"I think the Trump administration pulled out prematurely. I think they should have negotiated. And we're always better off with fewer nuclear weapons in the world than more, so I think it's just a mistake", McFaul said when asked about the treaty.
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The former ambassador added that he was not optimistic about the possibility of bringing more countries together and concluding a new agreement.
"I'm not optimistic… because the Trump administration wants to leave the treaty, not just because of Russia, but because of China, so I think that will override any other considerations they have", McFaul said.
The conference began in the Bavarian capital earlier in the day and will last through Sunday.
Earlier in February, Washington said it was suspending its obligations under the treaty, with Russia responding in kind. The United States said it would leave in six months unless Russia returned to compliance with the agreement. Russia has refuted all allegations of treaty breaches.