0947 GMT September 24, 2021
Senior U.S. and Russian officials met in Geneva on Wednesday to restart talks to ease tensions between the world’s largest nuclear weapons powers with ties at post-Cold War lows, according to Reuters.
Russia’s Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said it was inevitable the powers would eventually have to discuss broadening the arms control talks to include more powers and that Moscow saw Britain and France as priorities in that regard.
“This question has taken on particular relevance in light of London’s recent decision to increase the maximum level of nuclear warheads by 40% – to 260 units,” Antonov said in comments published by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
In separate comments, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the United States wanted China to be included in wider talks on nuclear arms control, the Interfax News Agency reported.
Senior diplomats from the United States and Russia held what the U.S. State Department described as “substantive and professional” talks on arms control and other strategic issues on Wednesday despite myriad other differences that have sent relations into a tailspin, AP reported.
The State Department said the discussions in Geneva produced no breakthroughs but said they did yield the minimum for a positive result of such negotiations: An agreement to meet again in the context of talks endorsed by Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.
“We remain committed, even in times of tension, to ensuring predictability and reducing the risk of armed conflict and threat of nuclear war,” the department said in a statement. The two presidents had agreed to resume strategic talks when they met in Geneva last month.