UN chief laments ending of Cold War-era disarmament treaty

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres regrets the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia has ended.

In a statement, the UN chief recalled he “consistently called on the United States and the Russian Federation to resolve their differences through the consultation mechanisms provided for in the Treaty and regrets they have been unable to do so”.

In 1987, US and Soviet Union leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF treaty to eliminate land-based nuclear missiles and medium-range arsenals from Europe.

Guterres said: “In the current deteriorating international security environment, previously agreed arms control and disarmament agreements are increasingly under threat”.

Since its entry-into-force on 1 June 1988, the Cold War-era arms control treaty contributed tangibly to the maintenance of peace and stability internationally and in Europe, playing an important role in reducing risk, building confidence and helping end the Cold War.

According to reports, both sides walked away from the pact, each blaming the other for its demise and triggering fears of a new arms race.

“The Secretary-General emphasises the need to avoid destabilising developments and to urgently seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control”, the statement said.

Guterres calls on Russia and the US “to extend New START and to undertake negotiations on further arms control measures”.