Russia slams Washington’s plans to quit arms control treaties

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Moscow, Nov 23 (IANS) The plans of the US establishment to withdraw from existing arms control agreements like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are shortsighted and dangerous, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

Russia and the US have the largest nuclear potentials and therefore have a special responsibility to maintain global security, Lavrov said on Thursday in an interview with Italy’s AGI news agency, according to a ministry transcript.

“We do not understand and are concerned about the desire of the US leadership to change the format and in fact eliminate the existing international regime for limiting armaments,” he said.

In October, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would pull out of the INF Treaty on account of Russia’s alleged breach of the agreement, which Moscow repeatedly denied and warned against a new nuclear arms race, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Meanwhile, some US politicians are also questioning the necessity to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expires in 2021.

“We consider such considerations short-sighted and dangerous. A return to the philosophy of preserving peace based on the concept of mutually assured destruction does not meet the realities of the 21st century,” Lavrov said.

Noting that the two countries need to cooperate on threats and challenges including terrorism, regional crisis and climate issues, Lavrov said Moscow is ready to build a mutually beneficial partnership with Washington.

“We hope that common sense will prevail in Washington in the end. This would be in the interests of not only the peoples of Russia and the US, but also the entire world community,” he said.

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The INF Treaty and the START treaty are both disarmament agreements between the US and the Soviet Union, which were signed respectively in 1987 and 1991. After the expiration of the original START treaty in 2009, a New START treaty was signed by Moscow and Washington in 2010.

Moscow and Washington have been accusing each other of violating the agreements in recent years amid increasing tension between the two countries.

–IANS

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