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The BBC's Paul Reynolds
"Mr Bush presented himself as both hawk and dove"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Bush unveils nuclear policy
Henry Kissinger and George W Bush
Henry Kissinger (left) took part in Mr Bush's announcement
Republican presidential front-runner George W Bush has announced a policy of cutting nuclear missiles and building an anti-missile defence system.

Mr Bush said it was time to leave the Cold War behind and that the US should defend itself against the new threats of the 21st Century.



We should not keep weapons that our military planners do not need

George W Bush
He gave no figures, but said he would reduce missiles to the lowest possible number consistent with US security - unilaterally if need be.

But he also pledged to press ahead with a missile defence system, despite Russian protests.

Mr Bush said such a system would counter not Moscow, but rogue states.

Unnecessary weapons

"We should not keep weapons that our military planners do not need," he said.

"These unneeded weapons are the expensive relics of dead conflicts."


Tomahawk missile
Russia opposes a new US missile defence system

Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and retired General Colin Powell - all veterans of the Cold War era - helped Bush formulate his plan for "a new era of nuclear security".

Mr Bush pledged to press ahead with building a missile defence system to protect the US even if that meant withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty that prohibits it.

Accusations

The Republican accused President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore - his likely Democratic rival in the presidential election - of "denying and delaying" on a missile defence system.


George Schultz
Former Secretary of State George Schultz helped Mr Bush to formulate his proposals
Al Gore's spokesman, Doug Hattaway, replied, saying that Mr Bush was advocating "a radical rewriting of the ABM treaty".

"He is proposing to throw aside work done to develop a feasible missile defence in favour of an approach that would require us to start all over again from scratch," he said.

Summit

Mr Bush also urged Mr Clinton not "to hamstring" the ability of the next president to build a missile defence when he goes to Moscow on 3 June for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit is expected to focus on nuclear arms reduction and disagreement over the ABM treaty.

Moscow strongly opposes renegotiating the ABM treaty to allow US development of such a defence system.

Bush has said he would pull out of the pact if the Russians did not agree to adjust it after "a reasonable amount of time".

"I look forward to meeting with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and explaining my point of view," he said.

"I'm going to look him right in the eye and say 'You're no longer the enemy and we're not your enemy.'"

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See also:

17 Aug 99 | Americas
How will US missile defence work?
20 Aug 99 | Americas
Russia critical of US missile plan
28 Jul 99 | Americas
US-Russia arms talks restart
03 Oct 99 | Americas
US tests new missile killer
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