25 Oct 2018 18:20

U.S. decision to quit INF treaty already made, to be finalized in a month - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) - The Russian assessment is that the United States will officially announce its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in a month or so, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Regarding the withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which has not yet been officially announced, but the intention was, and regarding talks in Moscow, including President Putin's meeting with John Bolton, during which it became clear that this decision has been made, it will just be formalized very soon, apparently, in a month or a month and a half," Lavrov said on the television channel Rossiya 24 (VGTRK).

"Then the six-month countdown will begin as is provided by the INF Treaty, and after six months following the official submission of the termination document it ceases to be effective for the party that initiated it and for the other party. This was discussed frankly and pragmatically, without getting emotional," Lavrov was quoted on the foreign ministry's website as saying.

"Yes, this is bad, and the Russian president confirmed this yesterday several times and in his other speeches including at a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, that it would be bad if the current mood of the U.S. administration spreads, first of all, to the withdrawal from the INF Treaty, and secondly, regarding whether to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [New START] which expires in 2021," Lavrov said.

Should this materialize, there will no longer remain a legal framework to deter the arms race, he said.

"The Russian president, at a meeting with the U.S. presidential assistant for national security, when the talk switched to the arms control situation, recalled that this not a very good cycle started with the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which forced us to start making products to ensure parity, prevent the deployment of the U.S. global missile shield from jeopardizing our security and keep our strategic nuclear-deterrence forces intact," Lavrov said.