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CND launch campaign to save crucial cold war arms reduction treaty

THE Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament launched a battle today to save a landmark cold war arms reduction treaty which ended the last nuclear arms race and is now under threat from Donald Trump.

The US president will announce on February 2 whether he plans to give six months’ notice to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, after he claimed that new Russian missiles were in breach.

Nato officials were informed of the threat by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thompson in Brussels earlier this month.

The treaty was originally signed in an effort to denuclearise the European continent. It bans ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km (310 to 3,100 miles).

The agreement led to the elimination of almost 3,000 nuclear weapons. Tearing up the treaty could lead to the return of US nuclear missiles in Britain and make nuclear war in Europe more likely, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said.

Peace and disarmament shadow minister Fabian Hamilton, Labour MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Catherine West and Greens’ Baroness Jenny Jones and MP Caroline Lucas attended the campaign launch.

They called on the British government to take diplomatic steps to save the treaty and guarantee that it will not offer to host US nuclear missiles if it is scrapped.

Mr Hamilton said: “I’m extremely concerned about US withdrawal from this treaty because it was a treaty that managed to remove all the Pershing missiles from European soil, it managed to denuclearise Europe.

“The prospect of that being reversed, the prospect of Trump walking away, albeit because of the Russians’ inability to fulfil their part of the bargain, is not the way to deal with this.

“The treaty should not be abandoned.”

Sara Medi Jones from CND said that the peace movement must “rise up again” to protect the treaty in the same way an international movement helped prevent moves towards nuclear war in the 1980s.

She added: “Politicians came under enormous pressure to take steps to reduce the threat of war — the INF was in part a product of this pressure.

“Trump is trying to undo the gains of the peace movement.”

Russia put the offending 9M729 missiles, which it claims can only be launched as far as 480km, on display today in a bid to prove the weapons would not threaten the treaty.

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