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STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov pointed out yesterday that U.S. unilateral withdrawal from arms control treaties has consequences. “Today one can hear opinions that nothing will happen if the U.S. abandons the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty. The argument is, that over 15 years ago, Washington withdrew from the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty and there were no catastrophic consequences,” Antonov said. “I don’t think it would be accurate to paint such a rosy picture. Denunciation of treaties or conventions has never led to strengthening of international security, be it the ABM Treaty or the JCPOA [2015 nuclear plan with Iran]. As for a response to the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, on March 1, 2018, our President Vladimir Putin announced a new weapons system, which Russia had been forced to develop in order to maintain strategic balance. We warned our American colleagues about this back in 2004.”
Antonov was speaking at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Studies where he devoted the bulk of his remarks to the INF Treaty. “It is high time for President Putin and President Trump to discuss strategic stability and the future of nuclear arms control, primarily the INF Treaty and the New START,” Antonov said. Russia still stands for continuing consultations with a view to preserve the INF Treaty as one of the cornerstones of international security, he stressed. Antonov continued that reestablishing dialogue between the Russian and U.S. defense ministries is also necessary to better bilateral ties and avoid possible conflict in the future.
“Perhaps, it would be no exaggeration to say that today politicians and political scientists, legislators and arms control experts are worried about U.S. plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty, concluded in 1987,” he said, reported TASS. “It was the first international agreement in history on real nuclear disarmament. Now it is on the brink of collapse.”
“Russia and the U.S. have mutual complaints over the implementation of the INF Treaty,” Antonov continued. “We have always expressed our readiness to maintain a professional dialogue with the U.S. colleagues to address mutual concerns. However, the U.S. administration sticks to finger-pointing, blaming Russia for destroying the treaty. The Americans prefer to remain silent on their own violations. We are confident that should there be political will, a compromise can be reached.”
“There are many problems with strengthening arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. The Russian side is ready for serious substantial discussions on all matters. But the conversation has to be candid, respectful, transparent and professional, with no ‘megaphone diplomacy,’ ” Antonov said. “Creating a crisis is always easier than finding a solution to it. Mending Russia-U.S. relations will take long-term and persistent efforts. A lot of ground, and above all—trust, will have to be rebuilt from scratch. But the complexity and scale of the task is no excuse for doing nothing.”