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Opposition asks urgent question on US withdrawal from nuclear treaties

4 February 2019 (updated on 4 February 2019)

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Shadow Defence Minister, Fabian Hamilton, asked an urgent question in the Commons, after both the US and Russia announced that they would be withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Mark Field, Foreign and Commonwealth Minister, responded to the urgent question and stated:  "We and all NATO allies support the US decision to suspend its participation in the treaty and to trigger the formal process." The Minister also went on to say:

"While the UK is not a party to this bilateral treaty, we have always made it clear over the years that we ideally wish to see the treaty continue. However, for that to happen, the parties need to comply with its obligations. Sadly, this has not been the case. Despite numerous objections raised by a range of NATO allies going back over five years, Russia has developed new missiles, in direct contravention of the treaty."

Shadow Defence Minister, Fabian Hamilton, replied to the Minister and wanted reassurance that the US withdrawing from the INF treaty will not start a new arms race between the US and Russia.

"The suspension of the INF treaty is a sure sign of a dangerous breakdown of trust between the two nations with the vast majority of the world's nuclear warheads. This has serious implications for future negotiations, including those on extending the new strategic arms reduction treaty, or New START, which is due to expire in 2021. What we see may be the beginning of a new arms race, even more dangerous and unpredictable than the one we saw during the cold war. We now live in a multipolar world in which the US and Russia no longer have a monopoly on the weapons proscribed in the INF treaty, even if they have the majority of warheads."

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