Trump Says He Had 'Very Productive Talk' With Putin on Possible Nuclear Accord
19:06 03.05.2019(updated 20:20 03.05.2019)
Late last month, the US president indicated his intention to negotiate a major nuclear arms control deal with Russia and China, saying such a treaty should include 'all the weapons, all the warheads, all the missiles' in the countries' respective arsenals.
President Trump has confirmed that he had a "long and very good conversation" with President Vladimir Putin, calling it a "very productive talk."
Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed that the conversation took place, saying that the topics discussed included the possibility of penning a new nuclear accord between Washington, Moscow and Beijing.
"They discussed a nuclear agreement, both new and extended, and the possibility of having conversations with China on that as well," Sanders noted, speaking to reporters.
According to the spokeswoman, the discussion also included focus on the extention of the New START treaty between Russia and the US, with the 2010 agreement, which is up for renewal in 2021, committing both countries to reducing the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov confirmed Friday that Putin and Trump had spoken, saying the discussion "lasted almost nearly an hour and a half" and promising to provide more details on the conversation at a later time.
Sanders said that in addition to nuclear issues, Friday's discussion included the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Mueller report, trade, Ukraine, and the crisis in Venezuela. According to the spokeswoman, Trump had urged Putin to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, and reminded Moscow that "all options continue to be on the table" regarding Venezuela. Sanders noted that Friday's talks were "an overall positive conversation."
Earlier this year, Moscow expressed concerns over US nuclear policy following Washington's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a 1987 agreement banning the deployment of ground-based nuclear launcher systems in the 500-5,500 km range which was aimed at reducing the risks of nuclear war in Europe. Last week, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said the future of the New START was similarly uncertain given some "serious issues" which must be settled before its renewal. Last week, the Russian military blasted Washington's efforts to deploy its missile defence systems along Russia's borders and its plans for a network of space-based anti-missile systems, saying these programs were aimed at providing the US with a first strike capability while depriving Russia of its strategic deterrent.
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