Interview: U.S. exit from INF treaty harms stability, nuclear disarmament — Italian professional

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by Grandesso Federico

BRUSSELS, Oct. 29 ( Xinhua) — The U.S. exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty creates uncertainties with consequences including threatening regional and global stability and nuclear disarmament, according to a senior Italian expert.

Washington will issue a formal notice of its withdrawal from the 1987 treaty with Moscow on eliminating their intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles “in due course”, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said after President Donald Trump announced the decision on Oct. 20.

“This is not a good message for global stability and the world’s nuclear disarmament strategy,” said Stefano Silvestri, former Italian undersecretary of state for defense and senior scientific advisor at the Institute for International Affairs, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

For its withdrawal, the United States has cited Russian violations of the bilateral arms control agreement in recent years. In this regard, Silvestri thinks negotiation is a better way to deal with the situation.

“It would have been better for the U.S. to stay in the treaty and underline eventual Russian violations and oblige Russia to come to the technical commissions in order to discuss such violations — this extreme decision has the effect of blocking any positive ongoing negotiations,” he said.

The U.S. move has drawn criticisms and caused security concern in Washington’s European allies. In Silvestri’s view, it may further endanger the transatlantic ties.

“If President Trump is thinking to deploy missiles in Europe, this initiative will cause big problems with NATO while, on the other hand, if the U.S. gives a free hand to Russia to develop mid-range missiles because the treaty is over, Europe, like in the 1980s, could face serious challenges,” he said.

“In both cases, this decision will put transatlantic relations in serious danger,” the senior Italian expert noted.

Silvestri said the U.S. move to quit the INF treaty will put more pressure on the nonnuclear members of NATO such as Italy, Germany and Poland.

“For the moment, I don’t see a rearmament race in Europe, even if in the future the scenario could change with important political consequences,” said the Italian expert, who noticed the speculation that Washington may start developing intermediate-range missiles.

According to him, then there will be the problem that “such missiles should be hosted in Europe or Asian countries.”

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