21:09 GMT18 September 2020
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    The US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty is not linked to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and led to all countries feeling unsafe, Russia’s former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United States has funded missile defense research since the 1970s, but was constrained from fielding a nationwide ballistic missile defense system under the ABM Treaty with Russia. In 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and began work on its missile shield in Europe.

    "The terrorist attacks were not the reason for this decision. I reiterate, the firm position Russia assumed regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks promoted a notable improvement in the Russia-US relations," Ivanov said.

    He said the administration of then-President George W. Bush had taken a course to withdraw from the treaty when he first had come to power.

    "Neither the September 11 terrorist attack, nor the consequent thaw in Russia-US relations influenced this decision… The consequences are known – today, 15 years ago, no country can feel safe," Ivanov stressed.

    On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda suicide bombers hijacked four passenger planes in the United States, crashing two into New York City's World Trade Center towers, another into the Pentagon and the fourth was sent in the direction of Washington DC, presumably to attack the White House or the Capitol. Some 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack.


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