16 Jul 2019 19:38

Russia not planning to discuss trilateral nukes deal with U.S. without China - Kosachyov

MOSCOW. July 16 (Interfax) - While the United States has proposed that China might be a party to a trilateral agreement on nuclear weapons, Russia is not planning to discuss this deal with the U.S. without China at negotiations in Geneva, Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee head Konstantin Kosachyov said.

"China is currently not a party to agreements on control over medium-range and longer-range nuclear weapons. And as of yet there are no indications that it would like to be party to such. It's at the least naive to go to Geneva to discuss trilateral agreements in a bilateral format. Unlike the U.S., Russia is not even planning to do this," Kosachyov told Interfax on Tuesday, commenting on Russian-U.S. talks on strategic stability scheduled for Wednesday in Geneva, adding that this was his personal opinion.

The media reported earlier that Russian and U.S. negotiators in Geneva might discuss a new nuclear arms reduction treaty involving China.

"The U.S. has pompously announced the discussion of a new agreement on nuclear arms reductions, and it has named China as a potential party to such. This is consistent with the idea earlier proclaimed by President Trump that it would be more logical to discuss a nuclear deal precisely in a trilateral format. And yet, no matter how appealing this philosophy might seem, it contains quite a few catches, which could potentially negate not only the idea itself but even what exists now," Kosachyov said.

"China's predictable refusal to be involved in formats proposed by Washington may serve as a perfect pretext for the U.S. to withdraw from the remaining agreements on nuclear weapons, primarily the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty," he said.

"They might well say it's not they who are to blame, and not even the Russians, but the third party. Persuade China, and then we'll discuss agreements, while now we'll act the same way we acted on the INF Treaty, that is, will simply pull out of it unilaterally and say we were forced to," Kosachyov said.

Moreover, Kosachyov wondered why the U.S. has proposed inviting only China to discuss a new treaty, while there exist other nuclear powers as well.

"There are the United Kingdom and France with their nuclear weapons, and there are other nuclear and threshold powers. The European missile capability is at least comparable to the Chinese, and even though it doesn't threaten Washington, this absolutely doesn't mean that these NATO nuclear missile forces do not pose a threat to Russia. Therefore, it would be logical to involve these countries in the negotiations as well," Kosachyov said.

Anyway, the meeting between diplomats and military officials from Russia and the U.S. in Geneva is quite inspiring against the background of the U.S.' pullout of the INF Treaty and "the following shouts and ultimatums from Brussels," he said.

"At any rate, the transition from the diplomacy of sanctions to diplomacy of negotiations is huge progress in itself. Therefore, we welcome the start of the Geneva negotiations and would also be happy to support it with parliamentary diplomacy methods if the U.S. Congress, which is too much absorbed in playing with sanctions, finds this interesting. We are certainly prepared for a dialogue," he said.