USA dumping arms pact because of Russia's violations, Bolton says

26 October, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Bolton meets with Moscow after Trump threatens to exit landmark nuclear weapons treaty

Asked whether he and Putin would meet in Paris, Trump told reporters at the White House: "We may".

But the Moscow talks appeared to yield no breakthrough over Trump's stated desire for Washington to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), a step Moscow has decried as risky and many European countries have warned could reignite a Cold War-style arms race.

Trump and Putin met this summer in Helsinki, Finland, and questions still linger on Capitol Hill as to what the two leaders discussed or agreed to.

The Russian president also said his last meeting with Mr. Trump in Helsinki in July was useful despite their tough discussions, adding that he would be open to meet with Trump in France "if the US side is interested in such contacts".

NATO and the USA believe that Russian Federation has been violating the treaty since 2013, when it has tested a ground-launched cruise missile.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, spent two days in Moscow this week to discuss the move with Putin and his top lieutenants.

"I don't foresee that European allies will deploy more nuclear weapons as a response", he told a news conference in his first public comments on the issue since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty.

Putin also alluded to the U.S. coat of arms showing a bald eagle holding a bundle of 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch with 13 olives in the other and playfully asked Bolton if the eagle had "eaten all the olives".

"There's a new strategic reality out there", Bolton, who is National Security Advisor to Trump, told a news conference, adding that the Cold War-era treaty did not address new missile threats from countries such as China, Iran and North Korea, and was therefore redundant. That meeting was marked by Trump's apparent acceptance of Russian statements that Moscow didn't meddle in the 2016 election, a view quickly refuted by top U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers from both parties. Bolton reiterated Trump's vow to formally withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty "in due course", saying Russian violations of the agreement are "long and deep".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russian Federation was to blame for the treaty becoming "untenable".

Speaking at a news conference after holding talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Putin said he wanted to discuss what he called risky U.S. plans to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with U.S. President Donald Trump. The US, under former President Barack Obama, said in 2014 that Russian Federation tested cruise missiles which violated the INF Treaty since 2008.

Russia would mirror any United States deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe if Washington withdraws from the Cold War-era INF treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Downman said there was concern, especially after Russia's military annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, but European Union governments have similarly expressed caution about the Trump administration.

Moscow has said that the U.S. would effectively unleash a new arms race if it unilaterally quits the agreement.

If Trump's critics are right that he ditched the Iran nuclear agreement because Obama negotiated and concluded it, Trump's announcement that he's ready to walk away from the INF Treaty might also imply that, in Trump's view, Obama was dead wrong to uphold an agreement that Russian Federation didn't respect. He warned that the US will begin developing such weapons unless Russian Federation and China agree not to possess or develop them.

The European Union warned Trump of a potential impact on European security if he chose to go ahead and leave the INF treaty.

On Tuesday, Bolton acknowledged the election interference - though he asserted that, "taking what we've seen so far, there's no possibility that the outcome of the election would have been changed". "We don't know anything about their concrete plans, where and when they might deploy their new systems".

But Mr. Bolton said Tuesday said the "threat" is not from a potential "American withdrawal from the INF Treaty, the threat is the Russian missiles already deployed". "Withdrawing from the treaty, conversely, will open the door to a new and unconstrained competition, threatening U.S".

The statement comes as USA president Donald Trump said this past weekend that the United States will withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty with Russian Federation signed in 1987.

Bolton's visit to Moscow was his second in his role as Trump's national security adviser, signaling the Trump administration's intention to maintain contact with Russian Federation despite the uproar in Washington over its interference in the 2016 election.

"I am confident that even small steps will benefit our relations and will help rebuild trust", the defense minister said, according to the Interfax news agency.



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