NATO allies 'fully support' US action on INF treaty

NATO allies 'fully support' US action on INF treaty

The United States will suspend compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russian Federation on Saturday and formally withdraw in six months if Moscow does not end its alleged violation of the pact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

"I "congratulate" the whole world; the United States has taken another step toward its destruction today", Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia's parliament, said.

"Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in six months, " Trump said in a written statement.

"We are heading into a direction we have not been in in 40 years: no arms control limits or rules that we are both following, and that is very unsafe", said Lynn Rusten, a senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council during the Obama administration who is now a vice president at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

US President Donald Trump is pulling the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a 1987 pact with the former Soviet Union that became a pillar of worldwide arms control.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make an announcement on the fate of the treaty at 1300 GMT Friday.

The official said if that happens "then the United States would unsuspend".

"All NATO allies agree that Russia's violation is a material breach of the treaty and that the United States is in compliance with the treaty", Hutchison said. The treaty bans ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 kilometers (310 miles) and 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles).

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Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thompson said this month no progress has been made. "We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and our other allies and partners to deny Russian Federation any military advantage from its unlawful conduct". "We can not be the only country bound by a treaty".

NATO-Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russian Federation showed no sign as late as last week that it was willing to return to compliance in talks with allied ambassadors.

"It is clear to us that Russian Federation has violated this treaty".

The future of the treaty is still unknown as President Trump pushes for China to come under its authority, and continues to claim Russian Federation has long flouted the rules.

In an interview, Thompson said that suspension of United States obligations would allow the USA military to immediately begin developing its own longer-range missiles if it chose to do so, raising the prospect they could be deployed in Europe.

The United States is suspending one of the last major nuclear arms control treaties with Russian Federation after heated conversations between the two powers recently failed to resolve a long-running accusation that Moscow is violating the Reagan-era treaty.

"Russia will feel more legitimized to continue what it's doing now, but also increasing some of its efforts on missile technology and deploying them", said a European official.

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament at the Arms Control Association, said Thursday the Trump administration has failed to exhaust diplomatic options to save the treaty.

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