WASHINGTON, June 28. /TASS/. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) should be extended first before a new deal on arms control is negotiated, Executive Director of the US Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball said on Friday.
"Pursing talks with other nuclear-armed states and trying to limit all types of nuclear weapons is an admirable objective, but such a negotiation would be complex and time-consuming," Kimball wrote in an article published on the Association's website. "It would be malpractice to discard New START in the hopes of negotiating a more comprehensive, ambitious nuclear arms control agreement with Russia and China and getting it ratified and into force," he added. "There is no realistic chance a new agreement along these lines could be finalized before New START expires. The first step should be a five-year extension of New START, which would provide a foundation for a more ambitious successor agreement," the expert noted.
"[US President Donald] Trump's national security team has dithered for more than a year on beginning talks with Russia to extend the 2010 New START before it expires in February 2021," Kimball said. "It is now apparent that [US National Security Advisor John] Bolton is trying to steer Trump to discard New START. In an interview published June 18, he spoke of a New START extension, saying, 'There's no decision, but I think it's unlikely'," he added.
"Bolton also argued that Trump wants to bring China into trilateral negotiations with Russia on a new agreement to limit nuclear weapons not covered by New START," the expert noted.
Moscow has repeatedly urged Washington to start working on resolving the issue of the possible extension of New START, which Russia considers to be a "gold standard" in arms control. A spokesperson for the White House said in October 2018 that the US Administration is not likely to agree to extend New START. Bilateral consultations on New START are traditionally held behind closed doors.