Friday, January 14, 2011

Russia inserts amendment into START treaty prohibiting unilateral deployment of Missile Defense system

The Russian Parliament on Friday added several amendments to the new START treaty and subsequently approved the document in the second of three votes. A final vote on the treaty is expected later this month.

The amendments stipulate grounds for Russia's withdrawal from the treaty, including one provision that would allow Russia to back out of the deal if the US were to unilaterally deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted - contrary to White House claims - that the treaty's preamble specifically links offensive and defensive armaments.

"There would have been no treaty without this preamble, and our U.S. partners are perfectly aware of that," he told the Russian Parliament on Friday. “A break of this linkage will force the weakened side to use the right to secede from the treaty."

Senate Republicans, wary of trusting the White House on matters of national security, added a non-binding resolution to the new START treaty [last month] stating the Senate's 'understanding' that the new treaty 'does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses.'

The Russian Parliament, however, sought to counter the Senate resolution by inserting the aforementioned amendment.

President Obama, however, has said that he plans to develop a joint missile defense system with Russia - a precarious and complicated deal, if there ever was one.

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