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U.S. and Russia Discussing Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Geneva

Jan. 15, 2019 (EIRNS)—U.S. and Russian representatives are meeting in Geneva for inter-departmental discussions on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, according to TASS today. The Russian delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov; the U.S. delegation is headed by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea L. Thompson. TASS noted that the Geneva meeting will be their first encounter since Thompson was appointed.

Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow yesterday, “We are pleased to note that the U.S. side has finally agreed to hold these consultations following our numerous invitations,” TASS reported. At the time the U.S.-Russia meeting was announced, Ryabkov said,

“In the conditions in which we are presented with different ultimatums, preconditions, demands, we demonstrate considerable good will.... We have enough good will; we are ready for serious work, and we will see what happens tomorrow.”

According to this morning’s TASS press review, Izvestia reports that Russian officials are stressing that Russia will not respond to ultimatums, such as that issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Dec. 4, in which he gave Russia 60 days to come back into compliance with the treaty, or else.

“We offered the Americans to discuss the problems at the negotiating table. However, giving us ultimatums does not make sense. Judging by their statements, they are doing everything to destroy the system existing within the INF Treaty,”

a Russian diplomatic source said. Izvestia also stressed that the treaty issue has to be addressed at the presidential level, but that an opportunity to do so was missed during the G20 in Buenos Aires when the expected Trump-Putin meeting was canceled. “The problem cannot be solved without any discussion, if Washington has any desire to resolve this issue at all,” the source said.

Izvestia reported that all of the experts it consulted agreed the problem can be solved, if there’s the will on both sides to do it.

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