Russian, Cuban leaders regret US decision to quit INF Treaty

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MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. The leaders of Russia and Cuba express their deep regret and are seriously concerned over the US intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, according to the leaders’ joint statement circulated on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Cuba’s Council of State and Council of Ministers Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez signed the joint statement on common approaches in international affairs following their talks in Moscow.

“The sides note that this decision by Washington is fraught with very negative consequences for international security and the system of arms control and urge the United States to revise its intentions of withdrawing from this Treaty,” the statement reads.

Both leaders also stated the intention “to support the initiatives aimed at strengthening the integrity of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, and also at preserving the unity and authority of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and returning its work to the de-politicized course of chemical disarmament in strict compliance with the provisions of the Convention.”

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia, in his opinion, was violating the terms of the agreement. At the same time, he did not rule out signing a new agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces with Moscow and Beijing if Russia and China provide guarantees of halting the development of such weapons.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described the US plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty as a dangerous step. Washington’s position was criticized in Berlin and Beijing. London expressed its support for the US decision, while NATO laid the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, which as the Alliance alleged, violated the Treaty.

Moscow has rejected all allegations and puts forward its respective concerns about the US adherence to the INF Treaty.

The INF Treaty was concluded in Washington on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty eliminated operational and non-operational medium range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-launched missiles. The Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, and the United States, 846.

The United States accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating these accusations while Moscow has been categorically rejecting them.

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