MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed in an interview with TASS on Tuesday that he would hold strategic stability talks with US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea in Vienna on June 22.
"Yes, we confirm that the meeting will take place," the high-ranking Russian diplomat said. "The delegations will be headed by the deputy foreign minister in charge of this issue [Ryabkov] on Russia’s behalf and by US Special Presidential Representative for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea on behalf of the American side."
The senior Russian diplomat said he hoped that the resumption of dialogue on strategic stability would help "make this process get off the ground and map out a certain way forward."
As the senior Russian diplomat said, Moscow was surprised by the US side’s mention that colleagues in Washington expected the arrival of China’s representatives at the Vienna meeting on June 22. "We know about China’s stance and treat it with respect. That is why, we proceed from the fact that the Vienna meeting will be held in the bilateral Russia-US format with the participation of the delegations where all specialized agencies will be represented," Ryabkov said.
The Bloomberg news agency reported on Monday, citing an unnamed representative of the US Department of State, that Ryabkov and Billingslea would hold talks in Vienna on June 22. As the news agency reported, Washington does not rule out that the Vienna talks may discuss the possibility of extending the strategic offensive arms reduction treaty.
Ryabkov and Billingslea held a telephone conversation on May 8.