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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on Nuclear Arms Reduction Talks

1991-10-15

Following up on the President's initiative to reduce nuclear weapons, the U.S. Defense and Space Negotiating Group in Geneva, Switzerland, has tabled a new U.S. approach to an agreement facilitating deployment of ballistic missile defenses.

The United States is now prepared to discuss limits on the scope and timing of defense deployments, consistent with the President's direction to pursue a system providing Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). This new approach builds on the climate reflected by the President's nuclear initiative and the positive Soviet response and should make it possible to reach an agreement facilitating the deployment of ballistic missile defenses to protect against accidental, unauthorized, or third country launches.

As we pursue an agreement in Geneva, it is essential for Congress to do its part by supporting our efforts there and by funding the Strategic Defense Initiative at a level that will enable us to deploy ballistic missile defenses at the earliest point feasible. The Senate's support for deployment of highly effective defenses against limited ballistic missile attacks is encouraging. President Bush urges the Congress as a whole to support this worthy goal.

A negotiated solution governing deployment of defenses that will protect the United States, our allies, and our forces abroad from limited ballistic missile strikes, together with congressional determination to fund such defenses, will make the world a safer place.

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