Published: 20:20, June 23, 2020 | Updated: 23:53, June 5, 2023
1st round of US-Russia nuclear arms talks end without results
By Xinhua

Marshall Billingslea (right), US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control and US AIR Force's Lieutenant General Thomas Bussiere give a press conference on June 23, 2020 in Vienna after the US and Russia met for talks on their last major nuclear weapons agreement. US and Russia held talks on expiring New START treaty against a backdrop of growing tensions and differences over whether they see any value in arms control at all. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

VIENNA — The first round of new disarmament talks between the United States and Russia has ended here with no tangible results, as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will expire in months.

We did not feel that the Americans are ready to accept our logic in favor of an extension without preconditions.

 Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister 

After full-day talks at the Niederoesterreich Palace in the Austrian capital, the Russian Foreign Ministry only said that "discussion on prospects for arms control continued, including the question of extending the New START treaty and maintaining stability."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the United States made it clear at the meeting held in Vienna that it has not yet decided on whether to extend the New START.

"We did not feel that the Americans are ready to accept our logic in favor of an extension without preconditions," Ryabkov was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

He noted that there is little time left for the discussions as the New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between Russia and the United States, expires on Feb 5, 2021.

ALSO READ: US does not expect to pull out of New START accord

He said that the United States insisted on China joining the agreement, while Russia explained to the Americans "in sufficient detail" that this is unrealistic.

Ryabkov said that Moscow respects Beijing's well-known position of not participating in any trilateral arms control talks with the United States and Russia.

Therefore, the only way forward at this stage is to continue the discussion in the bilateral Russia-US format, he said.

Ryabkov said the next round of consultations with Billingslea may take place at the end of July or beginning of August. 

Nevertheless, US chief negotiator Marshall Billingslea described the negotiations with Ryabkov on Monday as "very positive," saying on Twitter that there were "detailed discussions on full-range of nuclear topics," and that technical working groups were launched.

In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates the limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both. The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on Feb 5, 2021.

The agreement can be extended for at most five years with the consent of the two countries. Russia has expressed willingness to extend the treaty, while the US administration has yet to officially reply.

The current US administration has already withdrawn from several treaties with Russia, including those on overflights and on intermediate-range nuclear forces.

READ MORE: Putin says 'Russia is ready to extend the New START treaty'

If the New START is not renewed prior to its expiry date, the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia will be unconstrained for the first time since 1972.