21:39 GMT21 February 2020
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    Earlier, the US president announced that Washington was planning to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) over alleged violations of the accord by Russia. Moscow in turn, has slammed the US decision and noted that it also suspects Washington of violating the INF Treaty.

    Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas has urged the US to stay in the INF Treaty while stressing that Europe must not become a platform for debates about nuclear arms.

    "We stand for the US not to recklessly abandon the INF Treaty, because we don't want Europe to become a platform for debates about nuclear arms," Maas said during a speech at the Bundestag.

    Maas also noted that Germany is planning on including the issues of disarmament and arms control to the international agenda in the coming months.

    US President Donald Trump announced in October that Washington would leave the INF Treaty after accusing Russia of violating it numerous times. Russia has refuted the accusations and noted that it will be forced to respond to the US move.

    "The US decision to withdraw from the INF treaty, certainly, cannot and will not remain without a response from our country," Russian President said.

    The EU has urged Washington and Moscow to stay engaged in a 'constructive dialogue' and try to preserve the INF Treaty and assure its verifiable implementation for the sake of global stability. Brussels noted that Washington's withdrawal threatens not only its own, but the collective security of the country's allies.

    German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas called the INF Treaty the most important arms control and disarmament agreement in the world and suggested that Washington's decision will ‘fuel uncertainties and global armament tendencies'. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell slammed the unilateral decision to withdraw from the accord by the US, claiming it "will ratchet up tension."

    French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the importance of the INF agreement with regard to European security and strategic stability in a phone call with Trump, following the announcement of Washington's withdrawal.

    READ MORE: EU Urges US to Assess Impact of Pullout From INF Treaty on European Security

    The INF Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in December 1987 and prohibited either country from possessing, producing or flight-testing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (311 to 3,418 miles) and their launchers.


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    nuclear disarmament, INF treaty, United States, Germany
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