Washington (Associated Press) – Senior diplomats from the United States and Russia held what the State Department called “substantial and professional” talks on arms control and other strategic issues on Wednesday, despite countless other differences that have thrown relations into chaos.
The US State Department stated that the Geneva discussions did not achieve any breakthroughs, but stated that they did provide a minimum for such negotiations to achieve positive results: agreeing to meet again in the context of talks supported by President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin.
The department said in a statement: “Even in times of tension, we remain committed to ensuring predictability and reducing the risk of armed conflict and the threat of nuclear war.” The two presidents agreed to resume strategic talks when they met in Geneva last month. .
“Today’s meeting in Geneva is the beginning of dialogue with the Russian Federation,” it said. “The U.S. delegation discussed U.S. policy priorities and the current security environment, the country’s views on strategic stability threats, new prospects for nuclear arms control, and the format of future strategic stability dialogue meetings.”
The two sides are represented by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that they have agreed to hold another round of high-level talks at the end of September. He said that the US team will travel to Brussels on Thursday to brief NATO allies on the talks.
Wednesday’s meeting was held after Biden made derogatory remarks against Russia and Putin spokesperson retorted, the two sides expressed new mutual hostility.
In a speech to members of the US intelligence community, Biden said on Tuesday that Putin was in “real trouble” because the Russian economy had “nuclear weapons and oil wells, but nothing else.”
“In my opinion, he knew he was in real trouble, which made him even more dangerous,” Biden said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded angrily on Wednesday, saying that Biden’s remarks were “essentially wrong” and based on “a misunderstanding and understanding of modern Russia.” He pointed out that Biden was talking to the US intelligence community, “These audiences need this kind of exciting statement.”
However, the war of words is unlikely to distract attention from key issues in the strategic negotiations, since the Trump administration withdrew from the two treaties with Russia and was ready to allow the third-the new START-to expire and decide before Biden took office. Extend it.
One of the obstacles in the talks was Russia’s request that the United States stop resisting restrictions on its missile defense system. The Russians viewed this as a long-term threat, while the Americans viewed it as a deterrent to war.
The missile defense dispute frustrated past efforts to expand the scope of arms control negotiations to include more than traditional “strategic” or long-range nuclear missile categories. Now, it is one of several differences magnified by mutual mistrust, which may determine whether the world’s two largest nuclear powers can avoid a new arms race.
At risk are what Biden calls “new, dangerous and advanced weapons. These weapons are now appearing. They reduce reaction time and increase the possibility of unexpected warfare.”
The Russians have long insisted that without the limitations of defensive and offensive weapons, there can be no strategic stability. There is no doubt that Russia will insist on missile defense as part of future arms control arrangements.
As far as the Biden administration is concerned, it wants Moscow to agree to restrict its so-called non-strategic nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the new START. Some arms control experts believe that this represents a possibility of trade-offs-including missile defense and non-strategic weapons negotiations.
Since Trump assumed the presidency, the United States has also insisted on allowing China to participate in any new arms control arrangements. Russia says it depends on the Chinese, and they have so far rejected all requests to consider this idea.