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Merkel: We'll use six-month withdrawal period to talk if U.S. quits INF treaty

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - If the United States announces it will suspend compliance with the INF nuclear missile pact with Russia, Germany will use the six-month period that the formal withdrawal period lasts to hold further discussions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

“If it does come to a cancellation today, we will do everything possible to use the six-month window to hold further talks,” she said. “It is clear to us that Russia has violated this treaty... The important thing is to keep the window for dialogue open.”

U.S. officials said on Thursday that the United States will soon announce plans to suspend compliance with a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia, responding to an alleged violation of the treaty by Moscow. Once announced, the formal withdrawal process takes six months.

Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Thomas Escritt