News

Voice of America 3/25/97

COHEN / RUSSIA MISSILES


NE=DAVID GOLLUST
DATELINE=PENTAGON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

///RE-ISSUING TO INCLUDE CORRESPONDENT'S NAME IN INTRO. ///

INTRO: U-S DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN IS REJECTING CONGRESSIONAL CRITICISM THAT THE UNITED STATES GAVE UP TOO MUCH IN THE MISSILE DEFENSE AGREEMENT REACHED AT LAST WEEK'S U-S/RUSSIAN SUMMIT. CRITICS CHARGE THE HELSINKI ACCORD LIMITS AMERICA'S ABILITY TO DEVELOP REGIONAL ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS. DAVID GOLLUST REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON.

TEXT: MR. COHEN -- THE ONLY REPUBLICAN IN THE CLINTON CABINET -- SAYS HIS PARTY COLLEAGUES IN CONGRESS ARE WRONG TO SUGGEST THAT THE HELSINKI AGREEMENT WOULD THREATEN EFFORTS TO DEVELOP AN ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM TO PROTECT U-S TROOPS DEPLOYED ABROAD.

THE SUMMIT ACCORD, A SUPPLEMENT TO THE 1972 ANTI-BALLISTIC-MISSILE TREATY, LIMITS THE SPEED OF MISSILE INTERCEPTORS. REPUBLICANS -- AMONG THEM HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH -- SAY THE AGREEMENT WOULD CRIPPLE A PRIORITY U-S PROGRAM TO DEVELOP A SO-CALLED "THEATER" DEFENSE SYSTEM THAT CAN SHOOT DOWN MISSILES LIKE THE SCUDS FIRED BY IRAQ DURING THE GULF WAR.

IN A TALK WITH REPORTERS, MR. COHEN ASKED WHY AN ACCORD SUPPOSEDLY DISADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN ATTACKED IN THE RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT AS A CRUSHING DEFEAT FOR MOSCOW:

/// COHEN ACTUALITY///

APPARENTLY THEY FEEL VERY BADLY ABOUT THE AGREEMENT IN RUSSIA, THAT RUSSIA GAVE UP TOO MUCH. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE DID NOT GIVE UP ANYTHING THAT WOULD IMPEDE OUR ABILITY TO CONDUCT OUR THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE TESTING SYSTEMS.

///END ACT///

MR. COHEN SAID THE HELSINKI DEAL IS "COMPLETELY IN ACCORD" WITH TREATY GUIDELINES THE CONGRESS ITSELF APPROVED LAST YEAR. (SIGNED)

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25-Mar-97 1:11 PM EST (1811 UTC)
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