Soviets agree to clear up ABM issue


WASHINGTON -- The Soviet Union has agreed to clear up a long-standing technical violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the State Department said Wednesday, but a major split over a super radar system remains.

State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the Soviet government 'has indicated it will destroy radar installations at Gomel, the deployment of which led to a U.S. finding of an ABM treaty violation.


'This will be a constructive step, which when fully carried out and verified, will fully satisfy our concerns regarding the illegal deployment of these radars.'

He added, however, 'The crucial issue of the Soviet violation at Krasnoyarsk remains unresolved. That is a significant violation of the ABM treaty.'

The two radars to be destroyed are obsolete, but were in technical violation of the 1972 ABM treaty because they were mobile.

In an arms control report sent to Congress two weeks ago, President Reagan described the Gomel radar violations as 'serious,' but the main U.S. concern was expressed over the giant phased-array radar at Krasnoyarsk in eastern Siberia. The report said failure to resolve the Krasnoyarsk issue would bar any further arms control agreements.

Sources said the Soviets informed U.S. officials this week at a regular meeting of the Standing Consultative Commission in Geneva that the mobile radars -- known by the NATO code names 'Flat Twin' and 'Pawnshop' -- would be dismantled.


The Krasnoyarsk installation continues to be what the administration's report to Congress describes as 'a significant violation' of the ABM accord, which imposes limits on anti-missile systems. The superpowers disagree on precisely what the limits are, however, which is one of the areas of dispute over Reagan's 'Star Wars' project.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has ordered a moratorium on further construction on the Krasnoyarsk radar and offered to make it the base for an international space center.

The proposal was rejected again Wednesday, with Redman saying foreign scientists at such an international operation could be expelled by the Soviets at any time, and the radar could be relatively quickly be converted into a military installation.

U.S. officials said that this would give the Soviets as much as a five-year head start if they decided to scrap the ABM treaty.

Redman said the only way the Krasnoyarsk violation could be removed would be to dismantle totally the working parts and to destroy the buildings 'down to the foundations.'

In his United Nations speechlast week, Gorbachev said the Soviets would be prepared to dismantle the radar. Secretary of State George Shultz later tried to pursue what the Soviets precisely meant by the word 'dismantle' but there has been no elaboration from the Soviets.


Latest Headlines