JRL NEWSWATCH: “Is there a glimmer of hope for the INF Treaty?” – Brookings/ Steven Pifer

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“… Russian officials said they would like to discuss INF Treaty compliance concerns. … Washington should test whether those suggestions represent just more Kremlin posturing or a serious effort to save the treaty. … NATO foreign ministers stated that … the 9M729 constituted a material breach of the INF Treaty. Secretary of State Pompeo … said that, if Russia did not return to compliance within 60 days, the United States would suspend its obligations under the treaty …. Are the Russians willing to exhibit the 9M729 and provide a technical briefing to American experts … ? … entail[ing] questions about the capacity of the missile’s fuel tanks and power of its engine. …. Senior American officials, however, have allowed for the possibility that Russia might satisfy U.S. concerns by modifying the missile [to alter its range.] …. a Russian foreign ministry official ruled out a unilateral demonstration of the 9M729 but seemed to leave open the possibility for mutual measures. If Russian officials were prepared to allow an exhibit and … technical briefing on the 9M729, U.S. officials should be prepared to demonstrate the Mk-41 launcher in Romania to Russian experts …. Washington should take up Moscow’s offer for dialogue. … [and] consider allowing more time if technical talks get underway and make progress. The INF Treaty may still have a glimmer of hope, but someone still needs to act to save it.”

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