The United States will cease on Saturday to respect the 1987 treaty with Russia on the intermediate nuclear forces (INF) and will officially withdraw from this pact in six months, unless Moscow stops violating the agreement.
“Russia refuses to take steps to return to a real and verifiable respect” of the treaty, said Friday the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We will officially inform Russia and the other parties to the treaty that the United States will withdraw from the INF treaty in six months.”
The INF treaty was signed 32 years ago by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It aimed at the elimination of all American and Russian ballistic missiles and cruise missiles launched from the ground and having a range between 500 km and 5,500 km.
Washington accuses Moscow for several months of violating this agreement by lining up in its military arsenal missiles Novator 9M729 (SSC-8 for NATO).
Mike Pompeo once again asked Friday for the destruction of these missiles, their launchers and associated equipment, otherwise “the treaty will have lived”.
Donald Trump said he wants to discuss with Russia a new treaty on arms control.
“I hope we will be able to bring everyone together in a big and beautiful hall and write a new treaty that would be much better,” he told reporters at the White House.
CONTINUE TO DISCUSS
For NATO, as for Washington, the Novator 9M729 / SSC-8 is capable of hitting a target 500 to 1,500 km away, which denies the Kremlin that says the range of this missile does not exceed 500 km.
In Brussels, NATO said Friday that it “fully supports” the decision of the United States.
Its Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, later told Norwegian channel NRK that NATO would continue to discuss with Russia in the next six months to try to save the FNI Treaty, whose disappearance would strengthen “instability”. “.
France said it regrets “to arrive at a situation in which the United States had to notify their withdrawal” from the INF treaty.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry added that he called on Russia “to use the six-month period opened by the suspension of US bonds under the INF Treaty to fully return to compliance”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also insisted on the deadline of six months before the official withdrawal of the United States. “It is important to leave the door open for dialogue,” she said.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter that without the INF Treaty the world would be “less safe”.
In Moscow, the Kremlin regretted the US decision.
“The lack of willingness on the part of the Americans to listen to any argument and to carry out substantive negotiations with us shows that the decision to break this treaty was taken in Washington a long time ago,” he said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.