Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dancing With Missiles

In a joint declaration dated October 28, 2007, Russia and the United States urged all nations to destroy medium range missiles with nuclear capability.

The statement was released to coincide with the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on October 25.

Russia has been pressing the U.S to rewrite what is commonly referred to as the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), by including countries other than ex-Soviet nations and the United States.

The treaty, signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in December 1987, was a milestone in arms control which lead to the destruction of a total of 2,692 missiles.

The joint statement called for the destruction of ground launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

Earlier in the month, Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Russia would find it difficult to stay in the INF unless it was expanded to include other countries' armaments.

His comments were backed up by a warning from Russia's rocket forces commander on Friday that the Kremlin could resume production of missiles if others do not observe the treaty.

Countries such as India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan have commenced the construction of intermediate range missiles. Even though some, if not all, of these nations have nuclear capability, one of them is subject to the constraints of the INF treaty.

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