NATO chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo, Norway, Friday Feb. 1, 2019, after the US withdrawal from landmark INF treaty. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2019
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NATO chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russia

  • On Feb. 2, Washington launched the six-month process for leaving the INF treaty
  • Russia denies violating the 1987 treaty and says it is pulling out, too

BRUSSELS: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is studying options to deal with what it insists are Russian violations of a key missile treaty but that it wants to avoid sparking any arms race.
Speaking at NATO headquarters Wednesday, where defense ministers are discussing the future of the imperiled Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Stoltenberg said: “This is very serious. We will take our time.”
On Feb. 2, Washington launched the six-month process for leaving the INF, insisting that a new Russia missile system breaks the pact’s range requirements. Russia denies violating the 1987 treaty and says it is pulling out, too.
Stoltenberg says NATO has many options but that its response “will be measured and it will be defensive because we don’t want a new arms race.”


Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

Updated 21 min 36 sec ago
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Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

  • The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste
  • Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada

PORAC, Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday demanded Canada take back tons of trash it had illegally shipped to Manila or risk “war,” in the latest incident to strain bilateral ties.
The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste.
But Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada.
Speaking to officials during a visit north of Manila, an area ravaged by an earthquake on Monday, Duterte said he did not care if his stance on the issue turned the two countries into enemies.
“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out, or I will set sail for Canada and dump their garbage back there,” he said.
“Let’s fight Canada. I will declare war against them,” added the president, who frequently uses coarse language and hyperbole in public speeches about opponents.
The garbage is among several festering issues that have soured ties between the two governments.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the domestic drug war waged by Duterte, who was elected in 2016.
Philippine police say they have killed nearly 5,000 alleged drug users and pushers who fought against arrest in the crackdown, while rights groups say the true toll is at least triple that and may amount to crimes against humanity.
Last year Duterte angrily canceled the Philippine military’s $235 million contract to buy 16 military helicopters from a Canada-based manufacturer after the Trudeau government put the deal under review because of the president’s human rights record.