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Group statement | 7 November 2018

ELN Group Statement: A European response to US withdrawal from the INF Treaty

81 European political, diplomatic and military leadership figures are appealing to both Russia and the US not to take unilateral action that would jeopardise the future of the INF without further efforts, such a move would likely trigger an arms race and damage the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The full statement is reproduced below.


A European response to US withdrawal from the INF Treaty

ELN statement November 2018

President Trump’s declared intention to withdraw the United States from the 1987 US-Russia Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) calls into question not only the fate of this pivotal accord but also the future of nuclear arms control, with potentially grave consequences for European security.

The INF treaty may indeed have been violated. And it may be anachronistic. But it is symbolic of great power cooperation on nuclear risks and it has been a stabilising force in Europe’s security over the past three decades.  Europe is the sandpit in which US-Russia confrontation over INF will be played out.  Europe is entitled to a say in what happens next.

US intentions have been poorly communicated in Europe. This leaves America’s European Allies supporting Washington’s judgment about Russian non-compliance, but not necessarily Washington’s response.  Divergent European and American approaches to the INF crisis would be highly damaging.

Even more troubling would be the likely consequences of the Treaty’s demise.

The New START Agreement, which limits US and Russian strategic nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, expires in 2021 and the INF crisis increases the risk that it will not be extended or replaced.  Collapse of INF would spur the development of new nuclear and strategic conventional weapon systems, including INF-class missiles. These systems claim to strengthen deterrence but are more likely to fuel an arms race. The costs to international nuclear stability, European security, and taxpayers in all countries concerned could be high. And unless INF is maintained or replaced, its loss will deepen international cynicism about gradual nuclear disarmament, with consequent damage to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Strong voices in the US share these views.

The INF crisis has focused the attention of European decision-makers on arms control. They should now move beyond statements of concern towards action on the following recommendations:

  • The INF’s collapse is still preventable. If the two sides work in good faith on the non-compliance issues instead of just trading allegations, solutions can be found. Non-governmental experts and organisations, including the ELN, have developed proposals that address all the issues raised by each side, including the new Russian cruise missile and the configuration of US missile defence installations in Europe. We urge Washington and Moscow to use the coming months to explore these proposals seriously and halt the INF’s breakdown. Neither side should unilaterally withdraw without further effort.
  • Moscow – which has always protested that it has not deployed non-compliant missiles – should pledge that it will not deploy such missiles against Europe, provided that NATO and the United States do not deploy them. We welcome NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg’s recent statement that any such NATO deployment is improbable.
  • European governments, especially members of NATO, should make clear that if Russia can verifiably demonstrate that it is INF-compliant, they will support the transparent verification of NATO’s land-based ballistic missile defence installations by Russia.
  • As Washington is genuinely concerned about Chinese intermediate range missiles remaining outside any arms control mechanism, it should construct a joint US-Russian approach towards Beijing and should be able to count on support from European and Asian partners. These efforts might be unsuccessful but would demonstrate a continuing US commitment to nuclear arms control.
  • Europeans should urge the US and Russia to immediately resume talks on strategic stability.  To create some measure of stability and mutual confidence, the two sides should agree the extension of the New START Treaty as a priority. At the 11 November 2018 Trump-Putin meeting, the leaders should also agree a statement of reassurance to the international community that nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.
  • While Ukraine will remain the primary joint agenda item in the NATO-Russia Council, Europeans should advance proposals for wider, more up-to-date arms control designed to increase decision time and predictability for both NATO and Russian leaders.
  • As part of a broader response, Europeans should press the case for the security benefits of restraint and collaborative arms control, vigorously countering the pernicious belief that arms control could be ineffective, or even detrimental, to national security.

If implemented, these steps would prevent the INF crisis further worsening the West-Russia confrontation. It could turn a crisis into an opportunity for fresh, innovative arms control that is fit for the 21st century.



  1. Wolfgang Petritsch, Former EU Special Envoy for Kosovo & Former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina


  1. Solomon Passy, President Atlantic Club Bulgaria; Former Chairman of the UN Security Council
  2. Professor Todor Tagarev, Former Defence Minister; Former Director of the Defence Institute


  1. Budimir Loncar, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of former Yugoslavia; Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Non-Aligned Movement
  2. Professor Ivo Slaus, Honorary President, World Academy of Art and Science

Czech Republic

  1. Jan Kavan, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and former President of the UN General Assembly


  1. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs
  2. Mogens Lykketoft, Former Foreign Minister; Former President of the UN General Assembly


  1. Dr Tarja Cronberg, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran
  2. Elisabeth Rehn, Former Minister of Defence
  3. Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, Former Chief of Defence
  4. Professor Raimo Väyrynen, Former President of the Academy of Finland; Former Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs


  1. General (Ret.) Bernard Norlain, Former General Officer, Air Defence Commander and Air Combat Commander of the French Air Force
  2. Paul Quilès, Former Minister of Defence


  1. Ambassador Tedo Japaridze, Former Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Vice-Chairman, International Relations, Anakila Development Consortium 


