Ryabkov ‘Content’ with Results of Geneva Strategic Stability Talks with U.S.
July 29 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Commenting on the Strategic Stability talks with the U.S. on July 28, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was positive. The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who had just arrived from talks in Tianjin, China. “As for the meeting’s atmosphere, I’d describe it as very down-to-earth, very businesslike, very focused, conscious and rational, to quote the statement adopted after the Geneva summit on June 16” between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden, he said.
“They are ready. This is a good thing. They sent an impressive delegation representing all departments” from the U.S. and the Washington “worked through its agenda 100%,” he told TASS.
“We managed to broadly present positions to each other; we also heard critical comments from the American side which is very normal; we also heard their opinion about the way we need to continue working. In general, we are very content about this first opening meeting at our level in Geneva,” he told reporters on July 28.
Pointing out that the talks were not a formal “negotiation,” he explained: “We are engaged in dialogue; let’s be frank. It is a less formal process than negotiations. We are fine with that. If this dialogue is conscious and rational, it will be an achievement in itself when we will be able to report back to our leaders about fulfilling the instructions in the way they were delivered.”
It appears that “working groups” could come out of these talks, but that has not yet been agreed upon. “The issue of working groups sounded. The key idea of our approach is that the topics of working groups derive from the task that we want to solve,” Ryabkov said. “Now, we don’t have mutual understanding with the Americans on this issue, but this is a purely passing moment, and a current one; it should not be dramatized at all. What working groups could be and what could be their agenda is an important issue. Some time later, I think we will iron this out on a reasonable and mutually acceptable basis for Moscow and Washington.”
While saying that what “clearly emerged in the arms-control sphere” was the key topic to act on, they could not agree on how to overcome the current crisis in relations. “We could not work out an answer to this question, it is very difficult. This issue has been long stripped of attention, and we are now only in the beginning of the process of exchanging opinions about what exactly to do and how to continue our work,” he stressed.
As for the U.S. pressure for China to join the arms-control talks, he expressed real doubt. “China proceeds from the fact that Russia and the United States are the largest possessors of nuclear armaments, the biggest nuclear powers by the scope of their arsenals, and it is illegitimate now to raise the issue of Beijing joining these efforts under any formula.”