Thu, 02 Feb 2023

Russia postponed nuclear weapons talks with the United States set to take place this week in Cairo, the U.S. State Department said on Monday, with neither side giving a reason for the postponement.

Officials from the two countries were scheduled to meet in the Egyptian capital from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 to discuss resuming inspections under the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which had been suspended in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

'The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates,' a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said they could not provide further information, but said Washington is 'ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability.'

In response to a question, the Russian foreign ministry confirmed the talks were postponed.

The New START Treaty, which came into force in 2011, caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, and the deployment of land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had played down expectations of a breakthrough, although the talks were a sign that both sides at least wanted to maintain dialog, even though relations are at their lowest level since the Cold War.

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