Lavrov: Ball in US court for extension of arms reduction treaty

WASHINGTON Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated his country’s readiness to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which will expire in February 2021, and urged the US to take similar action to calm down international uproar. “Russia has reconfirmed its offer already now to make decision to extend this treaty. President (Vladimir) Putin has expressed this position, reconfirmed it in his public speech,” Lavrov said in a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Tuesday.

“We are also confirming our proposal to yet again use the example of the USSR and the US to make a statement at the level of presidents (PH) about inacceptability (PH) of starting a nuclear war. This suggestion is also on the table.” He pointed out that the Russian president spoke again about Russia’s preparedness to right now agree on its extension to alleviate the tension for global community, considering that the last instrument of arms control between the US and the Russian Federation will be — well, not destroyed, but it will just not be in force anymore.

“We are prepared to do that even today, and the ball is in our American partners court,” he stated.

He noted that the situation naturally requires negotiations because there is no specific offer on the table by our American partners, and it will take some time.

“We could talk about extension of New START Treaty and calm down the international uproar, that will be good,” he said.

For his part, Pompeo underlined the importance of other major global players such as China joining the treaty.

“There is a real concern as weapons systems move an advance, as new countries develop these capabilities, there is a real risk that there is a reduction in strategic stability just staying right where we are today, “So that it–the reason that we’re asking for other countries to participate, and for Mr. Lavrov suggested France and the United Kingdom join as well, happy to consider that too,” he pointed out.

He stressed that the US will continue to engage in conversations with the Russians and others with the aim of achieving that goal.(end) rsr.ibi

Source: Kuwait News Agency