Paris concerned about situation with INF Treaty, says Russian diplomat

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PARIS, February 12./TASS/. Paris is concerned about the situation with arms control and non-proliferation in view of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists on Tuesday.

The diplomat said his meeting with French colleagues was part of a dialogue between the countries that continues on key issues on the international agenda, “including arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.

“The Russian side emphasized deep concerns over a crisis in the system of arms control, which is getting worse with the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty,” the diplomat said.

“One of the pillars of this system is caving in, inviting more and more questions about the fate of the 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START),” he pointed out.

“French colleagues are also concerned about this. It seems to me that they are looking if not for the answers to these questions, then at least for ways of solution and approaches to how to deal with this new situation, how to understand it and what could be done in this regard,” the diplomat said.

On February 2, Washington suspended its obligations under the treaty on instructions issued by President Donald Trump. The US launched the process of quitting the accord, which is to be completed within the next six months (in August). Later in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was suspending its participation in the agreement. Moreover, Putin told his ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, underscoring that the United States should become “mature enough” for equal and meaningful dialogue.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, entered into force on June 1, 1988. The INF deal covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers). By June 1991, the parties had met their obligations under the treaty, as the Soviet Union had destroyed 1,846 missiles and the United States eliminated 846.

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