Gorbachev slams US over exit from key arms treaty

 thedailystar.net  02/13/2019 18:00:00 

The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev issued a stinging criticism of Washington yesterday, accusing it of misleading the world over its exit from a key arms treaty and seeking to gain military superiority at the expense of international security.

This month US President Donald Trump ripped up a key arms control agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, that Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan brokered in 1987.

Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly followed suit, tasking his government with developing new ground-based missiles and banning his ministers from initiating any future talks to salvage the agreement.

Gorbachev said that according to the treaty the country exiting it should notify the global community of "exceptional circumstances" that prompted it to do so.

In a column published by Vedomosti liberal daily, Gorbachev asked if Washington, the world's biggest military spender, had been able to "explain itself to the international community" and the UN Security Council.

"No, this has not been done," Gorbachev said, adding that instead the United States prefered to accuse Russia of violating the agreement.

The 87-year-old also claimed Washington misled the world when it said it needed to abandon the treaty also because China and other countries not bound by the INF pact were stockpiling missiles.

"This is not convincing either," he said, adding that Russia and the United States still controlled 90 percent of all nuclear weapons.

"Behind the US decision to exit the treaty are not the reasons the US leaders are citing but something completely different," said Gorbachev.

It is, he said, "a desire by the United States to free itself of any constraints in the arms sphere (and) gain absolute military superiority."

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