VIENNA, January 27. /TASS/. Reaching an agreement between Russia and the US to extend New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was an important signal for global security, Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announced.
According to the Austrian minister, 2021 "begins with important steps against the spiral of nuclear weapons." "This is an important signal and a gain for the overall security," the Austria Press Agency quoted Schallenberg as saying.
Schallenberg reaffirmed the official Vienna's position on its willingness to remain a platform for Russian-US strategic negotiations. "<...> Our proposal remains on the table, as we have done before by hosting strategic negotiations between the US and Russia," the foreign minister stated.
"Nowadays the nuclear powers require fresh impetuses," he noted. "The world is in a dangerous spiral of nuclear weapons, and its arsenals are being expanded and upgraded. But we need just the opposite: more control and disarmament."
Austria’s foreign minister also stressed that New START’s extension "for five years is a time-out, however, it should be used to draw up the treaty on a broader basis." "The stagnation due to mounting threats of nuclear weapons and their humanitarian consequences is life-threatening," he concluded.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma (lower house) a bill on ratifying the agreement on extending New START for five years - until February 5, 2026. Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joseph Biden expressed satisfaction with the exchange of notes on the treaty extension during a telephone conversation.