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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, U.S. Sign Pact Delaying Missile Ban

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia will have more time to get rid of long-range missiles banned by the 1993 START II treaty, and all five Pentagon programs to defend U.S. troops against missile attack have approval from Moscow.


These are among the results of arms control accords signed Friday by the United States and Russia. Final U.S. approval will be up to the Senate.


At the signing, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said the accords "for many years to come will determine the course of the arms control process.''


Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in an interview Saturday that giving Russia five more years to destroy outlawed missiles improves the chances the Russian parliament will ratify the 1993 treaty that cut U.S. and Russian long-range arsenals by about 50 percent.


In another historic development, Albright and Primakov launched a new partnership between NATO and Russia -- one that some conservative members of Congress worry could provide too much military information to Moscow.


Inaugurating the joint NATO-Russia council, Albright and Primakov spoke of a new era of cooperation between the former Cold War foes, but both acknowledged lingering Russian doubts.


Albright pledged that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would try to earn Russia's trust as the military alliance expands eastward toward Russia's border.


"My only slightly tongue-in-cheek hope is that Russia will come to be bored with NATO,'' she said. "In other words, I hope and expect that Russia will come to know the real NATO for what it is.''


In that vein, Albright said NATO was ready to open an information office in Moscow and welcome a Russian military representative to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.


For his part, Primakov said the partnership could "keep the world from returning to confrontation.'' But he made plain that Russia "continues to be negatively disposed to NATO enlargement,'' which involves the absorption of three former allies of Moscow.


At the first meeting of the Permanent Joint Council, foreign ministers pledged to work together to prevent a slide back to the Cold War.


Bosnia, peacekeeping operations and a working plan between the former adversaries figured on the agenda.


"This first meeting ... has been a great success,'' NATO Secretary General Javier Solana told reporters. "It has been a great meeting, a successful meeting devoted in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.''


Solana said the ministers would meet again Dec. 17. Alliance ministers will also meet in October.


"Our first meeting at the ministerial level was very successful,'' Primakov told reporters.


Russia is to withdraw 500 tons of enriched uranium and 50 tons of plutonium from its stockpiles in line with START II, Yeltsin said Monday, Agence France Presse reported. Writing to the opening session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's general meeting in Vienna, Austria, Yeltsin said the speed of the operation would depend on how quickly the warheads were dismantled in line with international agreements.