MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. The United States, while proposing to hold meetings on the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty, put forward conditions for extending the deal that are unacceptable for Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Friday commenting on remarks by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea.
"Our colleagues in Washington say that they offered to meet us five times to finalize the deal, and we tell them that we offered to agree on the arrangement proposed by [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin 25 times and handed over our proposals in writing. Instead of accepting this simple and clear arrangement, they pressed for additional conditions that are unacceptable for us," he explained.
According to Ryabkov, "if and when the US retracts its additional conditions, an agreement can be reached fairly quickly."
"As long as there is no such understanding, there are no grounds for a face-to-face meeting either, since there is no point in going around in circles and debating over the same arguments. However, we are open to dialogue, that’s for sure. In this case, we see yet another attempt by the American side to shift the responsibility for its own inability to negotiate onto others," the Russian senior diplomat stressed.
Billingslea earlier said that the Russian Foreign Ministry had rejected US proposals for meetings on the extension of the New START deal. He thus commented on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks at his annual press conference that Moscow is ready to continue dialogue on prolonging the treaty with Washington but is awaiting a response from its US partners.