Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at the Nonproliferation Conference at the Center for Energy and Security Studies in Moscow, October 20, 2017. (Photo by Tass)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Washington to remove its nuclear weapons deployed in Europe
The top Russian diplomat said US nukes deployed in Europe needed to be returned back to US territory.
Lavrov made the remark in a speech on Friday at an international non-proliferation conference in Moscow.
’s position is well-known. We have no intention of joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons…. [Nuclear weapons] complete liquidation is possible only as part of complete disarmament on the condition that equal and undivided security is guaranteed to all, including those who possess nuclear weapons as it is stated in the treaty on non-proliferation,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Lavrov added, however, the world should not expect “considerable results in the foreseeable future” from strategic stability talks between Russia and the US.
“Our dialogue [with the US] continues, I cannot say that it allows us to count on achieving concrete meaningful results in the foreseeable future, but at least it has resumed,” he said.
Lavrov described the situation surrounding the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as a “stalemate” in which Washington “refuses to clarify” its allegations that Russia has violated the treaty.
He said Moscow had its own concerns about possible US violations and accused Washington of “keeping silent” about its own “unscrupulousness.”
Lavrov’s comments come one day after similar remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. Putin said Moscow would respond “immediately and symmetrically” if the United States withdrew from the INF.
Lavrov also said Russia was “skeptical” about the usefulness of further bilateral talks with the United States in the format of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Instead, he urged an expanded format for nuclear-disarmament talks.
“The numbers set by the existent treaty are bringing US and Russian arsenals close to the parameters that other nuclear countries have achieved,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister also called on world powers to support a roadmap proposed jointly by Russia and China to settle the conflict on the Korean Peninsula by making “proactive diplomatic efforts.”
Beijing and Moscow, who are opposed to North Korea’s weapons programs, believe the issue has to be resolved via dialog. “There is no alternative to a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue on the basis of dialogue,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister also stated that Moscow was ready to have dialogue with the administration of US President Donald Trump on all bilateral and multilateral issues. “After the arrival of the Donald Trump administration in the White House, we indicated our readiness to resume the dialogue in all directions.”