Pompeo’s Sochi Talks with Putin and Lavrov Will Be Highest U.S.-Russian Talks since Helsinki
May 13, 2019 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet on May 14 with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi, after cancelling a Moscow visit planned on May 13 in order to join European official in Brussels for talks about Iran.
The Sochi talks will be the highest level of formal discussion held between the U.S. and the Russia since July 16, 2018, when Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a one-on-one meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Arms control will be high on the agenda for the Putin-Pompeo talks, said a State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and in particular, “an arms-control agreement that reflects modern reality.” The State Department said other topics for the Putin-Pompeo talks include the Venezuela crisis, Ukraine, Syria, and Iran.
In February, the U.S. suspended its participation in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, claiming that Russia had developed and deployed a missile system that violated the agreement, which Moscow denied. The INF treaty banned Russia and the U.S. from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
Both the U.S. and Russia have been making preparations for talks on how, and whether, to extend the 2011 New START treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms-control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons. The START treaty expires in February 2021, but can be extended for five years if both sides agree.
President Trump has called the New START treaty that Obama signed “a bad deal.” The idea of including China was raised, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who met with Lavrov in Sochi today, said China was not interested in negotiating a nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S. and Russia, and said that China kept its nuclear weapons at “the minimal level to ensure the defense policies.”