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21 Oct, 2018 15:22

‘Disastrous decision’: Berlin warns Trump against dismantling INF deal with Russia

‘Disastrous decision’: Berlin warns Trump against dismantling INF deal with Russia

President Donald Trump must think twice and carefully assess all consequences before finally tearing up the landmark nuclear disarmament agreement (INF) with Russia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Sunday.

“We now urge the U.S. to consider the possible consequences,” Maas said in a statement, hailing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as “an important pillar of our European security architecture.”

The deal, banning short- and mid-range nuclear missiles and the means of their delivery, was struck in 1987 between then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The agreement has been since regarded as one of the pivotal moments which effectively ended the Cold War and rid Europe of the fear of a full-blown nuclear holocaust.

On Saturday, Trump announced his intention to terminate the treaty. He accused Russia of violating the agreement – something Moscow has repeatedly denied doing. Germany urged Russia to address the US’ concerns, but at the same time cautioned the White House against axing the decades-long deal.

Niels Annen, minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office, called Trump’s idea “devastating,” stressing that his own nation will remain committed to nuclear disarmament. The minister also called on other EU states to prevent mid-range missiles from reappearing on the continent.

Meanwhile, officials in Moscow warned that Washington’s withdrawal will put similar deals at risk and may sabotage the global non-proliferation system. Senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the lower house of the Russian Parliament, said that Trump’s allies can either follow his example and tilt the world closer to nuclear showdown, or choose a “common sense” approach and stand by the INF.

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