Russia and the U.S. are set to begin a new round of talks on a new START treaty to reduce the volume of their strategic nuclear arsenals with official delegations set to meet in Geneva on June 23-24.
The Geneva meeting will set the stage for President Barack Obama's visit to Moscow in July with a panel of experts instructed to file a detailed progress report on the new treaty to replace the current one, which runs out in December.
The Russian and American presidents agreed during their first meeting in London in April upon an immediate start to new START talks.
The first round of consultations was held in Moscow in May and the second came early this month in Geneva, shortly followed by an in-between meeting later in the month. Up till now all bilateral consultations on the issue, including last month’s visit to Washington by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been held in a constructive and businesslike manner.
However, despite both sides' apparent willingness to lead the way in nuclear reductions, there are worries that discrepancies in the number of nuclear warheads possessed by Russia and the US could complicate the talks.
Russia wants the new START treaty to limit not only the number of nuclear warheads, but also the means of their delivery. It is also holding out for a ban on the two countries deploying strategic nuclear weapons abroad and their placement in outer space. Moscow will also be pushing for the issues of strategic offensive arms and missile defense systems to be discussed as a single package – a clear reference to Washington’s planned anti-missile defense plans for Poland and the Czech Republic.
If the diplomats manage to quickly cope with the maze of extremely complex tasks at hand, Russians, Americans and just about everybody else in the world, will see that with goodwill and a sincere desire to reset their relations, Moscow and Washington can achieve what only yesterday looked like a mission impossible.
Source:The Voice of Russia