US says Russia abruptly postpones arms control talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Monday that Russia abruptly and without explanation postponed the scheduled resumption of arms control talks this week.

The State Department said Russia had “unilaterally postponed” a meeting of the Bilateral Advisory Commission that was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Egypt and last until next week. He said Russia promised to come up with new dates but provided no reason for the delay.

“The United States is prepared to postpone as soon as possible because resuming inspections is a priority to maintain the treaty as an instrument of stability,” the department said.

The commission spells out details of US and Russian inspections of each other’s military sites under the terms of the New START treaty, the last major arms control pact between Washington and Moscow.

The commission has not met for over a year, initially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since stalled due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The meeting in Cairo was intended to show that both sides remained committed to arms control and to keeping lines of communication open despite other differences.

In announcing the scheduled resumption of talks, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the talks would focus entirely on implementing the New START inspection process and would not include any discussion of the conflict. in Ukraine.

“We believe deeply around the world in the power of transformation and the importance of diplomacy and dialogue,” Price said Nov. 8.

“It demonstrates our commitment to risk reduction, strategic stability, something we remain committed to, something that is deeply in the bilateral interest, and we hope the next meeting will be constructive,” he said. .

Inspections of US and Russian military sites under the New START treaty were halted by both sides due to the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020.

The commission last met in October 2021, but Russia then unilaterally suspended cooperation with the treaty’s inspection provisions in August to protest US support for Ukraine.

“We have made it clear to Russia that the measures imposed as a result of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine do not prevent Russians and Russian inspectors from conducting New START Treaty inspections in the United States” , Price said. “So we hope that the BCC meeting will allow us to continue these inspections.”


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