The USA informs the Baltic States on the plans and development of the missile defence system

24.03.2004. 14:57

On 5 June 2001 in Reykjavik, at the meeting with representatives of the Baltic States, the United States informed about the current situation and future plans concerning development of the missile defence system. This was the first time when concurrently with the consultations with NATO allies and other countries important in the context of the missile defence, i.e. Russia and China, the NATO candidates were also officially informed about these matters. The talks with the NATO candidate countries about the missile defence issues confirm that the United States regards the Baltic States as future allies.

The President Bush's Administration has a comprehensive view on the missile defence: it analyses not only technical matters but also political and diplomatic aspects. This is also proved by the intensive U.S. consultations with its allies - the NATO member states.

The United States continues negotiations with Russia as well. The U.S. representatives pointed out that Russia is no longer an adversary to the United States in the arms race and that there are other problems that the two countries should solve together. The issue of arms control has become more complicated than it was during the Cold War: the proliferation of arms and technologies of mass destruction goes out of control and spreads to more and more countries that are not members of any international regime of arms control.

Even though the United States expects that the negotiations with Russia will have positive results, the U.S. is unable to say for the moment whether the ABM Treaty should be retained in its current wording or it should be reformed.

It is premature to speak about specific dates in the development of the missile defence system yet. The situation could get clearer in autumn, when in the Unites States the process of defence programme analysis will be concluded.

Speaking on the NATO enlargement, the U.S. representatives noted that the question about the admission of the Baltic States to NATO should not be artificially complicated by additional criteria or pretence. The criteria to be fulfilled by the Baltic States as well as by other candidate countries are clear. If Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are able to do that they should be admitted to NATO. Currently the progress of the Baltic States deserves a positive evaluation.

The United States was represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe Mr James Gadsden and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arms Control Mr Robert Fischer from the U.S. Department of State. The negotiations took place in the framework of the meeting of the Political Directors of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic States and the Nordic Countries, where Latvia was represented by the Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Ivars Pundurs.

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