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Top German diplomat opposes deployment of US medium-range missiles in Europe
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has spoken out against the deployment of US medium-range missiles with nuclear warheads in Europe in the event of Washington’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"Europe should not turn into a platform for discussions on arms buildup under any circumstances," the minister said in an interview with the DPA news agency published on Wednesday.
"The deployment of new medium-range missiles in Germany would encounter huge dissatisfaction."
"Nuclear weapons buildup would be a totally erroneous response," Maas stressed, commenting on accusations of violating the INF Treaty against Russia. "The policy of the 1980s will not help answer modern-day questions."
US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called this decision a dangerous move, while Berlin and Beijing likewise criticized it. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States, and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, claiming that Moscow had violated the treaty.
The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles. In recent years, Washington has repeatedly alleged that Russia had breached the agreement. Moscow has rejected the accusations countering them with its own claims over the United States’ failure to comply with it.
[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 26Dec18]
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