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4 Dec, 2019 14:33

‘We can’t exist in a vacuum’: Kremlin agrees with Macron’s proposal to include Western Europe in talks on INF Treaty replacement

‘We can’t exist in a vacuum’: Kremlin agrees with Macron’s proposal to include Western Europe in talks on INF Treaty replacement

Russia has backed French President Emmanuel Macron’s push for European states to join talks on a ‘new’ strategic arms control agreement after the demise of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).

Talks on the replacement of the defunct INF Treaty cannot be focused only on the prospects of China joining in, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Wednesday.

“First, we need to talk about the Western European countries, on whose territories the mid-range and short-range missiles are also located,” he said. “We need a new treaty because the old one, unfortunately, is already gone – it was done so not by our initiative.”

We cannot exist in a state of vacuum, where nothing is being regulated by international law [anymore].

The INF Treaty between the US and Russia banned all land-based missiles with a range of up to 5,500km (3,420 miles) and their launchers. Washington abandoned the agreement in August, after accusing Moscow of violating it. Russia denied the allegations, but also ended its participation in the treaty after the US left it.

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US President Donald Trump has been saying for months that China should join a new arms control pact in the future, without any concrete suggestions for negotiations. So far Beijing said it is not interested.

French leader Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, suggested Europe should participate in the talks.

“After the decision on the end of the INF Treaty we have to build something new…” he said during a meeting with Trump in London on Tuesday. “And I want a European component to be part of the future negotiations on such a ‘new INF Treaty.’”

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