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Biden Nominates National Security Council Lawyer To Arms Control Post

U.S. President Joe Biden (file photo)

President Joe Biden said on July 2 that he planned to nominate Mallory Stewart to be assistant secretary of state for arms control, a position that in the past has played a central role in negotiating treaties such as New START.

If confirmed by the Senate, Stewart would lead the State Department's bureau of arms control, verification, and compliance, the White House said in a statement. Stewart, a lawyer, is currently a senior director on the White House National Security Council.

The United States and Russia in February extended New START for five years, and at their summit last month Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to begin "strategic stability" talks to "seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures."

The New START treaty first went into effect in 2011. The treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550, deployed strategic delivery systems at 700, and provides for a verification regime.

Stewart previously worked as a State Department arms control attorney and was an architect of the U.S.-Russia Framework to eliminate Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this week that he expects new arms control talks to begin by the middle of July.

The "preliminary consultations" are to yield an agreement on the topics of the talks, Lavrov said on June 30.

Based on reporting by Reuters