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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Pompeo: US will suspend nuclear pact in 60 days

Donald Trump had previously threatened to withdraw from the treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia had breached the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty . AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia had breached the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty . AFP

The United States will suspend its obligations under a milestone nuclear treaty in 60 days in response to Russia’s alleged violation of the pact, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

Mr Pompeo announced the decision after NATO allies meeting in Brussels supported Washington’s claim that Russia broke the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action,” he said.

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Read more:

NATO urges Russia to comply by nuclear treaty

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Accusing Russia of “cheating at its arms-control obligations,” Mr Pompeo said a six-month notice period for leaving the treaty would start in 60 days.

President Donald Trump previously threatened to withdraw from the treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Washington says Russia’s new SSC-8 missile system contravenes the Cold War-era treaty, which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

Mr Pompeo said Washington “would welcome a Russian change of heart” but added that he saw no indication Moscow was likely to comply.

Earlier on Tuesday, foreign ministers from other NATO member countries said they “strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations”.

They called on Russia “to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty”.

Russia’s new missile system is of major concern to NATO allies. The US shared intelligence evidence that the ground-fired cruise missile could enable Moscow to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.