UN GA President Espinosa says dialogue still possible to keep INF Treaty in force

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UNITED NATIONS, February 12. /TASS/. President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa said on Tuesday she regretted the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty but believes that a dialogue was still possible for keeping the document in force.

The UN General Assembly president said in an interview with TASS she regretted that “the efforts have failed to keep this document in force.”

“But I am confident that there are still possibilities for returning to its discussion,” Espinosa stressed.

In her opinion, this should become “an obligation of all the countries, especially those possessing nuclear weapons.”

“I believe that the INF was a very big step forward for both sides [Russia and the United States]. It is very important for the security of the entire world,” Espinosa told TASS.

“Moreover, I believe that it was an important milestone in the system of international security on the way to disarmament,” she stressed.

INF Treaty issue

The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months unless Russia returns to “real and verifiable” compliance.

On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.

On February 5, Trump mentioned the possibility of negotiating “a different agreement – adding China and others.”.

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