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    UK Gov't Opens Parliamentary Inquiry Into US Withdrawal From INF Treaty

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    The UK Defence Committee has launched an inquiry on Thursday on the consequences of US President Donald Trump's potentially unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate and Short-Range Forces Treaty.

    Following news of the US potential withdrawal from the INF, the UK parliament ordered the inquiry to determine how it would affect UK defence forces.  

    Several witnesses will participate in the inquiry, including Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Dr. Jeremy Stocker, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and Dr. Heather Williams, lecturer in defence studies at King's College London. 

    An oral evidence session on 20 November will determine whether the INF Treaty has been violated, the United States could comply again with the treaty, it can be amended to "make it more attractive" to both parties, and if it is still relevant under current technological and geopolitical conditions, in addition to the UK's role in future discussions. 

    Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards grilled UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson in October on the nature of discussions taking place between British officials and other NATO countries on the INF withdrawal, as well as how it would affect global security.  

    The Ministry of Defence has "regular and close dialogue with US and NATO partners at all levels on foreign and security policy questions," including the INF treaty, Mr. Williamson responded.  

    Mr. Williamson also accused Russia of a "broad modernisation of its nuclear and missile forces" without citing examples, adding that whilst the treaty played a "valuable role", he wanted the UK government to "bring Russia back into full and verified compliance." 

    President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from INF Treaty in October after accusing Russia of violating the agreement multiple times. However, Moscow has adamantly rejected Washington's accusations and has threatened to take additional security measures if the US terminates the treaty.

    READ MORE: US Military Could Lose Potential Conflict Against Russia, China — Report

    EU officials also condemned the unilateral move and urged the Trump Administration to "consider the consequences of its possible withdrawal on its own and our collective security." 

    The INF treaty bans the US and Russian Federation (formerly the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics) from testing and deploying ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres. The treaty was signed on 8 December 1987 between then-US president Ronald Reagan and former USSR general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in Washington, DC.

    Related:

    EU Urges US to Assess Impact of Pullout From INF Treaty on European Security
    Russia, Europe Concerned About Unclear Future of INF Treaty - Kremlin
    Russia Hopes to Restore Full-Fledged Negotiations With US on INF Treaty - Putin
    US Did Not Discuss Planned INF Treaty Pullout With Chinese Officials - Pompeo
    Tags:
    international security, US pullout, security agreement, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), INF Treaty Withdrawal, UK Parliament, UK Ministry of Defence, U.S. Department of State, Gavin Williamson, United Kingdom
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