NATO : Macron Insists EU must be part of any future US-Russia nuclear missile treaty

(AFP) French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that European nations should be involved in any talks to forge a new pact limiting mid-range nuclear missiles held by the US and Russia, after a landmark Cold War-era accord fell apart this year.

"We cannot just content ourselves with bilateral treaties," Macron said after talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris.

Washington and Moscow walked away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in August after each accused the other of violating the terms of the deal.

Russia has called on the US and other NATO member to implement a moratorium on deploying medium-range missiles, something Stoltenberg has so far ruled out.

But Macron has made no secret of his wish to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a range of disputes, saying he would raise the issue at a NATO meeting in London next week.

"We want a lucid, robust and demanding dialogue with Russia, with neither naivety nor complacency," Macron said at a press conference alongside Stoltenberg at the Elysee Palace.

"An accord that would replace the INF... requires the involvement of Europeans," he said. "It''s a question of the security of Europe." 

Macron’s remarks set the tone for a fractious gathering of NATO leaders in London on December 3-4.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday NATO is at least as essential today as it was during the Cold War.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised alliance members for not spending enough on defence.


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