Ambassador Marshall Billingsley, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for arms control, who led the US delegation to the nuclear arms control talks with Russia in Helsinki, said the parties made “important progress” during the meeting.
Billingsley tweeted this on Tuesday, a day after talks in the Finnish capital with a Russian delegation led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. The American diplomat did not give details.
The unreported talks were planned as part of the resumption of the US-Russia dialogue on nuclear disarmament. Previous meetings took place in Vienna in June, July and August.
Negotiations on Monday focused on a new agreement to replace or extend the new START, which expires in February, the latest pact to limit the arsenals of the world’s two largest nuclear powers.
In Moscow, the talks held in Helsinki were commented on in a more skeptical tone. Speaking on Monday at a meeting with leaders of major European companies, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of a “one-sided” approach and questioned the continued existence of the START treaty.
“Now the last START treaty will” die “, because the conditions that they (the Americans) have set are absolutely unilateral, do not take into account our interests at all, nor the experience of many decades, when arms control was carried out to everyone’s satisfaction, was welcomed by all countries of the world” – said Lavrov.
After the talks on Monday, Billingsley and Ryabkov met separately with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who said that “in the current world situation, any dialogue is important,” welcoming the continuation of communication between Washington and Moscow.