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Russia keeps door open for talks with US on INF Treaty — deputy foreign minister

The sides have so far failed to agree on another round of consultations
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

GENEVA, January 16. /TASS/. Russia is ready for new contacts with the United States on the future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but the US side has so far failed to respond to Moscow’s proposals, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday.

"We keep the door open for dialogue, we expressed our readiness to continue discussing those issues, but the opposite side has not demonstrated its willingness to pay attention to our concerns or to take into account the additional transparency measures that were being proposed," he told reporters after Russian-US consultations on the issue.

"During those consultations we tried to explain to the US side clearly and in detail that Washington will bear the whole burden of consequences of breaking one of the most important elements in the global arms control framework," Ryabkov said.

The Russian diplomat said the sides have so far failed to agree on another round of consultations.

"We expressed our readiness to continue the dialogue and proposed the date and the venue, but the United States did not confirm it," he said.

"We believe that Washington has apparently passed the point of no return as far as its internal decisions are concerned. However, we believe that we must not wind down our efforts unless we receive the formal notification about the withdrawal from the treaty," Ryabkov went on.

He called upon European countries "to fully realize the dangers of a new spiral in the missile arms race."

Russian-US consultations on the INF Treaty continued more than two hours on Tuesday. The Russian delegation was led by Ryabkov, while the US delegation - by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20, 2018, that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said after a NATO ministerial meeting on December 4 that his country would stop fulfilling its liabilities under the INF Treaty unless Russia returned to "full and verifiable" compliance with it within 60 days. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the following day that the US side had provided no evidence to prove Russia’s alleged violations of the treaty. He stressed that Russia is against dismantling this treaty but will have to react correspondingly if the United States withdraws from it.