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    Germany Interested in Russia's Proposals on Preserving INF Treaty

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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - Berlin is interested in Moscow's concrete proposals aimed at preserving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), German Federal Foreign Office spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said on Wednesday.

    "If the Russian side has real proposals on how to move toward preserving the treaty, it is interesting, we want and should talk about it", Adebahr said at a briefing.

    She added that Berlin supported US-Russia negotiations that would be aimed at keeping the treaty in force.

    READ MORE: Claims on NATO Readiness to Use Force in INF Dispute Hinder Dialogue — Moscow

    The statement comes as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas plans to arrive in Moscow on Friday for talks with Lavrov. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the top diplomats would discuss the INF Treaty’s future, among other things.

    Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that during the talks in Geneva on Tuesday, Russian diplomats made practical proposals to the United States that would allow the latter to examine at an expert level the 9M729 missile, which they suspect of breaching the treaty. Washington, however, did not want to look at the proposals, he said.

    US President Donald Trump said in October he wanted to pull the country from the treaty. In early December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would suspend its adherence to the INF Treaty within 60 days unless Russia returned to full compliance with the agreement.

    Moscow has repeatedly refuted US allegations that it has violated the 1987 INF treaty, which bans ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (311 to 3,417 miles). In turn, Moscow has complained that launchers on US defence systems in Europe can fire cruise missiles at ranges that violate the INF’s terms.

    READ MORE: German Scholar: West Unable to Intercept Russia's Avangard Hypersonic Missile

    In recent years, Moscow and Washington have regularly accused each other of violating the INF Treaty. Russia has repeatedly stated that it strictly complies with its obligations.

    Nord Stream 2 Issue

    Adebahralso noted that Maas and Lavrov may discuss the Nord Stream 2 project and gas transit through Ukraine.

    "I do not want to predict what will be discussed during the talks, but I think that this topical political issue could be raised," Adebahr told a briefing when asked a respective question.

    READ MORE: Austria's OMV Slams US Ambassador's Letters About Nord Stream 2

    She added that Germany's position on the Nord Stream 2 and on gas transit through Ukraine remained unchanged.

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Gazprom and five European companies. The project envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia, through the Baltic Sea and to a hub in Germany, bypassing Ukraine entirely.

    It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas to the EU states every year. The pipeline project has been welcomed by some countries in Europe and opposed by others, including the United States. In that context, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the US leader wanted to protect the interests of US businesses in the area of the liquefied natural gas deliveries to Europe.

    Related:

    Claims on NATO Readiness to Use Force in INF Dispute Hinder Dialogue - Moscow
    NATO Chief: February Deadline ‘Last Chance’ for Russia to Comply With INF Treaty
    US Envoy Defends His Threats to Nord Stream 2 Firms Amid German Backlash
    Russian and US Envoys Clash Over Nord Stream 2 in Dutch Media
    Austria's OMV Slams US Ambassador's Letters About Nord Stream 2
    Tags:
    Nord Stream 2, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), Heiko Maas, Sergei Lavrov, Germany, United States, Russia
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