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Russia, U.S. Complete 13-Hour Space Security Dialogue Meeting

July 29, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Russia-United States Working Group on Space Security completed 13 hours of discussion on July 28 in Vienna as part of their bilateral consultations on strategic stability. The U.S. delegation included officials from the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy, as well as the National Security Council. While the talks were substantive and will be continued, they did not discuss cooperation in space, but were more like the “deconfliction” arrangements between U.S. and Russian military forces in Syria, to avoid conflict.

“In this meeting, the two sides exchanged views on current and future space threats, policies, strategies, and doctrine, and discussed a forward-looking agenda to promote safe, professional, and sustainable activities in space,” the State Department press service said in a statement.

“Both delegations expressed interest in continuing these discussions and improving communications, such as on how to enhance communications between the two countries about space-related operational issues in order to reduce the risks of misunderstanding, help prevent or manage space-related incidents, and prevent inadvertent escalation,” the document reads.

“In more than 13 hours of discussion, these senior U.S. civilian and military experts with space policy and operational experience engaged in extensive discussions with Russian counterparts in the first space dialogue with Moscow in seven years.”

The Russians have yet to issue a counterpart statement, but Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian envoy to international organizations in Vienna, and an arms control expert, told Interfax on Monday, July 27, that ongoing consultations on strategic stability within the framework of the working groups in Vienna, where arms control talks began on July 28, are the most intensive dialogue on these issues between Russia and the United States over the past ten years.

“I do not remember a single instance over the past ten years when the Russian-U.S. consultations had been so lengthy, and with such an intensive and substantive agenda. It is not just talking, but such specific matters,” he said. “I remember nothing like that. This is actually serious. A normal, professional, and extensive dialogue involving institutions which have their own point of view on the matters” is ongoing in Vienna, Ulyanov continued. “In fact, this is a substantive event.”

Ulyanov, however, was not optimistic that the talks would produce any positive outcome. “We can hardly expect any results,” he said.

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