US says Russia unilaterally postponed New START Treaty talks

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US says Russia unilaterally postponed New START Treaty talks

The State Department spokesperson said the decision was made unilaterally by Russia and blamed Russia for postponing meetings to discuss the nuclear weapons agreement between the two countries that were scheduled to begin in Egypt on Tuesday.

The United States and the Russian Federation were to convene a meeting of the New START Treaty's Bilateral Consultative Commission BCC in Cairo, Egypt to discuss the implementation of the New START Treaty on November 29th. The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and that it would propose new dates.

The US is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible time, as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability, the spokesperson said.

A senior State Department official told CNN that Russia did not provide a reason for the US to postpone the talks. Moscow informed the US of its decision in recent days, the official said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti that the talks had been postponed, but did not give a reason for the delay.

The Bilateral Consultative Commission on the Russian-American START Treaty, previously scheduled for Cairo November 29 -- December 6 will not take place on the dates indicated by the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the Russian-American START Treaty. The ministry said the event was postponed to a later date.

The New START Treaty limits the number of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that both the US and Russia can have. Washington and Moscow conduct inspections of each other's weapons sites, but since 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, inspections have been halted.

The treaty was extended for five years in early 2021.

Biden administration officials viewed it as a positive development that the New START talks were taking place earlier this month, particularly as they were set to occur in the wake of Moscow's nuclear saber-rattling toward Ukraine.