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Iran Press TV

Russia says arms control, security should be discussed at a Putin-Biden meeting

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 6:01 PM

Russia has proposed that arms control and security issues be high on the agenda of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Joe Biden.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said Moscow welcomed a proposal by the United States to hold a summit between the two presidents and underlined that the question of arm control and global strategic stability should be the main topics in the meeting, considering Washington's withdrawal from many arms control treaties.

Lavrov also said that both Russia and the United States must shoulder special responsibility for the stability of the world.

The top Russian diplomat added that Moscow was still awaiting answers from Washington on details for any proposed meeting.

US Representative to the Geneva Disarmament Conference Robert Wood backed Lavrov's comments on Tuesday, saying the two sides had agreed to discuss arms control and security matters, and that preparations for a possible meeting between Putin and Biden were underway.

"President Biden and President Putin have agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues," he told a virtual United Nations conference on disarmament. "They are in the process of preparing for these discussions."

Biden has said he would like to hold a summit with Putin during his trip to Europe in June, offering to meet in a third country to discuss rising tensions between Washington and Moscow.

In February, Russia and the United States formally extended the New START nuclear arms-control treaty for another five years, just days before it was set to expire.

The New START, the last remaining arms-control pact between the two sides, limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and deployed strategic delivery systems, and provides for a verification regime.

Over the past six years, the US has imposed waves of sanctions against Russia, including over alleged meddling in its 2016 presidential election and the recent jailing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Relations between the two Cold War foes hit a new low in March after Biden said in an interview that he believed Putin was a "killer" and that the Russian president would have to "pay a price" for interference in the US presidential election.

More recently, tensions have escalated between the two sides over the Russian-speaking Donbass region of Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces have been fighting since 2014.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.

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