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U.S. says it remains ready to meet with Russia over nuclear treaty talks

The United States remains ready to meet Russia for talks over a nuclear treaty despite Moscow having accused Washington of toxic anti-Russian behavior that it cited to pull out of the negotiations earlier this week, the State Department said.

December 3, 2022
By Kanishka Singh and Daphne Psaledakis
3 December 2022

By Kanishka Singh and Daphne Psaledakis

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – The United States remains
ready to meet Russia for talks over a nuclear treaty despite
Moscow having accused Washington of toxic anti-Russian behavior
that it cited to pull out of the negotiations earlier this week,
the State Department said.

Russia withdrew from the New START nuclear treaty talks with
U.S. officials in Cairo this week. As the last surviving arms
pact of its kind between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers,
New START limits the number of atomic warheads that each side
can deploy and has symbolic as well as practical significance.

“We do remain ready to meet with Russia in the New Start
Treaty,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters
in a briefing on Friday. “We are committed to New START.”

Relations between Russia and the United States have plunged
to their most confrontational point in 60 years since Russia
invaded Ukraine in February, triggering waves of U.S. sanctions
against Moscow and tens of billions of dollars’ worth of
economic and military aid from Washington to Kyiv.

Officials from the two countries had been due to meet in
Egypt on Nov. 29 to discuss issues around the treaty, including
the potential resumption of inspections of each other’s nuclear
arsenals, a process suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the topics that Russia had put forward were on the
agenda for the meeting, Price said on Friday, adding the United
States was disappointed by Russia’s “unilateral decision over
the last several months.”

The Russian foreign ministry accused Washington of trying to
alter the balance of forces under the treaty in a “wholly
illegitimate” way by converting or renaming weapons to take them
outside the scope of the agreement.

Still, Russia continued to regard New START as an important
tool for ensuring predictability and avoiding an arms race, a
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said earlier this week,
adding she hoped that the two sides could meet on these issues
in 2023.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Daphne Psaledakis in
Washington
Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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