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Gorbachev Says Moscow Should Ask Biden to Reiterate Commitment Against Nuclear War

© Photo : Nuclear Weapon ArchiveOperation Plumbob Stokes US nuclear weapons test, predicted yield 10-20 kt, August 7, 1957.
Operation Plumbob Stokes US nuclear weapons test, predicted yield 10-20 kt, August 7, 1957. - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia should once again renew its proposal to the United States to reiterate both countries' commitment to the Gorbachev-Reagan statement against nuclear conflicts as the Joe Biden administration is about to take power, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said.

"It is stated in the joint statement: 'a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. They [the sides] will not seek to achieve military superiority'. Russia, by the way, has recently offered the Americans to reiterate this formula. A new [US] administration is currently on its way, so this offer should be repeated", Gorbachev said.

In July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was concerned by Washington's refusal to reiterate that basic principle.

Gorbachev, who was the first and last president of the USSR, noted that the outcome of his first meeting with late US President Ronald Reagan at the Geneva summit in 1985 remains relevant, especially the statement against nuclear war.

Extension of the Russian-US New START treaty, which expires in February, should be only the first step as Moscow and Washington need to reach agreement on further arms reduction, get other nuclear powers engaged in negotiations, and adjust military doctrines toward no-first-use of nuclear weapons, Gorbachev stated.

Gorbachev recalled he had held many meetings with US President-elect Joe Biden. According to the former Soviet leader, when Biden was a senator he supported all the Russian-US agreements on nuclear disarmament, while in the capacity of the vice president he backed the New START, which was signed by then-US President Barack Obama and then-Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev back in 2010.

"During the election campaign, he [Biden] said that the agreement should be extended. However, I believe this is only the first step. We need to agree on further reduction. We need to negotiate and adjust military doctrines — notably, toward no-fist-use of nuclear weapons, not just lowering the threshold for its use as it happens now," Gorbachev explained.

After that, it would be necessary to involve other nuclear powers into the negotiations, according to Gorbachev.

"This is a very big and difficult agenda. If the United States and Russia really get started on this, that will be beneficial both for them and all the others," Gorbachev went on to say.

Trust Between Leading Powers Is Shattered, Only Dialogue Can Help

Trust between the world's leading powers has been shattered, it will be necessary to start many things afresh, and Russia is in favour of dialogue, as this is the only way to resume cooperation, Gorbachev said.

"It [trust] has been shattered. Now people are talking again about the confrontation between the East and the West, about a cold war, about an arms race. It will be necessary to start many things afresh. I think that Russia supports dialogue, and I know that many people in the West also think that the current situation cannot be extended for several more years or even more," Gorbachev said.

Political will is required to resume normal interaction, and "there is no other way but dialogue." Gorbachev continued.

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