Russian and USA nuclear inspection experts meeting is on the cards and are expected to meet soon to discuss the possible resumption of inspections under New START, a key nuclear disarmament treaty between the two countries, the State Department said Tuesday.
“We have agreed that the BCC (bilateral coordinating committee) will meet in the near future under the terms of the New START treaty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Its work “is confidential, but we do hope for a constructive session,” Price said, adding that the United States is “focused on risk reduction in these conversations” despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Price declined to specify a date or location for the meeting, which would be the first for the commission since October 2021.
This is good: US and Russia agree to resume nuclear arms control talks in the coming weeks. The plan is to discuss resuming inspections under New START, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers., https://t.co/hdfGJQ4iZm
— Dave DeCamp (@DecampDave) November 8, 2022
Moscow announced in early August that it was suspending US inspections of its military sites under New START, saying it was responding to American obstruction of inspections by Russia.
New START is the last bilateral agreement of its kind between the world’s two main nuclear powers.
Signed in 2010, it limited the arsenals of the two countries to a maximum of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads each — a reduction of nearly 30 percent from the previous limit set in 2002.
It also limits the number of launchers and heavy bombers to 800, which is still enough to destroy the Earth several times over.
In January 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to extend the treaty for five years, until 2026.
Until now, Moscow and Washington were each allowed to conduct just under 20 mutual inspections per year under the treaty.
Price insisted on the willingness of the United States to keep open “channels for communication” with Russia, especially to deal with important bilateral issues.
Read more: Moscow cautioned against diverting energy from Ukrainian nuclear plant
Such channels have remained open despite Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which Washington staunchly opposes.
AFP story with additional input by Global Village Space news desk.