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The current ABM treaty allows the United States and the Soviet Union only one regional missile defense system each.
ABM Treaty May Need To Be Re-Ratified
Washington (AFP) August 15, 2000 - A former CIA head suggested Tuesday that the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty would have to be ratified again by the US Senate to remain valid after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The ABM treaty has been under attack in the United States because of plans to deploy a nationwide missile defense system, a project that would be illegal under the accord.

"According to longstanding principles of international law, when one country has a bilateral treaty with another and is then 'succeeded' by a different state ... the bilateral treaty remains in effect only if both states so affirm," former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey wrote in the Washington Post.

Woolsey, who also helped negotiate five US-Soviet arms control agreements between 1969 and 1991, argued that the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union had converted the treaty from a bilateral to a multilateral accord, and drastically shrunk the territory under its coverage.

He said that because of these changes "it is impossible to make the argument with a straight face that the changes are not 'substantive.'"

Therefore, argued Woolsey, the treaty must be again submitted to the US Senate, which will have to consider all the changes and agree to them.

"On substantive changes in treaties, the executive cannot act for the United States by itself," wrote Woolsey. "The Constitution requires the consent of two-thirds of the Senate."

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has vowed to abandon the ABM treaty altogether, if Russia refuses to amend to suit US missile defense plans.

The ABM treaty allows the United States and the Soviet Union only one regional missile defense system each.

But Woolsey suggested that "there is nothing to abrogate" unless the Senate reaffirmed the 28-year-old treaty.

Copyright 2000 AFP. All rights reserved. The material on this page is provided by AFP and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 Secret Report Says Missile Shield Could Spur China, Russia Nuke Buildup
Washington (AFP) August 10, 2000 - The proposed US nuclear missile defense (NMD) shield could prompt China to increase by tenfold its nuclear arsenal, and Russia to increase the payload on some of its missiles, the US press said Thursday quoting a secret intelligence report.

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