Billingsley: US reached “agreement in principle” with Russia on START III


The senior US diplomat believes the US has reached a “principled agreement” with Russia to extend START, the last major nuclear arms agreement between the two countries, which expires in February.

However, Russia did not agree with this assessment.

The administration of President Donald Trump insisted that China become a party to the agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons, but three weeks before the US elections made it clear that it was generally ready to keep the treaty in its current form.

“In fact, we are ready to extend the START-3 treaty for some time, provided that they, in turn, agree to limit – freeze – their nuclear arsenal,” said Marshall Billingsley, head of the American delegation to the talks.

“We believe there is a principled agreement reached at the highest level of our two governments,” he said speaking at the Heritage Foundation.

Billingsley interrupted a trip to Asia last week to meet with his Russian counterpart in Helsinki, saying he felt he was in the mood for a compromise.

He said that Russia has not yet finally approved the “gentlemen’s agreement” and should agree on the details.

“We are ready to conclude this agreement. In fact, we are ready to do it tomorrow. But Moscow must also show political will for this, ”he said.

Billingsley noted that the US continues to insist on the participation of China, whose nuclear program is growing rapidly.

“Anything we negotiate with the Russians should be formalized and formatted in a way that allows us to extend this agreement to China when they finally sit down at the negotiating table,” Billingsley said.

However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the US proposal was unacceptable for Moscow.

“The US position in favor of freezing has long been known to us, it is unacceptable for us. Not because we are against freezing, but because we need to deal with the problems of strategic stability in a complex: we need to deal with carriers, we need to deal with space, engage in anti-missile defense – the system that the United States is creating, we need to deal with their new strategic-range carriers in conventional equipment, ”said Ryabkov “RIA Novosti”.

According to Ryabkov, the United States will not receive from Russia any agreement on strategic offensive arms “timed to coincide with their elections.”

“If the Americans need to report to their superiors something about which they allegedly agreed with the Russian Federation before their elections, then they will not get it,” Ryabkov said.

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