20 Sep 2017 09:25

Moscow wishes to preserve INF Treaty with U.S. - Lavrov

NEW YORK. Sept 20 (Interfax) - Russia wishes to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press in New York on Wednesday after he met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"As the Russian president has indicated, we would like to keep this treaty in place," Lavrov said.

He was asked to comment on the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the U.S. Senate. One of the Act's amendments stipulates the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

"The withdrawal from a treaty does not require an amendment or the Congress. Any agreement, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, provides this opportunity," the minister said.

Russia would like to preserve the INF Treaty "without its breach by the U.S. partners," Lavrov said.

"We have suspicions about at least three issues. We are suspecting the Americans of developing combat systems, which breach or may breach the treaty obligations," he said.

"We have been frank about our concerns, and the Americans have also made claims but are unable to say what exactly they are worried about," Lavrov said.

"There should be a dialogue anyway. The stance of the Congress is still the stance of the Congress," he said.