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U.S., Russia To Hold Discussions On START Nuclear Arms Treaty

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (file photo)

The United States and Russia plan to soon start discussions at the expert level on a nuclear arms-reduction treaty signed in 2010, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said.

Ryabkov told Russian news agencies in Helsinki, Finland, after meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon that the two were in agreement that the New START treaty should be implemented without exception.

Asked about the Shannnon-Ryabkov meeting at a briefing on September 12, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it "provided both sides with an opportunity to raise questions and concerns related to strategic stability and also to clarify their positions on that matter." She did not give details.

The New START treaty foresees the reduction of both countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,550 warheads and 800 launch systems.

It is one of the few nuclear agreements still being honored amid the current strained relations between Washington and Moscow.

The United States has accused Russia of violating the INF treaty, which forbids the use of short- and middle-range missiles, while Moscow said it was abandoning a treaty to destroy weapon-grade plutonium, claiming Washington did not fulfill its side of the agreement.

Ryabkov also said after meeting with Shannon that he did not see any possibility of Russia getting back its shuttered consulate-general in San Francisco and two other trade missions in the United States.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was asked about the Shannon-Ryabkov meeting on September 12 but did not provide any details or comments.

Based on reporting by dpa, TASS, and Interfax