Gottemoeller: No back-room deals with Russia on arms cuts, missile defense
The U.S. and Russia made no secret deals concerning arms reduction or missile defense during talks on the new arms cuts treaty, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller has said, RIA Novosti reported.
"To those who may have concerns regarding alleged back-room deals during the Treaty negotiations, let me state unequivocally today on the record before this Committee that there were no secret deals made in connection with the New START Treaty; not on missile defense or any other issue," Gottemoeller, the chief U.S. negotiator of the Russian-U.S. arms cuts pact, told members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
"Everything we agreed to is in the Treaty documents transmitted to the Senate on May 13," she said.
Russia and the United States signed a new strategic arms reduction treaty in Prague on April 8. The new START treaty replaced the 1991 pact that expired in December and is expected to bring Moscow and Washington to a new level of cooperation in the field of nuclear disarmament and arms control.
The treaty is still to be ratified by the two countries' parliaments.
Russia has said it would have the right to withdraw from the new treaty if a quantitative and qualitative increase in U.S. strategic missile defense significantly harmed the effectiveness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.
Gottemoeller said the U.S. "did not agree to Russia's unilateral statement."
"The Russian statement in no way changes the legal rights or obligations of the Parties under the Treaty. The fact that Russia felt compelled to make its unilateral statement is, in fact, a striking piece of evidence that they were unable to restrict our missile defenses in any meaningful way in the agreement itself," she said.
The U.S. opened in May a temporary military base near the northern Polish town of Morag, 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008.
U.S. troops will be deployed to train Polish forces at the site until 2012, when the base is expected to become permanent. Moscow has expressed concern over the base's proximity to the Russian border and suggested that it be moved to a different location.