Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:
“The INF Treaty has been a cornerstone of arms control for 30 years. Without a doubt, Russia’s violation of the treaty threatened Transatlantic security and stability. But the Trump Administration has played into Putin’s hands in tearing down the treaty rather than pursuing serious diplomacy to save it. By pulling out of the agreement, the President is creating an opening for a dangerous arms race in which Russia can act with impunity.
“Even worse, this case is only the latest example of this Administration trying to terminate international arms control agreements. The Administration has already set its sights on the New START Treaty, which provides crucial limits on Russia’s nuclear forces and tough measures to make sure the Russians are not cheating—which is why we know that, right now, Russia is living up to its obligations. That’s why it’s so puzzling and dangerous that the Trump Administration has already said it is ‘unlikely’ they will extend the New START Treaty beyond its expiration in February 2021.
“The President should reconsider this foolhardy and dangerous path, listen to Congress, and extend the New START Treaty so long as the Russians remain in compliance.”
Both the House and the Senate have introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the New START Treaty. The “Richard G. Lugar and Ellen O. Tauscher Act to Maintain Limits on Russian Nuclear Forces” calls for an extension of the treaty until 2026.
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