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Russia: Talks on New Nuke Cuts Must Involve All Nuclear Powers
Russia's top diplomat on Saturday said that every nuclear-armed state must join any new process to cut strategic nuclear forces. He was responding to President Obama's call last week for Moscow and Washington to pursue further curbs on their deployed atomic arsenals.
If Russia and the United States eliminated more nuclear arms, their nuclear stockpiles would become more equitable in size to others around the world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments reported by RIA Novosti.
"This means that further moves possibly proposed for reduction of actual strategic offensive arms will have to be reviewed in a multilateral format,” Lavrov told Rossiya 1 television.
"I’m talking not just official nuclear powers, but all countries that possess nuclear weapons,” the diplomat said. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty recognizes five nuclear weapons states -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan are generally believed to also wield varying military nuclear capacities.
Russia and the United States must also address non-nuclear weapons in any new talks on atomic arms cuts, Lavrov added on Friday in comments to the Associated Press.
"Imagine a [non-nuclear] weapon which is delivered to any part of the earth in one hour, that's the goal," Lavrov said, referring to "prompt global strike" capabilities sought by the United States. Moscow is reportedly developing technology along similar lines.
"It doesn't have an inhumane effect of a nuclear weapon, but militarily it's much more efficient. We have to take this into account before we decide on any further reductions," the foreign minister said.
Meanwhile, Moscow on Friday hinted it could pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
"We've signed the agreement, we will obey it. But that could not last forever," Sergei Ivanov, chief of staff for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in remarks quoted by the Xinhua News Agency.
The bilateral pact bans nuclear and non-nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles with maximum flight distances between roughly 311 miles and 3,418 miles.
Ivanov said U.S. missiles of that range could not hit targets beyond North America, but "tens of countries, most of them situated close to [Russia's] border (North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, Iran and Israel) have armed themselves with this type of weapon."
"In the Cold War era there were just two countries that had such missiles -- all equipped with nuclear warheads," ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying. "Now many countries have this weapon armed with conventional warheads."
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