| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

U.S., Russia hold nuclear talks in Geneva after summit push

Senior US and Russian officials resumed talks on lowering tensions between the world’s two major nuclear weapons powers on Wednesday, according to the State Department, and agreed to meet again in September after informal consultations.

At the meeting at the US diplomatic post in Geneva, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov led their respective teams.

According to the TASS news agency, Ryabkov expressed satisfaction with the consultations and stated that the US demonstrated openness for a productive discourse at the meetings.

Armed with mandates from their leaders, it was the first time in nearly a year that the sides had held so-called strategic stability talks amid frictions over a range of issues, including arms control.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose countries hold 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, agreed to launch a bilateral dialogue on strategic stability to “lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures”.

After informal consultations aimed at “determining topics for expert working groups” in the next round, the two sides agreed to reconvene in late September, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Calling the discussions “professional and substantive,” he said the U.S. side discussed its policy priorities, the current international security environment, “the prospects for new nuclear arms control” and the format for further talks.

Andrey Baklitskiy, senior research fellow at the Center for Advanced American Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told reporters in Geneva: “We are starting with a new U.S. administration, starting pretty much from scratch.

“It’s just meet and greet and try to establish some basic understandings,” he said.

Russia in January approved a five-year extension of the bilateral New START nuclear arms control treaty days before it was set to expire. The treaty limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.

The two sides were supposed to talk on which weapons systems and technologies are the most dangerous.

“For example, Russia has long been concerned about the United States’ modification of large bombers and launchers to launch ballistic missiles,” Baklitskiy added.

According to the Biden administration, Russia has conducted unilateral low-yield nuclear tests in breach of a nuclear testing ban.

  • Reuters