- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2001

From combined dispatches
President Bush's top foreign policy advisers yesterday rejected arguments that U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty will alienate Russia and lead to a new arms race.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that Mr. Bush had gone out of his way to establish ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that withdrawing from the Cold-War-era treaty will not disrupt that relationship.
"Guess what? Both we and the Russians see that we have mutual interests that will keep us working closely together," Mr. Powell said on "Fox News Sunday."
Mr. Powell said he had met 16 times this year with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
"This simply did not cause the rupture, because the president spent the time to build a broad relationship with Russia," Miss Rice said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Even though there is a disagreement here, we'll survive. That's quite an achievement."
The national security adviser noted that the Russian president has said a U.S. withdrawal from the treaty "doesn't threaten Russian security."
Mr. Bush announced Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the 1972 treaty signed with the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991 that bans national defense systems against incoming missiles. The U.S. has begun research and testing to develop such a defense.
Miss Rice and Mr. Powell pointed to Mr. Bush's promise to reduce the U.S. arsenal to 1,700-to-2,200 nuclear warheads, and Mr. Putin's pledge of similar cuts.
"The Russians have agreed with us last week that we're not going to have an arms race," Mr. Powell said.
"There's not going to be an arms race," Miss Rice said. "Sorry to disappoint those who've been predicting an arms race."
"This is not a crisis in our relationship with the Russians," Mr. Powell said.

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