WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The United States and Russia are expected to meet soon to discuss resuming inspections under the New START nuclear disarmament treaty, which was suspended before Russia invaded Ukraine, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday. .
Speaking at a daily press conference, Price said the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC), the mechanism for implementing the last remaining arms control treaty between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, would meet “in the near future”.
Russia suspended inspection cooperation under the accord in August, blaming travel restrictions imposed by Washington and its allies on Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine, but said it was still committed to complying with the deal’s provisions.
“We have made it clear to Russia that measures imposed as a result of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine will not prevent Russian inspectors from conducting New START Treaty inspections in the United States. So we hope the meeting of the BCC will allow us to continue those inspections,” Price said.
New START, which took effect in 2011, limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the United States and Russia can deploy and deploys land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.
The BCC, which is meant to meet twice a year, last met in October 2021, shortly before Russia began moving troops to its border with Ukraine.
Price said Washington hoped for a “constructive session,” but did not specify a date or location for the meeting.
A person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the BCC meetings are expected to take place in Cairo.
“We are realistic about what a dialogue between the United States and Russia … can entail and what it can achieve,” Price said.
“We’ve focused on risk reduction in these conversations, but we’ve been very intentional about not diminishing the ability of our two countries to pass messages back and forth and engage in dialogue.”
Russian newspaper Kommersant said on Tuesday that renewed talks could take place in the Middle East, saying Moscow no longer saw traditional venue Switzerland as sufficiently neutral after Russia imposed sanctions on Ukraine.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has engaged in confidential talks with senior Russian officials aimed at reducing the risk of a wider war over Ukraine, a source familiar with the conversations said on Monday. Read more
Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammad, Humera Pamuk and Reuters Bureau; Editing by Jonathan Otis and Bill Berkrot
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