US ready to extend arms control pact with Russia: Pompeo
Iran Press TV
Wednesday, 14 October 2020 5:55 PM
US secretary of state says his country is ready to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty after expiration.
"We would welcome the opportunity to complete an agreement based on the understandings that were achieved over the last couple of weeks about what the range of possibilities look like for an extension of New START," Mike Pompeo told the reporters during his weekly news conference on Wednesday.
The remarks come after Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov rejected earlier on Wednesday Washington's proposal to condition the extension of the treaty, the last remaining bilateral nuclear arms agreement, on the freezing of the both sides' nuclear weapons at the current levels.
Ryabkov also noted that Moscow would not be willing to approve a New START treaty extension prior to the upcoming US presidential election on November 3.
The START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington that puts a limit on the development and deployment of strategic nuclear warheads of both countries.
Back in July 1991, the START, which later was called the START I, was signed by then President George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, barring both countries from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers.
In January 1993, President Bush and Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president, signed the START II, but it collapsed and never entered into effect.
The START I treaty expired in late 2009 and its replacement, called the New START or START III, was signed in April 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, under which both sides agreed to halve the number of strategic nuclear missiles and restrict the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550.
The New START can be extended for another five years, beyond its expiry date in February 2021, by mutual agreement.
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