The United States withdrawal from multilateral treaties can foster a large-scale arms race.
At the Conference on Disarmament held in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Wednesday that the U.S. recent withdrawal from both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) leads to an “Arms race” with likely worse consequences than the Cold War’s one.
"Washington made no secret of an intention to have their hands free in order to build up unrestricted missile capabilities in the regions where the U.S. tends to push through their own interests," the Russian top diplomat said and explained that the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM and INF treaties "could lead to a renewed widescale arms race with unpredictable consequences."
The Rotating Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament is held by the United States, a nuclear country whose Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Yleem Poblete accused Russia of "aggressive activities" that have shaken European security.
Lavrov responded said the U.S. stance does not favor overcoming the Conference on Disarmament's crisis and called on Western countries to properly assess the situation.
"We need a new vision for arms control in the complex international security environment of today" -- @antonioguterres at Conference on Disarmament urging countries to seek security in diplomacy & dialogue, rather than weapons. https://t.co/OINdxr43Hz pic.twitter.com/k9f1mXRGwa— UN in Brussels (@UNinBrussels) March 19, 2019
"I'm still confident that we all have enough wisdom and strength to overcome this crisis, preserve and consolidate the existing system of international agreements on arms control and non-proliferation, and complement it with new arrangements,” Lavrov said and hoped that “our Western colleagues will be in a position to properly assess the situation and set their priorities in a new way and rejoin us in the collective efforts to ensure peace and security including arms control."
In early February, the United States confirmed the suspension of the INF Treaty, a multilateral agreement signed by Moscow and Washington in 1988, which prohibited countries from manufacturing, deploying or testing both short-range (500-1,000 km) missiles and medium range (1,000-5,500 km) missiles.
According to President Donald Trump administration, however, Russia developed the 9M729 missile, which the White House has claimed violates the INF Treaty.