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Russia welcomes US proposal on extension of arms control treaty

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Moscow, Jan 23 (IANS) Russia has welcomed a proposal by the administration of new US President Joe Biden over the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), adding that everything will depend on the details of the plan, the Kremlin announced.

“Russia stands in favour of the preservation of the New START and for the extension of this treaty, where a time lag could be used for conducting appropriate negotiations,” Xinhua news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.

It is significant to take each other’s concerns into consideration, Peskov said.

When commenting on whether Moscow received a formal proposal from Washington on the extension of the treaty, the Kremlin spokesman noted that there were currently no details on this.

He reiterated that Russia was yet to find out what the US will propose, adding that Moscow’s position “is well-known and consistent”.

Peskov’s remarks came a day after multiple US media reports said that the Biden administration would seek a full five-year extension of the New START, which is set to expire on February 5.

During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the President “does intend to seek an extension, and we have to make a decision about what duration we would seek”.

The New START, which was signed in 2010. can be extended by a maximum of five years with the consent of the two countries.

The treaty, which stipulates limits to the numbers of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, is the last remaining nuclear arms control pact in force between the two nuclear superpowers.

The administration of former President Donald Trump tried to conclude a shorter extension of the treaty last year after rounds of negotiation with Russia, but the two sides failed to finalise a formal agreement.

–IANS

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