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NATO Chief Urges Russian Transparency On Nuclear Treaty Compliance

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Munich on February 16
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Munich on February 16

MUNICH -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is calling on Russia to address the alliance’s concerns about what the United States has determined is Moscow’s violation of a landmark Cold War arms treaty.

Stoltenberg’s comments came in his February 16 address to the Munich Security Conference, an influential annual gathering that brings together world leaders, senior officials, and policy experts.

Washington accuses Russia of developing a ground-launched cruise missile that fell within prohibitions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, or INF.

Moscow has repeatedly rejected the charge, demanded more detailed information, and accused the United States itself of violating the INF treaty.

“We must protect the INF treaty, and we call on Russia to address the concerns of all NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said, urging Moscow to be “transparent” in the matter.

Stoltenberg also urged greater pressure on North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. He added that while NATO’s goal is a “world without nuclear weapons,” the alliance would remain a nuclear bloc “as long as they exist.”

“A world where Russia, China, and North Korea have nuclear weapons, but NATO does not, is not a safer world,” he said.

Stoltenberg said he was encouraged by the declarations by Washington and Moscow this month that the two sides were in compliance with a 2010 arms-control treaty, known as New START, that limits the two countries' massive nuclear arsenals.