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As Trump Pushes for Pre-Election Nuclear Arms Agreement, U.S. and Russian Envoys Met in Helsinki

Oct. 12, 2020 (EIRNS)—U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing to get a nuclear arms agreement with Russia that both President Trump and President Vladimir Putin could sign before U.S. elections on Nov. 3, David Lawler reported for Axios on Oct. 9. The United States believes the prospective deal would be acceptable to Russian President Putin, and, both Presidents have discussed an arms control deal in phone calls. The deal could be negotiated in as little as a week, a source familiar with their discussions told Axios. While the Russians have not openly voiced such optimism, or publicly indicated they are willing to engage in expedited negotiations, election pressure has given rise to some optimism.

The agreement, Lawler wrote, would involve freezes on both countries’ stockpiles of nuclear warheads, as well as a framework for a future multilateral arms control treaty.

Putin wants to extend New START for five years, and so does Biden, Lawler reports. But Axios reports that Trump’s arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea has said the administration is only interested in extending New START in conjunction with a parallel agreement on the future of arms control. Whatever the status of the deadlock, the Russian and U.S. national security advisers Nikolai Patrushev and Robert O’Brien met in Geneva on Oct. 2, and on Monday, Oct. 5, there was the hastily arranged meeting between Billingslea and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Helsinki.

In related security issues, President Putin appeared last night on the Rossiya-1 TV program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin,” saying on that Washington had not responded to his appeal for them to resume cooperation in cyber security, reported TASS. “This is not the first time we are outlining this proposal; we hope that everyone is interested in implementing the proposals that we had made,” said the Russian President. “We are not losing hope that we will be able to continue this effort with all concerned parties, including the U.S.," Putin said of his Sept. 25 proposal.

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