We have to ban war: Gor­bachev

Otago Daily Times - - WORLD -

MOSCOW: Mikhail Gor­bachev, the last Soviet leader, warned yesterday against ris­ing ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and the United States and said there should be no re­turn to the Cold War.

The frail 87­year­old was phys­i­cally helped by aides to a cin­ema hall to watch the pre­miere in Rus­sia of a doc­u­men­tary about his life, his Soviet re­forms in the 1980s and his arms­con­trol drive that helped end the Cold War.

His legacy has come un­der a pall as ties be­tween Moscow and Washington have fallen to post­Cold War lows, fol­low­ing Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea in 2014 and rows over sanc­tions, elec­tion med­dling and the poi­son­ing of a spy in Eng­land.

He spoke briefly to a cin­ema hall in Moscow af­ter watch­ing Meet­ing Gor­bachev, di­rected by film­mak­ers Werner Her­zog and An­dre Singer, and was asked if the world would hold back from a new Cold War.

‘‘We must hold back,’’ he said. ‘‘And not just from the Cold War. We have to con­tinue the course we mapped. We have to ban war once and for all. Most im­por­tant is to get rid of nu­clear weapons.’’

Reviled by many Rus­sians as the man whose re­forms ul­ti­mately led to the Soviet break­up, Gor­bachev is lauded in the West as the man who helped end the Cold War.

He said the world was mov­ing dan­ger­ously closer to a new arms race.

Last month in a col­umn for The New York Gor­bachev de­nounced the United States af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he planned to quit the In­ter­me­di­ateRange Nu­clear Forces Treaty, which Gor­bachev and Ron­ald Rea­gan signed in 1987.

In a pre­pared mes­sage read out by an aide be­fore the film, Gor­bachev al­luded to the ar­ti­cle and said ‘‘I am con­vinced we can stop a new Cold War. I will do every­thing for this.

‘‘Most dan­ger­ous would be a re­turn to con­fronta­tion, the start of a new arms race. They are al­ready talk­ing about a nu­clear war as if this is some­thing en­tirely ac­cept­able. It is be­ing pre­pared; sce­nar­ios are be­ing dis­cussed.’’ — Reuters

PHOTO: REUTERS

Mark my words . . . Soviet pres­i­dent Mikhail Gor­bachev ges­tures as he at­tends the Rus­sian pre­miere in Moscow yesterday, of the doc­u­men­tary Meet­ing Gor­bachev.

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