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On Nuclear Treaty, at Least, Biden Aims for Fresh START With Russia

Washington and Moscow look set to keep New START alive with working-level talks, despite historic tensions.

Foreign Policy, By Robbie Gramer, a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. 11 Nov 22

The Biden administration has announced that it will restart nuclear arms control talks with Russia, even as tensions spike over the latter’s war in Ukraine, coupled with the threat of Moscow using nuclear weapons.

The talks are expected to take place in Cairo in the near future, current and former U.S. officials said, and represent the first move by both sides to revive their mutual arms control agenda since U.S. President Joe Biden first halted dialogue after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February…………………………………

The existing arms reduction treaty, New START, caps the number of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons in both Washington’s and Moscow’s arsenals and allows each side to conduct on-site weapons facility inspections in the other country. This allows experts from each country to visit the other country’s weapons sites to view the number of nuclear weapons, launch vehicles, and other details to confirm that both sides are adhering to the treaty. The treaty allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year.

It is the last remaining arms control treaty in place between Russia and the United States, which respectively have the first- and second-largest nuclear arsenals in the world. Under the terms of the treaty, which was first signed in 2010, both countries agreed to cap the number of nuclear warheads they could deploy on delivery systems to 1,550…………………..

Reviving the New START talks has been a quiet goal of the White House and State Department since at least this summer, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter, and scheduling a new meeting with the Russians on the issue has been in the works for months. Rose Gottemoeller, a former NATO deputy secretary-general and top U.S. arms control envoy who helped negotiate New START in 2009-10, welcomed the move and said the latest nuclear discussions shouldn’t be seen as any sort of concession to Russia.

“We don’t always get to choose with whom we negotiate, but if we’ve got an issue that’s in our national security interest, we have to work it,” said Gottemoeller, now a scholar at Stanford University. “We’ve achieved agreements with the Russians during some very dark hours in our bilateral relationship in the past.” ……………..

November 11, 2022 - Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA

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