Russia postpones nuclear arms management talks with US, State Department says


Washington
CNN
 — 

The Biden administration is blaming Russia for suspending conferences to debate a key nuclear arms management settlement between the 2 international locations that have been scheduled to start in Egypt on Tuesday, with a State Department spokesperson saying the choice was made “unilaterally” by Russia.

The conferences on the New START Treaty – the one settlement left regulating the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals – have been scheduled to be held within the wake of Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling towards Ukraine and following problems round inspections associated to the treaty. US officers have repeatedly pressured the necessity for dialogue on nuclear issues with the intention to scale back threat.

In a press release Monday, the State Department spokesperson mentioned that “the United States and the Russian Federation were set to convene a meeting of the New START Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss New START Treaty implementation on Tuesday, November 29.”

“The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Russia didn’t present a purpose to the US for suspending the talks, a senior State Department official informed CNN. Moscow knowledgeable the US of its determination in “recent days,” the official mentioned.

The Russian Overseas Ministry informed Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti that the talks had been postponed, however didn’t give a purpose for the delay.

“The session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the Russian-American START Treaty, previously scheduled in Cairo (November 29 – December 6), will not take place on the dates indicated. The event has been postponed to a later date,” the ministry mentioned.

A date for the rescheduled talks stays unclear. The State Department spokesperson mentioned the US “is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability.”

The New START Treaty places limits on the variety of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that each the US and Russia can have. It was final prolonged in early 2021 for 5 years, which means the 2 sides will quickly want to start negotiating on one other extension.

Below the treaty, Washington and Moscow conduct inspections of one another’s weapons websites, however as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, inspections have been halted since 2020.

Biden administration officers had considered the resumption of talks as a constructive growth, notably as they have been set to happen within the wake of Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling towards Ukraine.

Administration officers have mentioned that the willingness to debate the arms management settlement, whilst Russia carries out its conflict in Ukraine, show the US dedication to diplomacy and mitigating the chance of nuclear disaster.

The highest US diplomat in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, informed RIA Novosti that the US nonetheless goals to renew a strategic dialogue with Russia and “will continue to hold discussions within the framework of the Bilateral Consultative Commission.”

“President Biden has been very clear about his commitment to negotiating to maintain the arms control structure beyond the expiration of START in 2026. And we remain committed to that goal,” Rood mentioned.

“Until that happens, we will continue to hold discussions within the framework of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, which is the mechanism of the Treaty. And we will wait for the opportunity to resume the strategic dialogue,” Rood added.

Washington “has channels for managing risk with the Russian Federation, particularly nuclear risks,” Rood mentioned, including that “that was the purpose of CIA Director Burns’ meeting with his Russian counterpart.”

This story has been up to date with extra response.