9 Nov 2022 17:56

Next session of Russian-U.S. commission on New START slated to take place soon - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Nov 9 (Interfax) - Another session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is due to be held soon, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"We are not ending the professional dialogue with the American party, both in the form of exchanging documents and via other existing channels. In particular, the next session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the New START Treaty is slated to take place soon. Talking about some kind of negotiation process would not be quite appropriate here, it is not so much a negotiation process as practical and constant work on the entire range of issues arising in the context of the implementation of the treaty," she said at a press briefing.

In particular, Zakharova thus responded to a request to comment on media reports that Moscow and Washington are continuing contacts on mutual inspections.

"The interaction between Russia and the United States on its implementation is maintained primarily through the exchange of relevant notifications on the changes and capabilities of each country's strategic offensive weapons," she said.

"The Russian party has specific substantiated claims to the way the U.S. is dealing with its commitments under the Treaty. In particular, we intend to address once again the long-standing problem of the exclusion of dozens of heavy bombers and submarine-based launchers from the START Treaty count by the Americans, which, as the U.S. party says, have been reequipped and are no longer capable of using nuclear weapons. Russian experts should be given the opportunity to clearly verify this. The lack of full clarity on this issue is unacceptable for us," Zakharova said.

"Our country continues to strictly comply with the START provisions, there is currently only a temporary withdrawal by Russia of its strategic offensive weapons facilities from inspection activities under the treaty until the removal of the remaining technical obstacles that have arisen following the U.S. imposition of anti-Russian restrictive measures, which makes it impossible to conduct inspections on an equal basis," Zakharova said.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price earlier said that Moscow and Washington would hold a meeting on the implementation of the New START Treaty in the near future. He also said he hoped that the talks would allow both countries to continue mutual inspections, which had previously been suspended.

On Tuesday, Western media reported that this meeting could take place in Cairo.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov previously said that Moscow and Washington were continuing to discuss the possibility of holding a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the New START Treaty, but there is no clarity on this yet. He also noted that the Russian party was looking for an alternative to Geneva.