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Russia-US INF dialogue should be revived soon — diplomat

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called the treaty the only still operational nuclear arms control tool
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Vladimir Gerdo/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. The discussion of extending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) should be revived, Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told a briefing Thursday.

"The issue of extending the effect of the INF Treaty as the only still operational bilateral instrument of nuclear arms control is becoming more and more pressing," she said. "Considering the importance of the INF Treaty, we are coming from the premise that the bilateral dialogue on this issue should be revived soon."

Zakharova underlined that Moscow is attaching great importance to arms control, "guided primarily by ideas of responsibility for the world’s fate and maintenance of stability and security." "In the current situation, we consider the dialogue with the US on different issues of extending the INF Treaty crucial in trying to stop further scrapping of agreements effective in this sphere," the diplomat added.

The spokeswoman then emphasized that the format and the level of this dialogue in particular depend on the US side’s willingness to talk constructively.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS that on June 22 he and US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea will hold talks in Vienna. According to Bloomberg, Washington does not rule out the possibility that the negotiations will include an INF Treaty extension.