Pompeo and Lavrov Discuss P5 Summit, New START
April 18, 2020 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone yesterday. They discussed a number of matters, chief among them, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry readout, was the planning for a summit meeting of the heads of state of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. “Sergey Lavrov and Mike Pompeo agreed to cooperate closely in preparing for the summit meeting of the UN Security Council permanent members on a wide range of international security matters, which was initiated by the President of Russia and scheduled for later this year,” the readout says.
Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed arms control, including the future of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). According to the terse U.S. State Department readout, they “discussed next steps in the bilateral Strategic Security Dialogue, taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary emphasized that any future arms control talks must be based on President Trump’s vision for a trilateral arms control agreement that includes both Russia and China.”
Lavrov has said on previous occasions that the New START ought to be extended before any discussion of involving China, which has so far expressed no interest in being involved in a trilateral arms control discussion, since it has one-fifth as many nuclear warheads as either the U.S. or Russia. The Russian readout doesn’t mention Lavrov’s reply to Pompeo on this. It reports that Lavrov reiterated
“the Russian proposal to extend the New START, which expires in February 2021. He emphasized that Russia is ready to work on new nuclear weapons control agreements, but that it is still important to preserve the New START as the cornerstone of global security until they are developed, which will inevitably take time.”
Also speaking by phone yesterday were U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and the secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev. “Patrushev and O’Brien focused on Russia-U.S. cooperation to combat the spread of COVID-19. They also discussed other security issues,” said a statement issued by the Russian Security Council, reported TASS.