An agreement reached by Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, to continue discussions on arms control was the most significant result of their bilateral meeting on Friday as this dialogue is important for both countries, Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for International Affairs, Leonid Slutsky, said.
The meeting between Putin and Trump was held on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday in Japan’s Osaka and lasted for 80 minutes. Upon the event’s commencement, the two leaders noted that the negotiations could serve as a good reason for continuing dialogue on numerous issues that have accumulated, TASS reports.
"One of the key issues is definitely about the present-day model of arms control," Slutsky said. "In my opinion, the leaders’ agreement to continue discussions on this issue is a very significant result of their meeting."
The senior lawmaker said that in view of the dismantling of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and a possible failure to extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty), "it was important to continue the dialogue in order to avert the collapse of the arms control sphere and the violation of the nuclear parity."
On the whole, Slutsky continued, "the second meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States once again evokes cautious optimism on the restoration of the constructive atmosphere in the Russia-US relations."
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington warned it would withdraw from the Treaty in six months unless Russia complied with certain terms allegedly related to this Treaty. Specifically, the US insists that Russia should eliminate its 9M729 ground-based cruise missile whose range, as Washington claims, exceeds the limit stipulated by the Treaty.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
On February 5, Trump mentioned the possibility of negotiating "a different agreement - adding China and others."
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.