No breakthrough with Russia on missile treaty, US set to start withdrawal

No breakthrough with Russia on missile treaty, US set to start withdrawal

BRUSSELS: A meeting between Russia and the United States failed to resolve U.S. accusations that Moscow is violating a Cold War missile treaty, setting the stage for Washington to withdraw from the pact, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

The United States is now set to start the six-month process of quitting the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Feb. 2, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson said after briefing NATO allies.

"We weren't able to break any new ground yesterday with Russia," Thompson said of the Jan. 15 meeting with Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Geneva.

"Based on yesterday's discussions and corresponding rhetoric today, we see no indication that Russia would choose compliance," Thompson told reporters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the United States had not properly considered Moscow's proposals to save the pact and prevent a new arms race in Europe.

Moscow says the range of its missiles puts them outside the treaty altogether and that the distance they can fly is not as long as Washington alleges, meaning Moscow is fully compliant with the INF.

The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the U.S. Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: Reuters

Bookmark