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Maas calls for new talks on arms control 

New talks on disarmament – Foreign Minister Maas in Brussels

New talks on disarmament – Foreign Minister Maas in Brussels, © Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

04.12.2018 - Article

Russia’s violations pose a threat to the future of the INF Treaty. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for new talks. 

Missile launch during a Russian military exercise
Missile launch during a Russian military exercise© dpa

At the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels on Tuesday (4 December), Foreign Minister Maas called for new talks on arms control. “We want to put the topic of arms control back on the international agenda,” he said. At their meeting, the NATO Foreign Ministers confirmed that Russia was in breach of the INF Treaty. They called on Moscow to return to verifiable compliance with the rules of the agreement.

Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty poses a risk to security

In the INF Treaty, the US and the Soviet Union agreed in 1987 to destroy existing ground-launched intermediate-range missiles and to ban possession of ground-launched systems. Despite this, however, Russia has developed ground-launched cruise missiles and fielded them in its armed forces in recent years. Calls from the West to clear up these allegations have been ignored in Moscow for years.

The US is giving Russia time

Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels
Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

The NATO allies agreed on Wednesday (5 December) that a treaty by which only one side abides does not have a future. The US has announced that it will grant Russia more time to reverse the violation of the Treaty. Otherwise, it will suspend the agreement. Foreign Minister Maas said that it was now up to Russia to verifiably dismantle the cruise missiles in order to preserve the INF Treaty. 

Dialogue and transparency are now priorities

Arms control and disarmament need new impetus, which must go beyond the future of the INF Treaty. Foreign Minister Maas thus wants to lobby for more dialogue and greater transparency. The global political situation has changed radically. New arms systems and cyber warfare are creating new threat scenarios. The German Government is thus of the view that the international community must find a path to new common rules for this situation.

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