which would mean (the treaty's) destruction," Sergeyev insisted.

Deployment of the NMD would involved modifying the ABM Treaty signed between Moscow and Washington in 1972.

Colin Powell, expected to be the new US Secretary of State under president elect George Bush, has said he favors deploying the NMD, but Moscow has repeatedly threatened that it will withdraw disarmament agreements if that happens.

Sergeyev also said that Russian relations with NATO were marked by "a great lack of trust", and repeated his opposition to NATO enlargement to include former Soviet states.

Such a move would be "a grave political error," he said.

Russia has adopted a more positive attitude to its relations with NATO since May.

Prior to that relations had been frozen following NATO'S bombardment of Yugoslavia, which began in March 1999.

"Russia and NATO are major players," both in Europe and in the world as a whole, Sergeyev said.

"They cannot ignore their respective interests."

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