It showed its willingness to negotiate.. Washington expresses its disappointment at Russia’s postponement of talks on a nuclear treaty
The US State Department said that the United States is still ready to meet Russia for talks on a nuclear treaty, despite Moscow accusing Washington of “poisonous behavior” against it, which it relied on to withdraw from negotiations a few days ago.
Russia withdrew from New START nuclear talks with US officials in Cairo this week.
As the last standing arms agreement between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, New START limits the number of nuclear warheads each side can deploy, and has both symbolic and practical significance.
“We remain ready to meet with Russia on New START … We are committed to New START,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at a briefing on Friday.
Officials from the two countries were scheduled to meet in Egypt on November 29 to discuss issues related to the treaty, including the possibility of resuming inspections of both countries’ nuclear arsenals, a process that was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, Price said that all the topics raised by Russia were on the meeting’s agenda, adding that the United States was disappointed with “the unilateral decision that Russia has taken over the past several months.”
“We are committed to New Start in word and deed, and we are urging Russia to prove the same,” he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry held the United States responsible for the postponement of the talks, and did not set a new date for the meeting.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of trying to change the balance of power under the treaty in a “completely illegal” way by modifying or renaming the weapons to take them out of the treaty’s scope.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that Russia continues to view the New START treaty as an important tool to ensure predictability and avoid an arms race, adding that she hopes the two sides will meet on these issues in 2023.
Russia blames the withdrawal from the nuclear talks on what it calls “toxic” US behaviour.
Relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated to the most point of confrontation between them in 60 years since Russia launched its war in Ukraine last February, which led to a series of US sanctions on Moscow and Washington’s provision of economic and military aid worth tens of billions of dollars to Kyiv.
The New START treaty, concluded in 2010 when relations were warmer, restricted Russia and the United States to a maximum of 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each, a reduction of approximately 30% from the previous limit set in 2002.
And Russia announced last August that it would suspend US inspections at its military sites under the treaty, saying that this was in response to the United States obstructing Russian inspections.