U.S., Russia Commit To Further New START Commission Meetings

Senior U.S. and Russian diplomats on July 17 pledged the nations to additional meetings of the Bilateral Consultative Commission for the bilateral New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the State Department said July 18.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon Jr. and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov “committed to holding future New START Bilateral Consultative Commission and Strategic Stability Talks and will exchange scheduling proposals in the near future,” according to a press statement from Foggy Bottom.

The commission, per the New START text, is intended to “promote the objectives and implementation” of the treaty, which requires Russia and the United States by February 2018 to deploy no more than 1,550 strategic warheads on 700 fielded delivery systems. Its responsibilities include resolving questions of compliance with the treaty, setting additional measures to increase the effectiveness of New START, and determining how the accord applies to any new forms of strategic offensive weapon.

The commission conducted its 13th session from March 29 to April 11 in Geneva, Switzerland, the State Department said at the time.

New START expires in 2021, meaning it would likely be up to Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to decide whether to extend the treaty for up to the allowed five years, negotiate a separate arms control deal, or abandon the process altogether.

There has been no public indication that Moscow and Washington will not meet their obligations under New START, even as both nations accuse the other of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

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