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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian companies broke no international norms - defense minister

RIA Novosti

06/01/2007 19:43 VLASIKHA (Moscow region), January 6 (RIA Novosti) - The three Russian companies the U.S. imposed sanctions on did not violate international norms, Russia's defense minister said Saturday.

"As I head the export control commission, I state with all responsibility that all the three Russian companies did not break any international norms, rules and obligations undertaken by the Russian Federation on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology," Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said during a visit to a Strategic Missile Forces garrison in Vlasikha.

The Bush administration imposed new sanctions on three Russian companies and organizations - arms exporter Rosoboronexport, the Tula Instrument-Making Design Bureau, and the Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau - for allegedly selling missiles and weapons goods to Iran and Syria, according to The Washington Times.

Ivanov said the U.S. government must be discontent with the fact that the volumes of Russian armaments and military equipment sales are growing.

"But applying their own legislation to the norms of international law is absolutely unpromising," he said.

U.S. sanctions against Russian enterprises are an attempt to extend American laws to foreign companies, the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier Saturday.

"This is certainly not the first time the U.S. has made an illegal attempt to apply its domestic laws to foreign companies and force them to operate according to American rules," the ministry said in a statement.

The U.S. sanctions against Russian companies are unjustified and unfair, a senior Russian member of parliament said Friday.

"[Our] U.S. partners are once again acting superficially and shortsightedly," said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee.

"Export control in Russia is strict, and all arms sales are in full compliance with control regime mechanisms and Russia's international obligations," he said.

Rosoboronexport said it regards the U.S. sanctions as a form of unfair competition.

"We believe that the imposition of new sanctions is a manifestation of unfair competition with respect to us, as well as to the Russian Federation as a whole," company spokesman Valery Kartavtsev said.

He said Rosoboronexport has not received any official notification about the nature of sanctions imposed by the U.S. State Department.

"We are therefore not in a position to comment on the situation," he said.

The sanctions ban the companies from conducting business with U.S. companies for two years.

Last July, Washington accused two Russian companies - combat jet maker Sukhoi and Rosoboronexport, as well as several counterparts from India and North Korea, of violating the U.S. Nonproliferation Act of 2000 by selling weapons to Iran. Russia denied any wrongdoing, saying all its weapons deals are in line with international regulations.

The sanctions against Sukhoi, the manufacturer of advanced Flanker fighters, and Rosoboronexport involved a ban on financial operations and the denial of export licenses.

The United States lifted its sanctions against Sukhoi in mid-November.

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