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New international agreements on short-and medium-range missiles should be elaborated with regard to Europe’s interests and emerging technologies, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Wednesday after the NATO summit in London.
He called upon European countries to join those debates, TASS reports.
"It is necessary to elaborate a new process of ensuring the stability in Europe," the French leader said. "It should provide guarantees that would at least be equal to those in the [recently terminated] INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty, taking into account both the technological development of modern weaponry and Europe’s interests," he said.
"This problem should be approached with all seriousness, because this discussion plays a major role from the point of view of Europe’s existence," the French leader continued. "Our US ally made the decision to denounce the now-defunct [INF] treaty, which used to be a structural element of European security."
According to Macron, present-day circumstances necessitate the creation of "legal framework, protecting Europe from deployment of Russian weapons that pose a threat to the European territory."
In his opinion, agreements replacing the INF Treaty "should to a greater extent ensure the protection of eastern European members of the alliance, who are closer to [Russia’s] border than anyone else."
"During the upcoming discussion, we need to take their interests into account. Let me remind you that earlier the zones located less than 150 kilometers from the border did not fall under the INF Treaty," he added.
"We should also take into account the evolution of weapons, too," Macron said.
"The threat that Iskander missiles pose to Poland should be taken into account while conducting all new discussions on ‘surface-to-surface’ missiles. They should be included it into the agenda of those talks," the French leader went on.
"I, on my part, favor participation of European states in a new missile treaty," he said. "It is important that this position served as a basis for consultations with both Russia and China, because the United States want this country to be mentioned during negotiations, too.
At the same time, he said that "this [China's participation] should not be viewed as an essential precondition for discussions with Russia on this issue, which is Europe’s concern in the first place."
On August 2, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was officially terminated at the US initiative. The US claimed that its actions were provoked by Russia’s refusal to comply with the American ultimatum-like demand to eliminate the new 9M729 cruise missiles, which, as Washington and its NATO allies believe, violate the INF Treaty. Moscow rejected these accusations, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missiles were within the characteristics allowed by the treaty and laying counterclaims to Washington.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave instructions on August 23 to analyze the threat level in the wake of the US tests of a new cruise missile modification on August 18 and prepare a symmetric response.