News

Voice of America 3/27/97

COHEN / ARMS ACCORDS

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

INTRO: U-S DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN SAYS THE ARMS AGREEMENTS CONCLUDED AT LAST WEEK'S HELSINKI SUMMIT REPRESENT A "MAJOR SUCCESS" FOR THE UNITED STATES. THIS COMES IN THE WAKE OF REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVE CRITICISM OF THE U-S / RUSSIAN ACCORDS -- ESPECIALLY ONE LIMITING THE MISSILE-DEFENSE PROJECTS THE TWO COUNTRIES CAN UNDERTAKE. V-O-A'S DAVID GOLLUST REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON.

TEXT: THE MISSILE DEFENSE AGREEMENT IS UNDER CRITICISM FROM REPUBLICANS, WHO ARGUE IT WILL LIMIT THE UNITED STATES' ABILITY TO DEVELOP SYSTEMS CAPABLE OF INTERCEPTING MISSILES LIKE THE "SCUDS" IRAQ USED AGAINST U-S FORCES IN THE GULF WAR.

BUT MR. COHEN, A FORMER SENATOR AND THE CLINTON CABINET'S ONLY REPUBLICAN, SAID IN A WASHINGTON SPEECH THE DEAL IS FULLY IN LINE WITH TERMS FOR AN ANTI-MISSILE TREATY THE REPUBLICAN-LED CONGRESS ENACTED AS LAW IN 1995.

///COHEN ACT///

I SHOULD KNOW. I WAS A PRINCIPAL AUTHOR OF THOSE LAWS. I MIGHT ADD THAT, AT THE TIME, SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS EVEN QUESTIONED WHETHER THE PRESIDENT WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO GET THE RUSSIANS TO AGREE TO THIS. WELL, AT HELSINKI, WE PUSHED ON THE DOOR AND RUSSIANS OPENED THE DOOR.

///END ACT///

THE HELSINKI ACCORD LIMITS THE TESTS THE TWO POWERS MAY CONDUCT IN DEVELOPING REGIONAL OR "THEATER" MISSLE DEFENSE SYSTEMS. CONTRADICTING CONGRESSIONAL CRITICS, INCLUDING HOUSE (OF REPRESENTATIVES) SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH, MR. COHEN SAID IT WILL NOT RESTRICT ANY OF THE SIX REGIONAL ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS THE PENTAGON IS WORKING ON. (SIGNED)

NEB/DAG/TMD/RRM

27-Mar-97 2:27 PM EST (1927 UTC)
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