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Ex-Pentagon Chief Says Alleged Trump’s Comments on New START With Russia 'Wrong'

CC0 / / The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense
The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense - Sputnik International
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The White House will make 'a tragic mistake' if it rejects Russia's reported offer to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), former US Secretary of Defense William Perry said in an interview on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier, US media reported citing anonymous US officials that President Donald Trump criticized the New START treaty in his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to comment on the allegations.

"It would be a tragic mistake if we failed to take advantage of Russia’s offer to extend the treaty,” Perry told POLITICO. "Trump’s reported comments that New START is a 'bad deal' and favored Russia is simply wrong."

Perry stated that the treaty calls for equal disarmament and a verification process that is "if anything, harder on Russia."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on its position regarding the New START treaty extension yet, as there is a need to update information on the parties' stance, and the negotiations will depend on the US stance on the issue.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
Prospects of New START Treaty Depend on Washington's Stance - Kremlin
The treaty with the formal name Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms was signed between Russia and the United States in April 2010 in Prague, and entered into force on February 5, 2011. The Treaty’s duration is ten years — until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. Under the Treaty, the United States and Russia must meet the Treaty’s central limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018, that is seven years from the date the Treaty entered into force.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty treaty requires the parties to the contract to reduce and limit the number of deployed and non-deployed strategic offensive arms. It stipulates that the parties may agree to extend the treaty for a period of no more than five years.

Before the end of his tenure, former US President Barack Obama had made a proposal to continue reduction of nuclear arsenals of both Russia and the United States. The Russian side has rejected the proposal citing a number of unresolved issues in bilateral relations, such as extension of the US missile defense system. Washington has also attempted to prolong a treaty, however the Russian Foreign Ministry said that it had not received an official proposal.

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