Russia Hopes To Negotiate With The US On Arms Control
Russia and the United States have intentions to resume work on strategic stability issues, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on April 14. "I got a call from [US Secretary of State], Mike Pompeo, a couple of weeks ago, and I want to talk to him again on the phone in the next few days. I touched upon the topic of resuming negotiations on arms control and strategic stability in General," the Minister said.
According to him, Russia welcomes the US interest in this issue and recently held a regular round of consultations on these issues at the level of Deputy Ministers, which was attended by Deputy Lavrov Sergey Ryabkov. "But we want much more concrete discussions, including on the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) and its future," the Russian Minister said.
He also noted that the recent decree of US President Donald Trump on allowing private companies to develop the resources of the moon shows that "the US is committed to the 1967 space Treaty, we believe this approach is correct and are ready to cooperate to find mutually acceptable approaches."
According to a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry, there is no special hope that the US will reconsider its position on the strategic nuclear agreement: for sure, they will continue to insist on China joining it, which is unacceptable for the Chinese side. This agreement, signed in 2011, can be extended for another five years until the end of 2020, but the US has not yet expressed its unconditional interest in this.
It would be strange if Washington relaxed the requirements for the extension of start-3, according to the editor-in-chief of the magazine "Russia in global politics" Fyodor Lukyanov. First of all, the US authorities explained the withdrawal from the Treaty on intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles by the Chinese factor, and in general, the US administration has formed a position about the lack of meaning in bilateral agreements of this kind, the expert recalls. "The position is clear, it can be rejected, considered wrong, but it has its logic. And this logic provides that there can be no extension of start," says Lukyanov.
Reformatting start-3 to a larger number of participants will mean its cancellation and, apparently, infinitely long preparation of a new document, the expert explains:" why would we suddenly abandon this now when the confrontation with China is growing right before the eyes of the Americans? This would be contrary to the spirit of American policy. Therefore, the Trump administration is very consistent on this issue."
It could be assumed that strategic-minded people in the US administration, whose existence is doubtful, could try to relieve tension in relations with Russia in a situation of clear strengthening of China and try to implement Trump's long-standing desire to separate Russia and China, but this is only speculation, Lukyanov points out. Now the American authorities are not up to it, the propaganda heat against Russia in the United States is not decreasing, although Moscow has moved a little to the background, the expert notes. If the epidemic ends in the next two months, the Trump administration will again be unable to extend the agreement – it will immediately plunge into the campaign for the presidential election, Lukyanov is sure.