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Russia’s Lavrov Exhorts New Multilateral Nuclear Arms Control Agreements Urgently Needed

March 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Speaking today at the plenary session of the UN Geneva Conference on Disarmament, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his audience that bilateral U.S.-Russian agreements on the reduction of nuclear weapons, as in the case of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has “exhausted itself,” TASS reported. He warned that the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the INF Treaty, could result in a large-scale arms race whose consequences will be unpredictable.

Hence, he said, it is time “to give serious thought to how to make the nuclear weapons control process multilateral and acceptable for all countries involved,” and that the basis for such a multilateral process should be the principle of integral and indivisible security. It makes no sense, he said, “to consider nuclear disarmament separately from the entire combination of factors that have negative effects on strategic stability.” He reminded the conference that all of Russia’s weapons control proposals remained in force.

The Russian Minister remarked that, “I’m sure that all of us will have enough wisdom and strength to overcome the crisis and preserve and enhance a modern system of international accords on arms control and nonproliferation, adding new agreements there.” However, he pointed out, the statements made the previous day by the U.S. representative is “evidence to the contrary.” He was referring to the tirade by Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete, who charged that “the Russian Federation’s violation of the INF Treaty poses a direct threat to European, U.S., East Asian and global security,” according to Voice of America. Russia, she said, is a “malign actor” which doesn’t uphold its “obligations under arms control and disarmament agreements.”

Lavrov also said that instead of a constructive response, Russia has been hearing “only speculations about a resumption of nuclear tests, deployment of attack systems in space and even of the possibility of starting a limited nuclear war.” Such a possibility is utterly unacceptable to Russia and most other countries, he underscored. “It may become a reality, though, if we fail to jointly identify a sound alternative to the destabilization of the international situation, to the further exacerbation of contradictions among states and to upsetting the existing system of multilateral weapons control agreements.”

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