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Washington open for new contacts between US and Russian presidents — Department of State

Spokesman Ned Price added that everything depend on how the situation develops further

WASHINGTON, February 2. /TASS/. Washington is open for new contacts between Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden respectively, but everything depend on how the situation develops further, US Department of State Spokesman Ned Price said at his daily press briefing.

"It really depends on where we are," he said. "You’ve heard repeatedly from President Biden, I believe most recently during his press conference last month now, that he and we remain open and amenable to another leader-level engagement between President Biden and President Putin."

"They’ve had an opportunity to speak on the phone," Price continued. "They have seen each other on screen within recent weeks."

"If we believe we’re at a moment where another leader-level engagement has the potential to move the ball forward when it comes to this diplomacy, that is certainly something we are open to and amenable to. But it will just depend on where we are after this next step," he added.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that new contacts between the two presidents could be organized when necessary, but there were no concrete plans on this matter. He also said that it is up to the presidents to decide whether a personal contact on the topic of security guarantees is necessary after working consultations between Moscow and Washington.

The latest telephone contact between the two presidents took place late in 2021. Prior to that, they held talks online. Their first personal meeting as presidents was held in Geneva in June 2021.

On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published Russia’s two draft agreements on security guarantees, which Moscow expects from Washington and NATO. The agreements with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stipulate, among other things, the US-led bloc abandoning its designs on eastward expansion along with denying membership to Ukraine, in addition to restrictions on deploying serious offensive armaments, in particular, nuclear weapons. The sides have already held several rounds of consultations in various formats but have not announced any agreements reached yet.

On January 26, the United States and NATO handed over their written reply to Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees. The US side requested that the texts of these documents should not be published. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined their basic provisions. These statements suggest that the West has refused to make concessions fundamental for Moscow, but indicated areas for further negotiations.