EXCLUSIVE: Russia, West Must Show Interest in INF Treaty - Ex-Ambassador to US

© AP Photo / Matthias SchraderWolfgang Ischinger, Chairmann of the Munich Security Conference
Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairmann of the Munich Security Conference - Sputnik International
While ties between Moscow and Western countries remain strained, the head of the Munich Security Conference urged all parties to maintain "strategic patience" for the sake of détente, in an exclusive interview with Sputnik.

It is important to revive the "CSCE process" that helped overcome mistrust between the East and West in the 1970s, which made it possible to sign the Helsinki Protocol — one of the main achievements in international diplomacy over the last decades, German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger told Sputnik Germany.

The former German Ambassador to the United States explained that while negotiations were difficult, tense and full of doubts and contradictions, the presence of strong political will on both sides ultimately resulted in success.

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A similar process could be achieved today, Ischinger emphasized, adding, however, that parties would need to be patient in order to achieve positive results.

"Strategic patience means that if agreement can't be reached in the spring, it might be reached in fall 2018, and if not then, possibly in 2019. One shouldn't give up. This is one of the lessons we've learned from the so-called CSCE process," the diplomat said.

According to the diplomat, Russia, along with other countries, must show that it is interested in maintaining the European security architecture. This, in particular, concerns the INF Treaty, signed in the 1980s by the USSR and the United States and is aimed at eliminating certain types of missiles, he argued.

"At the moment, the treaty is, so to speak, under fire, as both sides accuse each other of violating it. But in fact […] both Russians and Americans are interested (and, undoubtedly, the Europeans as well) in this treaty not only staying in force, but also being renewed and expanded," Ischinger said.

"In my opinion, if we would approach such issues with sufficient creativity, we could perhaps find areas in which the US, Russia, and we, the Europeans, could reveal common interests to carry out joint negotiations," he added.

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According to the diplomant, Moscow's interest in cooperation with the West, especially in the security field, has so far been insufficient. "It takes two to tango," Ischinger stated, adding that cooperation between the two parties must be intensified.

The Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) was initiated by Soviet leaders in the era of détente to reduce tension between Eastern and Western blocs and resulted in the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975. Although the CSCE process was first met with skepticism in a number of countries, it achieved outstanding diplomatic results and managed to initiate discussions on a number of important issues which fostered cooperation between the rival blocs.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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