US special envoy confirms meeting with Ryabkov on nuclear weapons in June

By | June 8, 2020
Marshall Billingsley said that China was invited to the meeting

Special Representative of the US President for Arms Control Marshall Billingsley said on Monday that he had agreed with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov about nuclear arms talks this month. According to him, China is invited to the meeting. “Today we agreed with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of [Russia] Sergey Ryabkov on the time and place of negotiations on nuclear weapons in June,” Billingsley said on Twitter. “China is also invited. Will China to negotiate in good faith? ”

Special Representative of the US President for Arms Control Marshall Billingsley said on Monday that he had agreed with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov about nuclear arms talks this month. According to him, China has been invited to the meeting.

“Today we agreed with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of [Russia] Sergey Ryabkov on the time and place of the nuclear arms talks in June,” Billingsley said on Twitter. “China is also invited. Will China negotiate in good faith?”

According to Bloomberg, citing an unnamed representative of the US State Department, Ryabkov and Billingsley will hold talks on June 22 in Vienna. According to the agency, Washington does not exclude that the negotiations will discuss the possibility of extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START, unofficial name – START-3).

The State Department spokesman also said that so far Washington is not ready to discuss the exact timing of a possible extension of the treaty.

During a telephone briefing, Billingsley told reporters on May 21 that a meeting place with Ryabkov had already been chosen, noting that this was a European country. The newspaper The Wall Street Journal, citing a representative of the US administration, informed that the meeting is expected to be held in Vienna in the near future.

In an interview with the Big Game program on Channel One, Ryabkov said on May 23 that the administration of US President Donald Trump is obsessed with the theme of China and is trying to engage it in discussing any issues in international relations. Ryabkov emphasized that the US rhetoric about the inclusion of China in the START Treaty is due not so much to security considerations as to a whole range of American approaches to Beijing. In addition, he indicated that Washington is trying through Moscow to drag Beijing into strategic arms control negotiations.

Extension of START
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said May 19 that the Russian Federation and the United States plan to hold a videoconference on strategic stability. According to the head of the Russian diplomatic department, he and the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had previously agreed to establish contacts between the special representative of the US President for arms control Billingsley and Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov. His conversation with Billingsley took place on May 8.

Ryabkov told TASS on May 11 that Russia was proposing to the United States an extension of the START Treaty for five years, during which time a new mechanism could be developed.

START was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010. It remains valid for 10 years (until February 5, 2021), unless replaced by a subsequent agreement. The document can be extended for no more than five years, that is, until 2026, by mutual agreement of the parties. Moscow calls on Washington not to delay the decision to extend the treaty and characterizes it as the gold standard in the field of disarmament.

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