US arms control envoy says will have talks on nuclear arms with Russian senior diplomat

US arms control envoy says will have talks on nuclear arms with Russian senior diplomat
  • Clock-gray 02:13
  • calendar-gray 09 June 2020

US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said on Monday he has agreed with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to have talks on nuclear weapons later in the month. China has been invited, APA reports citing TASS.

"Today agreed with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on time and place for nuclear arms negotiations in June," he wrote on his Twitter account. "China also invited. Will China show and negotiate in good faith?"

Bloomberg said earlier on Monday citing an unnamed Department of State official that Ryabkov and Billingslea would have talks in Vienna on June 22. According to the agency, Washington does not rule out that the extension of the New START Treaty would be among the topics.

The official reportedly said that Washington was not ready to discuss possible terms for the treaty extension.

In an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) program on Russia’s TV Channel One, Ryabkov said that the Trump administration was obsessed with China and was seeking to raise this topic whenever international topics were discussed. According to the Russian senior diplomat, the United States’ rhetoric about involving China into the New START Treaty stems more from its policy towards China rather than from considerations of security.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on May 19 that Russian and the United States were planning to organize a videoconference on matters of strategic stability. He said he had agreed with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to establish contacts between US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Ryabkov told TASS on May 11 that Russia offered the United States to extend the New START Treaty for a term of five years to use this time to elaborate a new mechanism.

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