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Putin plans to discuss New START, INF Treaty with Trump

Vladimir Putin is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina in November

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said among the key issues on the agenda of a possible Russian-US summit will be the fate of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and also regional issues.

"One of key issues, certainly, is strategic stability," Putin told reporters speaking about possible topics at his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November. "We should understand what will be with the New START and the INF Treaty, and how events will develop here," Putin explained.

"There are other issues related to how our bilateral economic ties will develop," Putin noted. "There are promising areas, and both the US and we are interested in fostering them."

"And finally, the hot spots - Syria, the North Korean nuclear program and relations with Iran in the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Both the US and Russia are involved in these issues and no doubt, we need dialogue at the highest and an expert level," the president said.

The Russian leader said at the recent events in Paris marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice the leaders held an intense discussion during a working breakfast on the issues of global security and economy. Putin and Trump took part in it.

Preparations for meeting

Russia continues preparing for a meeting with the US president, Putin said. Meanwhile, he admitted that any unfriendly steps such as the widely expected new wave of anti-Russian sanctions slapped by the US could make adjustments to the effort. "Any unfriendly steps somehow impact the schedule of work and the schedule of meetings," he said.

Putin noted that he has agreed with Trump to hold a meeting during the G20 summit. "In case this works out, we are ready," he confirmed. At the meeting ahead of the press conference US Vice President Michael Pence said that the US side had been also preparing for the meeting, Putin noted. "Let’s see what comes out of this." "We are ready to restore full-fledged work as long as the US partners are ready."

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles. In recent years Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow emphatically dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States’ non-compliance.

The New START Treaty, which was signed on April 8, 2010, and entered into force in 2011, stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.

The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years with the consent of the parties.