Post-Soviet security bloc’s member-countries believe INF treaty must be preserved — Lavrov

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ASTANA, November 8. /TASS/. The Collective Security Treaty Organization member-states are unanimous the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty must be preserved, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

“Yes, we discussed that at the foreign ministers’ meeting yesterday, of course. And in great detail. We are unanimous that the treaty is one of the key instruments to maintain international security and stability and that it should be preserved,” Lavrov told the media.

He recalled that a corresponding statement was made at the CSTO foreign minsters’ meeting in Almaty last summer. It said that the United States had committed violations of the INF Treaty, while Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan strictly complied with it.

“Today we put forward for consideration by the heads of state a draft declaration that encompasses all competences of our organization and contains a special clause on the need for preserving the viability of that treaty,” Lavrov said.

US President Donald Trump on October 20 said that his country would quit the INF Treaty, because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles. In recent years Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow emphatically dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States non-compliance.

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