WASHINGTON (Dispatches) - Russia has called on Britain and France to join wider nuclear arms control talks with the United States even as Washington wants China to be included in the negotiations.
Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., said on Thursday that enlarging the framework of the arms control talks to include more nuclear powers would be inevitable and that Moscow sees 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 percent — to 260 units,” Antonov said in comments published by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said in separate comments reported by the Interfax news agency that Washington wanted China to be included in wider talks on nuclear arms control.
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.
Senior diplomats from the United States and Russia have held what the U.S. State Department described as “substantive and professional” talks on arms control and other strategic issues amid other differences that have sent relations into a tailspin.
The discussions between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva produced no breakthroughs. But the State Department said the two agreed on another high-level round of talks in late September.
“We remain committed, even in times of tension, to ensuring predictability and reducing the risk of armed conflict and threat of nuclear war,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed to resume strategic talks when they met in Geneva last month.