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Donald Trump’s pre-election plan for nuclear deal with Russia has fizzled out badly

Trump Thought He Had a Nuclear Deal With Putin. Not So Fast, Russia Said.
Trump administration officials want to broaden the New START accord and warn that the price of a new deal will rise after the election. Joe Biden supports a straight five-year extension of the deal.  NYT, By David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer  14 Oct 20, President Trump had a pre-election plan to show he had gotten something out of his mysteriously friendly relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

In the weeks before the election, the two men would announce that they had reached an agreement in principle to extend New START, the last remaining major arms control agreement between the two countries. It expires on Feb. 5, two weeks after the next presidential inauguration.

Mr. Trump has long refused to sign off on a clean five-year extension of the agreement, a step both leaders could take without Senate approval. He has described the Obama-era treaty as deeply flawed — the same thing he said about the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear accord — because it did not cover all of Russia’s nuclear arms, or any of China’s….

On Tuesday, Marshall Billingslea, Mr. Trump’s lead negotiator, announced that the two leaders had an “agreement in principle, at the highest levels of our two governments, to extend the treaty.” Mr. Billingslea described an added “gentleman’s agreement” to cap each country’s stockpile of weapons not currently deployed on missiles, submarines or bombers. Details needed to be worked out, he cautioned, including the tricky work of verifying compliance.

It sounded like a promising solution, for a few hours.

Then the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, shot back that this was a figment of someone’s election-season imagination. “Washington is describing what is desired, not what is real,” he said in a statement.

With less than three weeks to Election Day, it seems no agreement is in the offing, and Trump administration officials are saying that, after the election, the price will go up. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee who was involved in the negotiation of the original agreement in 2010, has indicated that, if elected, he will agree to a straightforward, immediate extension of the accord for five years, the maximum allowed under the current terms, and then work to expand its scope. ……..

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, joined the Kremlin’s dismissal of prospects for an agreement before the election, saying the Trump administration’s one-sided announcement of a nuclear limitation deal was an “unclean” diplomatic maneuver…….https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/14/us/politics/trump-russia-nuclear-deal.html

October 15, 2020 - Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war

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