EU ‘ex­tremely wor­ried’ about US-Rus­sia short-range nu­clear mis­sile treaty

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

The EU’s top diplo­mat Fed­er­ica Mogherini said Tues­day she was “ex­tremely wor­ried” about the fate of a ma­jor USRus­sia nu­clear mis­sile con­trol treaty, warn­ing the se­cu­rity of Europe could be at risk.

Last month, Washington an­nounced it was pulling out of the In­ter­me­di­ateRange Nu­clear Forces Treaty (INF) over Rus­sia’s de­ploy­ment of a mis­sile sys­tem that Western pow­ers say breaches the 1987 ac­cord.

The Krem­lin has warned of a new arms race, and as she con­vened a meet­ing of EU de­fense min­is­ters Mogherini ex­pressed con­cern, call­ing for talks to save the agree­ment.

“If we go to­ward the dis­man­tling of this agree­ment, Europe’s se­cu­rity is to be put at risk and we do not want to see Euro­pean ter­ri­tory go back to be­ing a bat­tle­field for other pow­ers as it has been for so long in the past,” she said.

“We don’t want to go back to those kind of ten­sions, to that kind of sit­u­a­tion and we still hope there is a space for sav­ing the agree­ment and im­ple­ment­ing it,” she said.

While US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has sig­naled it will with­draw from the treaty, it has not taken steps to put the de­ci­sion into prac­tice.

The INF treaty, signed by then US pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gor­bachev, ended a nu­clear build-up in Europe trig­gered by Moscow’s de­ploy­ment of SS-20 mis­siles tar­get­ing Western Euro­pean cap­i­tals.

The US and NATO say Rus­sia’s 9M729 mis­sile sys­tem breaches the treaty, which pro­hibits ground-launched mis­siles with a range of be­tween 500 and 5,500 kilo­me­ters.

Washington says re­peated at­tempts to per­suade Rus­sia to come back into com­pli­ance since 2013 have been met with si­lence or ob­fus­ca­tion.

NATO Sec­re­tary General Jens Stoltenber­g said Europe should de­mand “full and trans­par­ent com­pli­ance” with the treaty from Rus­sia.

“Rus­sia has de­vel­oped, tested and also fielded new mis­siles, SSC-8, for years. Th­ese mis­siles are mo­bile, hard to de­tect, nu­clear ca­pa­ble and they are putting the INF Treaty in jeop­ardy,” Stoltenber­g said as he ar­rived to join the EU min­is­ters for talks.

“The US is in full com­pli­ance with the INF Treaty, there are no new US mis­siles in Europe, but there are new Rus­sian mis­siles in Europe.”

Trump and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin dis­cussed the INF treaty dur­ing a brief con­ver­sa­tion at World War I cen­te­nary events in Paris last week.

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