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U.S., Russia To Push Ahead With Arms Control Talks After 'Substantive' Meeting


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (left) and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman shake hands at the start of talks in Geneva on September 30.

The United States and Russia have agreed to press ahead with arms control and related strategic security talks aimed at easing tensions between the world's largest nuclear weapons powers.

Meeting in Geneva on September 30, senior U.S. and Russian diplomats agreed to set up two working groups to pursue potential accords related to nuclear weapons and other global threats, according to a joint statement issued after the talks.

The two working groups are to convene ahead of a third plenary meeting. No dates were announced for those gathering.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, whose countries possess 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, agreed at a summit in Geneva in June to launch a bilateral dialogue on strategic stability to "lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures," and officials from both sides met in the Swiss city the following month.

It was the first time in nearly a year that the sides had held such talks amid frictions over arms control and a range of other issues.

According to the joint statement issued after the September 30 meeting, the delegations headed by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov held "intensive and substantive" negotiations.

A senior U.S. administration official told reporters that the discussion “was very interactive and broad-based, and we think we were able to cover a variety of issues.”

"I think this was a good building-on of the meeting that we had in July and both delegations really engaging in a detailed and dynamic exchange," according to the official, who declined to provide specifics.

The rivals have been looking at specific issues such as how to move beyond the New START treaty, a cornerstone of global arms control, that Biden and Putin have agreed to extend until 2026.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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