  1. Angela Kane, Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs & Under-Secretary-General
  2. Volker Rühe, Former Defence Minister
  3. Rudolf Scharping, Former Defence Minister
  4. Karsten Voigt, Former German-American coordinator in the Federal Foreign Office, Former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  5. Brigadier General (ret.) Dr Klaus Wittmann, Former Bundeswehr General


  1. János Martonyi, Former Foreign Affairs Minister


  1. Giancarlo Aragona, Former Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  2. Hon. Margherita Boniver, Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
  3. Professor Francesco Calogero, Former Secretary-General of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  4. General (rt.) Vincenzo Camporini, Former Chief of the Joint Defence Staff, Former Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  5. Giorgio La Malfa, Former Minister for European Affairs
  6. Admiral Giampaolo di Paolo, Former Minister of Defence; Former Chairman of NATO Military Committee
  7. Arturo Parisi, Former Defence Minister
  8. Professor Carlo Schaerf, Co-founder, International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (ISODARCO).
  9. Stefano Silvestri, Former Under Secretary of State for Defence, Former President of the Italian International Affairs Institute
  10. Ambassador Stefano Stefanini, Former Permanent Representative to NATO, Former Diplomatic Advisor to the President of Italy
  11. Carlo Trezza, Former Ambassador for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Former Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime


  1. Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Former Minister of Economic Affairs
  2. Bert Koenders, Former Foreign Minister
  3. Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament
  4. Klaas de Vries, Former Minister for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations


  1. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway, Former Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  2. Espen Barth Eide, Former Foreign Minister, Former Minister of Defence


  1. Senator Bogdan Klich, Former Defence Minister
  2. Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Former Defence Minister and Chair, Executive Council, Euro-Atlantic Association


  1. Ricardo Baptista Leite MP, MD, Member of Parliament


  1. Ambassador Anatoly Adamishin, Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UK
  2. Dr Alexey Arbatov, Former Deputy Chairman of the Duma Defence Committee; Head of the Center for International Security, Institute of World Economy and International Relations
  3. General Vladimir Dvorkin, Lead scientist at the Center of the International Safety of the Institute of Economic and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
  4. Ambassador Boris Pankin, Former Foreign Minister of the former USSR
  5. Dr Dmitry Polikanov, Chairman of the Trialogue Club and member of the Expert Council of the Russian Government
  6. Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Management Board of the Institute for Contemporary Development


  1. Goran Svilanović, Secretary-General, Regional Cooperation Council


  1. Dr Hans Blix, Former Foreign Minister and former IAEA Director General
  2. Ingvar Carlsson, Former Prime Minister
  3. Rolf Ekeus, Former Ambassador to the United States, former High Commissioner on national minorities in Europe
  4. Gunnar Hökmark, MEP
  5. Henrik Salander, Former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Secretary-General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission


  1. Professor Mustafa Aydin, President, International Relations Council of Turkey
  2. Hikmet Çetin, Former Foreign Minister
  3. Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, Former Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  4. Vahit Erdem, Former Head of the Turkish Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  5. Osman Faruk Loğoğlu, Former Turkish Ambassador to the United States and former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6. Özdem Sanberk, Former Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Former Under Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

United Kingdom

  1. Rt. Hon Margaret Beckett, Former Foreign Secretary
  2. Sir Tony Brenton, Former UK Ambassador to Russia
  3. Lord Des Browne of Ladyton, Former Minister of Defence; Member of the House of Lords
  4. Lord Menzies Campbell of Pittenweem, Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats
  5. Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke, Former Home Secretary
  6. Stephen Gethins, MP
  7. Lord David Hannay of Chiswick, Former Ambassador of the UK to the EEC, Former Ambassador of the UK to the UN
  8. Sir Nick Harvey, former Member of Parliament and former Minister of State for the Armed Forces
  9. Rt. Hon. Lord John Kerr of Kinochard, Former British Ambassador to the United States and the EU
  10. Rt. Hon. Lord Tom King of Bridgwater, Former Defence Secretary
  11. Gen. Sir John McColl, Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Deputy SACEUR)
  12. Gen. Lord David Ramsbotham, Retired General Army, Former Adjutant General; Former ADC General to HM the Queen
  13. Lord David Richards of Herstmonceux, Former Chief of the Defence Staff
  14. Lord Peter Ricketts, Former National Security Advisor
  15. Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Former Foreign Secretary, Former Defence Secretary
  16. Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley, Former Chairman of the Committees on Arms Export Controls; Former Minister for the Armed Forces
  17. Baroness Elizabeth Symnons of Vernham Dean, Former Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence Minister
  18. Sir Adam Thomson, Former UK Perm Rep to NATO; Director, European Leadership Network
  19. Lord David Triesman, Former Foreign Office Minister and Chairman of the Football Association
  20. Lord William Wallace of Saltaire, Member of the House of Lords
  21. Rt. Hon the Admiral Lord Alan West of Spithead, First Sea Lord and Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy
  22. Rt. Hon. Baroness Shirley Williams, Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Former Adviser on Nuclear Proliferation to the Prime Minister