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US says Moscow attempts to maintain edge in space

The United States charged Thursday that Moscow is trying to preserve an unchallenged military advantage in space, denouncing a Soviet proposal for a moratorium on the testing of antisatellite weapons.

Soviet negotiator Viktor L. Issraelyan immediately retorted by accusing Washington of rejecting such a ban because it plans to extend the arms race into outer space.

Louis G. Fields Jr., the chief US negotiator to the 40-nation Geneva Disarmament Conference, said the Soviets for more than a decade have had the world's only operational antisatellite (ASAT) weapon system.

Mr. Fields also criticized the Soviet proposal to eliminate ASAT systems - so-called ''Star Wars'' technology - on grounds it only ''deals in generalities'' on the central issue of verification to ensure compliance.

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