France reluctant to be involved in Russia-U.S. nuclear disarmament talks


MOSCOW, Feb. 28 — Paris won’t be involved in the nuclear disarmament talks between Russia and the United States, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday.

France believes any decision on nuclear disarmament issue must be made through consensus, not by imposing obligations, Hollande said.

Paris has long supported nuclear arms cuts and would hold an independent position in that issue, Hollande told local radio Echo of Moscow.

Paris has not signed any obligations concerning nuclear containment, and rejects Moscow’s proposals to count French nuclear missiles and warheads in U.S.-Russia negotiations on disarmament, Hollande said.

“We have certain obligations within NATO, including nuclear containment,” Hollande said. “We must provide independence of our territory, its security.”

France tested its first atomic bomb in 1960, becoming the fourth nuclear power in the world.

In 2008 Paris announced a reduction by one-third of the number of its nuclear weapons.The total French arsenal will contain fewer than 300 nuclear warheads after the reduction, the French Foreign Ministry said.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that U.S. President Barack Obama signed with Russia in 2010 commits Washington and Moscow to cut their warhead ceilings by 30 percent over the next 10 years from the current 2,200 to 1,550. The measure limits each side to 700 deployed long-range missiles and heavy bombers.