Belgium urges United States to continue nuclear talks with Russian Federation

Posted February 02, 2019

The proposal came just ahead of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement Friday morning that the United States plans to suspend its obligations under the 1987 arms control treaty on Saturday to begin the six-month withdrawal process, and ultimately "will terminate" it if Russian Federation doesn't come into compliance.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) bans nuclear-capable missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,420 miles).

The United States has warned that it will begin a six-month withdrawal process from the treaty on Saturday unless Russian Federation destroys its 9M729 ground-based missile system, which it says breaches the agreement. Tomorrow that time runs out.

"So fundamentally, although you'll hear some hysterics from people who see arms control theologically, this was a very important step President Trump took to make the American people safer".

A senior U.S. administration official told Sputnik that despite the withdrawal, Trump is interested in improving relations with Russian Federation. "This is fully about Russia's violation to his treaty".

"We can not be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other".

According to to the Secretary of State, Russia has six months to salvage the deal while the USA goes through the process of withdrawing from it.

"For too long", Trump said in a written statement issued by the White House, Russia has violated the treaty "with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops overseas".

Ministers from the Baltic countries close to Russia's borders - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - were mostly in support of the USA move and blame Russian Federation. Pompeo said on February 1 that Moscow has refused to take any steps to comply with the requests.

Mr Pompeo said that if, in the coming six months, Russian Federation accepted USA demands that it verifiably destroy the cruise missiles that Washington claimed were a violation, then the treaty could be saved.

"NATO fully supports the United States suspension & notification of withdrawal from the Treaty", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Washington alleges that Russian Federation is in breach of the treaty because it tested a weapon, the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, at a range that fell under the agreement, and has since deployed it. "It is a reality that China is unconstrained, it is a reality they have more than 1,000 of these weapons, but for the United States this has nothing to do with China".

"Russia continues to deny its violations".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies "fully support" the United States' pending withdrawal notice from the INF nuclear missile pact over Russia's actions, a statement by the alliance said. "And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to".

Technically, a United States withdrawal would take effect six months after this week's notification, leaving a small window for saving the treaty.

But a senior administration official said any new missiles were still in the research and development phase and deployment was far from imminent.

The U.S. Navy's top officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, said he had not discussed the INF Treaty with his Pacific counterparts during a recent trip to the region that included China and Japan, among other stops.