Russia welcomes Trump’s offer of new nuclear pact, awaits details

MOSCOW • Russia welcomed an offer by US President Donald Trump to renegotiate a landmark nuclear missile pact after he quit the agreement, while cautioning that it’s received no specific proposals yet.

“We saw President Trump’s statement about the possibility of a new treaty, which should include other countries,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow yesterday. “When our American colleagues actually get to the point where they give us something concrete, we will look at this with interest and I hope in a positive way.”

Trump said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that the US may be open to negotiating another agreement to replace the 1987 IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, one that could include China as well as Russia.

The US gave Russia written notice on Monday of its decision to withdraw from the Cold War-era accord, which bans deployment of short and medium-range missiles

The US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, after accusing Russia of violating the pact, has fuelled growing tensions between Washington and Moscow, and raised the threat of a renewed missile build-up in Europe.

Ryabkov also warned that time is running out to begin talks on extending the other key nuclear weapons accord between Russia and the US, the New START treaty, before it expires in 2021.

Negotiations must be wrapped up by the end of the year, before the US enters a new campaign period for the 2020 elections, said Ryabkov. — Bloomberg