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US Rejects Russian Proposal

WASHINGTON – The United States rejected a Russian proposal to save a key arms control treaty from the Cold War because the pact can not be verified properly, AFP reported Thursday.
The comments, made on January 16 by US Assistant Secretary of Arms Control and International Security, Andrea Thompson, set the stage for Washington’s withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as INF.
After a meeting in Geneva, Thompson said Moscow refused to allow proper inspection of a new Russian missile system that, according to Washington, would violate the bilateral treaty.
We could not innovate yesterday with Russia, said Thompson about the January 15 meeting with officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Based on yesterday’s discussions and the corresponding rhetoric today, we see no indication that Russia would choose to comply,” Thompson told reporters.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of seeking to dismantle the system of arms system pacts and said Moscow was willing to preserve the INF.
Holding his annual press conference on January 16, Lavrov repeatedly criticized the United States in a tense tension between Moscow and Washington.
“Washington’s unilateral actions to demolish very important international legal instruments ensuring strategic stability have not added to optimism,” Lavrov said.
He said that this goal had been “very clearly confirmed” during the negotiations in Geneva on the INF Treaty, saying that the United States had ignored Russia’s explanation.
The treaty bans ballistic missiles launched from the ground and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Under the treaty, nearly 2,700 missiles were eliminated by the Soviet Union and the United States – most of them from Europe.
Russia has warned that if the United States abandons the pact and deploys such missiles in Europe, Moscow would respond in this way.
Without an agreement between Moscow and Washington, a six-month US withdrawal will begin on February 2.
European allies are worried about the deployment of US missiles in Europe, as was the case in the 1980s, when they were caught in the nuclear competition between Moscow and Washington.
Lavrov also reiterated that Moscow wanted to preserve the new 2010 START treaty governing US and Russian long-range nuclear weapons, which should expire in 2021 but can be extended for five years by mutual agreement.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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