Russia will expect the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden to give concrete proposals on the extension of the New START Treaty that expires on February 1, 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
He noted that the Biden administration was likely to accept agreement with Russia and China in those spheres where it would be in the United States’ interests and where they would not be able to do without dialogue with Moscow and Beijing.
"The most important and, probably, top priority area is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control. We have heard about the Biden administration’s plans to resume dialogue with us on these topics, including plans to try to agree the extension of the New START before its expiration on February 5. We will be waiting for concrete proposals. Our position is well-known and it is still in force," Lavrov told a news conference on the results of Russia’s diplomacy in 2020, TASS reports.
According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow knows about the new administration’s plans to review the decisions on the country’s withdrawal from a number of international agreements and organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO, the United Nations Human Rights Council, that were taken under Trump’s administration. "Let us wait and see. We entertain no illusions," he said. "We are realistic and we have our initiatives on all issues of the agenda that are more or less significant for humankind. And a number of such initiatives are being implemented."
"To put it in a nutshell, we don’t expect radical changes but, of course, methods of promoting America’s leadership will probably be somewhat different," he added.
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) was signed in 2010 and entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.
The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years, until 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standards in the area of disarmament. The US President Donald Trump administration insisted China be invited to sign the treaty as well but Beijing turned down the idea. During his election campaign, US President-elect Joe Biden spoke in favor of extending the treaty.