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Russian diplomat notes progress in Russia-US arms control dialogue

There has been some progress, the diplomat notes

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Russia and the US have made progress on the issue of arms control on the outcomes of the talks in Sochi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with TASS on Thursday.

"As for the topics that I would give priority during the May 14 talks in Sochi, it is arms control, non-proliferation, the crisis of the whole system in this sphere and the prospects of maintaining what still works between Moscow and Washington from the viewpoint of restricting and reducing nuclear arms," he noted. "There has been some progress."

According to Ryabkov, the progress has not been developed fully, remaining ambiguous. "After the Secretary of State’s visit, we will fully tackle several issues in order to have a basis on which we can restart the strategic stability dialogue," he explained.

The meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took place in Sochi on May 14. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov and Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin also attended the meeting. This was Pompeo’s first visit to Russia as the US Secretary of State.

Russia-US ties 

On the issue of normalizing ties with Russia, the United States are saying more than they are actually doing, therefore, it is premature to speak about Russia-US ties having been mended, Sergey Ryabkov told TASS. 

"The US understands that the situation in its current state, as it emerged in the recent years, is unacceptable, as well as in consideration of the set of American foreign policy priorities," he said. "However, it is premature to speak about mending [Russia-US ties] because there still more words than actions on the US side."

"We have always said and continue saying that considering all the factors together, including the lack of basic trust between Moscow and Washington, you can only judge by the actions," he pointed out.

According to the diplomat, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Sochi on May 14 and the talks that became "the first such in-depth consultations on the Secretary of State level since Pompeo’s appointment" were important as a fact. "The business-like, calm and, in many aspects, constructive tone of the conversation is crucial despite the fact that fundamental differences on a number of issues persist," he pointed out.

In response to the question asking to characterize this process between Moscow and Washington, Ryabkov opted for "returning to normal".