NALCHIK, November 29. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that all problems following the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty should be discussed through negotiations, because all countries share the related concerns.
"These are negotiable issues. No country can afford to say that it does not share Russia’s concerns over the fact that such an important matter of arms control has remained without any documentary or legal control," Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told the media on Friday.
He did not rule out the possibility that Putin and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel might have a separate meeting during the Normandy Quartet’s summit in Paris on December 9.
"As far as the meetings are concerned, the four leaders will meet in Paris on the 9th of December. In what way and in what sequence I cannot say at the moment. Everything is still in the coordination phase," Peskov replied to a question of whether Putin and Merkel might have a meeting. "Of course, all of them [the leaders of the four countries] will have an opportunity to discuss bilaterally the most acute issues on the agenda," he added.
INF Treaty debates in Europe
Germany’s newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has informed with reference to the French president’s message to his Russian counterpart that Macron was prepared to consider the proposal for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe. Earlier, US and NATO officials stated that they saw no sense in Moscow’s proposal for such a freeze, because Russia had allegedly deployed such missiles in its territory.
On Thursday, Peskov confirmed that French President Emmanuel Macron replied to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message on the non-deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe and expressed readiness for a dialogue on this issue. The reply was not a detailed one, but it expressed understanding of Russia’s concerns and readiness to negotiate. Peskov did not rule out the possibility that Putin and Macron might have a separate meeting on the sidelines of the Normandy Quartet’s summit for a discussion of this initiative.
On November 28, Macron claimed that Russia’s proposals for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles were unacceptable in their current shape, but might serve as a basis for negotiations.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on August 2 that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty had been terminated at the initiative of the American side. The United States explained that Russia had refused to meet its ultimatum-like demand for eliminating the new cruise missiles 9M729, which in the opinion of Washington and its NATO allies constituted a breach of the INF Treaty. Moscow dismissed these charges, because the technical characteristics of the 9M729 missile were within the permitted parameters and put forward its own counter-claims over Washington’s non-compliance.
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the leaders of a number of countries, including NATO members, with a proposal for imposing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe and other regions. Such messages had been dispatched to a number of countries not affiliated with NATO, including China. NATO and US officials said they saw no sense in the moratorium, because Russia had allegedly deployed intermediate range missiles in its territory already. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the beginning of November that NATO was reluctant to respond to the Russian initiative.