U.S. and Russian diplomats will hold the first round of nuclear arms control talks of the Biden administration next week in Geneva, Switzerland, the two countries announced on July 23.
The so-called Strategic Stability Dialogue set up during the summit last month between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take place on July 28.
"This meeting follows up on a commitment made between President Biden and Russian President Putin to have a deliberate and robust dialogue between our two nations that will seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures," the State Department said in a statement.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will lead the U.S. delegation, which will include U.S. arms control diplomat Bonnie Jenkins. Russia’s team will be headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The diplomatic discussions come with relations between the two countries strained on multiple fronts from cyberattacks and election meddling to the poisoning and jailing of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and Ukraine.
But the talks are expected to deal mainly with strategic stability issues such as how to move beyond the New START treaty that Biden and Putin have agreed to extend until 2026.
The Biden administration wants arms negotiations to include Russia’s numerically superior arsenal of nonstrategic nuclear missiles, which are a particular concern to European allies.
The Russians have said they will insist that any new agreement include negotiated limits on U.S. missile defenses, which they see as a longer-term threat to the viability of their strategic arsenal.
Ryabkov told TASS that the Russian side planned to discuss in detail all aspects of strategic stability and prospects for arms control.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and TASS
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