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State Department on Geneva Talks with Russia

July 16, 2019 (EIRNS)—Speaking about the coming talks between Russia and the U.S. in Geneva on July 17-18, senior U.S. officials told Reuters the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will not be discussed at the talks, and said that Washington does not expect any breakthrough at the consultations.

“A good meeting would be some greater clarity about where the Russians see things going with the Chinese,” one U.S. official said. However, another official noted that China is not a party to nuclear arms treaties between the U.S. and Russia and it is unclear how willing Beijing would be to participate in talks on this issue.

As for the New START treaty that expires in 2021, one of the officials said that talks would be “premature,” as this matter constitutes a “next-year problem.”

The Geneva talks will involve Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. The U.S. delegation will include Tim Morrison, who is taking over as Trump’s top Russia adviser on the National Security Council staff, plus representatives from the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, and others.

Morrison, who is an arms control expert, replaces Fiona Hill who was considered a hardliner on Russia, and her departure, according to some media accounts, is a signal that Trump was to come to an arms control agreement.

Foreign Policy quotes James Carafano at the Heritage Foundation as saying that President Trump

“wants to see, by the end of his presidency, Russia and China coming to the table and striking a Reaganesque bargain on lowering the threshold on nuclear arms between these great-power rivals. This is part of the preparation for that. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, it’s not going to happen next week ... but expect that push.”

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