Europeans Call For New Arms Talks With Russia
Nov. 26, 2016 (EIRNS)—The foreign ministers of 14 European countries have signed a statement calling for the re-opening of arms control talks with Russia and warned that the existing arms control regimes with Russia are crumbling. And while the statement puts the burden of blame on Russia alone, it nevertheless is a clear reflection of the continuing fear of a new European war—unless some sane actions are taken to reopen dialogue with Moscow.
They say that for decades, European security has been guaranteed by a rules-based system "firmly grounded" on principles such as territorial integrity, sovereignty, and inviolability of international borders, but that now, these principles are being violated.
"A number of worrying developments and actions over the last years, including the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the following and ongoing crisis in Eastern Ukraine, have raised serious doubts about the prospects of cooperative security on our continent."
On top of that, the existing regime of arms control, including the CFE treaty and the Open Skies treaty, is crumbling.
"Confronted with the increasingly unstable security situation in Europe, we see an urgent need to re-establish strategic stability, restraint, predictability and verifiable transparency and to reduce military risks."
"are convinced that a relaunch of conventional arms control is one important path towards a genuine and effective cooperative security allowing for peace and stability on our continent."
According to Britain’s Guardian, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier organized this initiative in his capacity as president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation In Europe. The 14 signers—Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland—cut across both NATO and the EU. Steinmeier told Die Welt that Europe’s security was in danger, adding that Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis was threatening to turn into a "new armament spiral."
"As difficult as ties to Russia may currently be, we need more dialogue, not less. We have a responsibility to leave no stone unturned in our effort to increase security and peace,"
The U.S. State Department responded with the Obama Administration’s usual "our way or the highway" attitude.
"While the United States commends Germany for drawing European attention to the need for more robust conventional arms control, until those key principles are being adhered to by Russia, it will not be possible to have productive European arms control negotiations,"
an unnamed State Department official told TASS. As usual, there’s no mention of actions by the West that might have informed Russian decisions, such as NATO expansion, the U.S. abrogation of the ABM Treaty and the deep U.S./EU involvement in the 2014 coup in Ukraine that brought a Nazi-backed regime to power, in either the European statement or the U.S. response.