NATO Envoys Reportedly Urge Trump to Keep INF Treaty in 'Last-Ditch Effort'

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoNATO and US flags wave in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels. (File)
NATO and US flags wave in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels. (File) - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The North Atlantic Council, comprised of representatives from each NATO member state, have met with senior US officials to discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) amid increased tensions triggered by US President Donald Trump's threats to withdraw from the agreement.

"Ambassadors in NATO’s North Atlantic Council met on Thursday (October 25, 2018) to discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, with the participation of senior officials from the US…. Today’s meeting was an opportunity for Allies to share views on the INF Treaty, and to assess the implications of Russia’s destabilizing behavior on our security," NATO said in a statement.

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The alliance's member states have agreed to continue consultations on the issue, the statement added.

NATO also reiterated concerns over the new Russian ground-based cruise missiles 9M729 (NATO designation SSC-8) that allegedly violate the INF Treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the 9M729 missiles correspond to Russia's obligations under the INF Treaty and have not been upgraded and tested for the prohibited range. Moscow has pointed out that the United States has provided no proof that Russia has in fact violated the treaty by deploying the missiles.

However, in a closed-door meeting, alliance envoys called on US senior officials to make an effort to renegotiate the INF treaty, Reuters reported, citing NATO diplomats on condition of anonymity.

"Allies want to see a last-ditch effort to avoid a US withdrawal," one NATO diplomat told Reuters. "Nobody takes issue with Russia's violation of the treaty, but a withdrawal would make it easy for Moscow to blame us for the end of this landmark agreement," a second alliance envoy said as quoted by Reuters.

READ MORE: Real 'Wildcard' in US Move on INF Treaty is China — Pundit

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US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that the United States would "terminate" the 1987 INF treaty, claiming that Russia had not honored the agreement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov strongly rejected the US accusations and warned that scrapping the treaty would force Russia to take measures to ensure its security. Several EU countries, such as France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain, similarly expressed concerns over the possible ramifications that the termination of the treaty could bring about.

READ MORE: Stoltenberg Says NATO Doesn't Want New Arms Race While Siding With Trump on INF

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