21:43 GMT +317 December 2018
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    Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican presidential debate.

    Ted Cruz Pledges to Negotiate With Russia on Nuclear Arms Reduction

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    US Republican presidential candidate and winner of Iowa caucus Ted Cruz pledged on Tuesday to negotiate new cuts in nuclear weapons with Russia if he wins the presidency.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Asked whether he would negotiate nuclear arms reductions with Russia like his predecessor President Ronald Reagan did with the former Soviet Union, Cruz said, "Where our interests align and we negotiate from strength, we can advance the ball a lot more."

    "I would be happy to negotiate and work with the Russians as strategic competitors, not being fooled into thinking they are our friends," Cruz said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.

    Cruz criticized two previous Obama administration decisions that he said demonstrated weakness: a 2009 decision to halt the planned deployment of missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, and a 2012 decision to block exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States to Europe during a crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

    Cruz emphasized he did not consider Russia’s nuclear arsenal a threat to the United States and added he was far more worried about the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons.

    Russia has longstanding concerns over US missile defenses, which were originally intended to defend against a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. With the Soviet threat eliminated with the end of the Cold War, the United States now says an anti-missile system is needed to protect against nuclear-armed rockets from rogue states such as Iran.


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