Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov has confirmed Russia's position that the ABM Treaty of 1972 "is an important element in the system of ensuring strategic stability in the world." The minister said this on Monday after the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Colin Powell in which he took part. According to Igor Ivanov, Moscow "in its forecasts did not rule out the possibility of the United States' withdrawal from the ABM Treaty." This possibility, said he, was not excluded as well in the official statements at a high level, and this is provided for by the document itself. In connection with this, pointed out the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in programmes for ensuring national security "Russia envisages such a variant too." Out task, continued the head of Russian diplomacy, "apart from ensuring national security of Russia, to contribute to strengthening the systems of control for cutting armaments and the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons." Igor Ivanov once more specified the position of Russia concerning the ABM Treaty: "The treaty is useful, and it should be preserved." At the same time he underscored that the Russian side "has never put forth any conditions with regard to the ABM Treaty."