Europe must be part of post-INF nuclear missile treaty talks: Macron

Europe’s nations must be involved in any talks aimed at forging a new treaty on limiting mid-range nuclear missiles to preserve the continent’s security and stability in the wake of the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in August this year, French President Emmanuel Macron said here on Thursday.

“We cannot just content ourselves with bilateral treaties. We cannot delegate our security to a bilateral agreement where no European is involved,” Macron said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“The treaty between the U.S. and Russia negotiated in the Cold War era no longer exists. Our security is at stake,” he said, stressing that “a new treaty (to replace the INF) implies the involvement of Europe.”

The INF treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States. Accusing each other of violating the terms of the deal, Washington and Moscow pulled out of the pact in August 2019.

“It’s urgent to tackle this issue during next week’s discussions within the (NATO) alliance and with Russia to create the conditions of our security,” Macron said.

NATO member countries will hold a summit meeting in London on Dec. 3-4.

In this context, the French president called on Europeans to engage in “a lucid, robust and demanding dialogue with Russia, with neither naivety nor complacency.

He said that France had “absolutely not accepted” Moscow’s proposal to impose a moratorium on the deployment of short and intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe. But it had considered the proposal “as a basis for discussion.”

Facing criticisms from his European partners over his remarks that the transatlantic alliance was “brain dead,” the French head of state defended his stance, saying that “the questions I have asked are open questions that we haven’t solved yet.

“So maybe we needed a wake-up call. I’m glad it was delivered, and I’m glad everyone now thinks we should rather think about our strategic goals,” he said.