WASHINGTON, June 24. /TASS/. The recent discussions in Vienna helped Russia and the United States move forward in their understanding of nuclear disarmament issues, US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea told reporters on Wednesday.
"Our discussions in Vienna <…> with the Russians were productive, and, I think, have moved us forward in an understanding of the issues where we can work together and those issues that may still separate us," he said.
According to Billingslea, Washington sees the possibility of the second round of nuclear disarmament talks with Russia in late June or early August.
The United States is ready to extend the Russian-US New START treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons, but only under ‘select circumstances,’ Billingslea said.
"On the matter of New START, we are leaving all options available. We are willing to contemplate an extension of that agreement, but only under select circumstances," the US diplomat said.
He said the US "agree completely" with Russia that a new agreement in this sphere needs to be multilateral, but added that Moscow and Washington have different views on who should also join the deal.
In his words, Russia wants Germany and France to join the new treaty, while Washington insists on China’s participation.
Among other ‘select circumstances,’ the US official named an effecive compliance verification regime.
On June 22, Russia and the United States held talks on strategic stability and arms control behind closed doors in Vienna. The countries’ delegations were headed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea. The renewal of New START was also on the table of the talks.
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. It will remain in force for 10 years, until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) by the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as a golden standard in the area of disarmament.