four prominent politicians call for Trump, Putin to address existential common interests

News ID: 4015661 -
TEHRAN, Jun. 27 (MNA) – As tensions escalate between Russia and the West four prominent political figures from the US, Russia, Germany and the UK are calling on Presidents Trump and Putin to work together on areas of existential common interest.

In an open letter published on Tuesday 27 June, a copy of which is available to Mehr News Agency, former British Defence Secretary Des Browne, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger, former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and former US Senator Sam Nunn call on Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to use the 7-8 July G20 meeting in Hamburg to work together to reduce nuclear risks and other military risks and prevent catastrophic terrorist attacks.

The following is the full text of letter:

Dear President Putin and President Trump,

The chasm between Russia and the West appears to be wider now than at any point since the Cold War.  In the absence of new initiatives, the knot of distrust is being tightened, choking off the ability of governments to discuss, let alone advance, steps essential for improving the security of all people living in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Your first meeting in Hamburg will be a unique opportunity to underscore that, despite significant differences, the United States, Russia, and Europe can and must work together on areas of existential common interest — chief among them reducing nuclear and other military risks, and preventing catastrophic terrorist attacks.

The starting point could be a new Presidential Joint Declaration by the United States and the Russian Federation declaring that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.  This would make clear again that leaders recognize their responsibility to work together to prevent nuclear catastrophe, and would be positively received by global leaders and publics.

A second step could be to increase military-to-military communication through a new NATO-Russia Military Crisis Management Group.  Restarting bilateral military-to-military dialogue between the United States and Russia, essential throughout the Cold War, should be an immediate and urgent priority.  The focus of these initiatives should be on reducing risks of a catastrophic mistake or accident by restoring communication and increasing transparency and trust. 

A third step could be to collaborate to prevent ISIS and other terrorist groups from acquiring nuclear and radiological materials through a joint initiative to prevent WMD terrorism.  There is an urgent need to cooperate on securing vulnerable radioactive materials that could be used to produce a “dirty bomb.” Such materials are widely available in more than 150 countries and are often found in facilities, such as hospitals and universities, that are poorly secured.

Fourth, discussions are imperative for reaching at least informal understandings on cyber dangers related to interference in strategic warning systems and nuclear command and control.  This should be urgently addressed to prevent war by mistake.  That there are no clear “rules of the road” in the strategic nuclear cyber world is alarming.

Russia, the United States, and Europe are confronting a range of significant issues today.  But none should distract from urgently pursuing practical steps now that can stop the downward spiral in relations and reduce real dangers.  The steps we have identified here are a good place to begin.  We respectfully urge you to start now in Hamburg.

LR

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