Biden administration to approach Russia about nuclear treaty extension

President Joe Biden’s administration will turn to Russia on Thursday in hopes of resuming dialogue on the last remaining nuclear deal between the two countries, according to an internal State Department memo on NBC News.

Under the title “Demarche Request: New START Extension”, the memo states that the US will propose to extend the groundbreaking New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or New START, which expires on February 5, by five years

The renewal of the contract is one of the most pressing national security challenges for the new Biden team.

“So that the United States and Russia can take all necessary steps to formalize an extension of the treaty by that deadline,” the memo said. “The Biden government will make initial contact with the Russian government on January 21st for a five-year extension of the contract.”

The suggestion was first reported from the Washington Post.

In the memo, US diplomats were instructed to inform the allies “at the highest appropriate level” of the proposal.

While Washington’s relationship with Moscow is said to be “likely to remain challenging,” the memo states that New START “is obviously in the national security interests of the United States and our allies” because it “places limits on Russia’s nuclear program” about information the Russian nuclear arsenal and gives us access to Russian nuclear facilities. “

The cable adds that the US “has a clear eye on the challenges Russia poses,” and the Biden administration “will work in close consultation with our allies and partners to hold Russia accountable for its ruthless and aggressive actions to pull “.

The State Department did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The new START treaty signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev limited each country to no more than 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 missiles and bombers deployed.

It is the only nuclear arms control agreement between the two countries that still exists after Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 medium-range nuclear forces treaty last year.

Russia had previously offered the Trump administration a five-year extension of the new START contract without preconditions and signaled earlier this week that the deal was still possible.

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The Trump administration had rejected Russia’s offer and pushed for a shorter arms control agreement that included a freeze on all nuclear warheads and the future inclusion of China. But the negotiations ultimately ended in a stalemate.

“I hope that’s not true. If so, there is an amazing lack of negotiating skills. “The US chief negotiator under Trump tweeted the following reports of the proposal. “It only took the Biden team 24 hours to waste the greatest leverage we have on Russia.”

After Biden was sworn in as president on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry split in one Press release She hoped that the new US administration would “take a more constructive position in its dialogue with Russia” on New START.

“We for our part are ready for such work on the basis of equality and respect for mutual interests,” it said.

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