Statement on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
(Source: NATO Foreign Ministers; issued Dec 04, 2018)
NATO’s foreign ministers met in Brussels yesterday to discuss Russia’s fielding of a new missile which they say violates the INF treaty, and called on Russia to return to full compliance with the treaty. (NATO photo)
BRUSSELS --- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has been crucial in upholding NATO's security for over 30 years.

2. Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security. We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty.

3. For over five years, Allies and the United States in particular, have repeatedly raised their concerns with the Russian Federation, both bilaterally and multilaterally. As we stated in the Brussels Summit Declaration in July, Russia has responded to our concerns with denials and obfuscation. Russia only recently acknowledged the existence of the missile system, but without providing the necessary transparency or explanation.

4. The United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force. Allies have emphasized that the situation whereby the United States and other parties fully abide by the Treaty and Russia does not, is not sustainable.

6. Russia's violation of the INF Treaty erodes the foundations of effective arms control and undermines Allied security. This is part of Russia's broader pattern of behaviour that is intended to weaken the overall Euro-Atlantic security architecture.

7. Allies are committed to preserving strategic stability and Euro-Atlantic security. NATO will continue to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance's overall deterrence and defence posture.

8. We will continue to consult each other regularly with a view to ensuring our collective security. We will continue to keep the fielding of Russian intermediate-range missiles under close review.

9. Allies are firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, we will continue to uphold, support, and further strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security, taking into account the prevailing security environment.

10. We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia's actions make that possible. As most recently confirmed at the Brussels Summit, we remain open to dialogue with Russia, including in the NATO-Russia Council.

11. We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.

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U.S. INF Treaty Termination Strategy Falls Short (excerpt)
(Source: Arms Control Association; issued Dec 04, 2018)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today declared Russia in material breach of the landmark 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and announced that the United States plans to suspend U.S. obligations under the treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to compliance.

In a new statement on the INF Treaty also released today, NATO foreign ministers collectively declared for the first time "that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty. The ministers also stated: "It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty."

In delivering the Trump administration's ultimatum, Pompeo expressed the "hope" that Russia will "change course" and return to compliance with the treaty.

But hope is not a strategy.

If NATO member states want to preserve a key arms control treaty that has enhanced their security for more than two decades, they will insist that the United States and Russia exhaust diplomatic options and should put forward proposals for how the two sides can resolve issues of concern about treaty implementation.

Unfortunately, Pompeo provided no indication that the administration wants to make a final effort to save the treaty by engaging in talks with Russia to address the compliance concerns raised by Washington and Moscow.

Notably, the NATO foreign ministers’ statement does not express support for, or even reiterate, Pompeo's ultimatum that the United States will suspend its obligations in 60 days unless Russia returns to compliance.

Once a withdrawal notification is issued, Article XV of the treaty requires the United States to wait six months before it can leave the agreement. Pompeo said the administration will issue a withdrawal notice in 60 days.

Reports last week indicated that the Trump administration planned to give formal notice of withdrawal from and suspend implementation of the treaty today, but the administration was persuaded to postpone that action for two months following President Trump's meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Saturday at the G-20 summit in Argentina. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the ACA website.

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