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U.S.-Russia Talks on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty a Bust

Jan. 16, 2019 (EIRNS)—Talks in Geneva on the INF Treaty between U.S. and Russia delegations, led by Undersecretary of State Andrea Thompson and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, respectively, went nowhere yesterday.

“Today we held talks w/ a Russian delegation on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In doing so, we are upholding Sec. Pompeo’s commitment to continue to talk with Russian officials to urge Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty before the 60-day deadline announced on December 4,”

Thompson said in a tweet.

“The meeting was disappointing as it is clear Russia continues to be in material breach of the Treaty and did not come prepared to explain how it plans to return to full and verifiable compliance. Our message was clear: Russia must destroy its noncompliant missile system. The U.S. delegation will brief allies and partners, including at NATO tomorrow, on these discussions.”

Thompson, it should be noted, was previously Vice President Mike Pence’s National Security Advisor, and, before that, was in the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow this morning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia had provided constructive proposals to the U.S. side to make conclusions on the 9M729 missile, the missile that the U.S. says was developed by Russia in violation of the treaty.

“However, the U.S. delegation came to the talks with a pre-set position which was presented in the form of an ultimatum demand that we destroy the missile, its launchers, and all the related equipment, under the American’s supervision,”

Lavrov said. The U.S. side ignored the Russian proposals to address U.S. concerns, provided that the U.S., in return, address Russian concerns about U.S. compliance.

“The logic of the American approach as expressed yesterday is as follows: Russia violates the Treaty, while the U.S. does not,” Lavrov went on.

“Therefore, Russia must do what the U.S. demands, while the U.S. does not have to do anything. This approach is not at all constructive. It obviously is part of the policy for destroying all the agreements in the sphere of strategic stability, starting with the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] agreement. The INF Treaty is another victim. Many countries fear that the U.S. administration also intends to pull out of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as well. We hope this is not the case. We are ready to keep working in order to save the INF Treaty.”

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