26 Jan, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden held their first phone call on Tuesday, discussing options to prolong the New START treaty, cooperation in battling Covid-19, and the normalization of bilateral relations
The Tuesday talks apparently centered on some of the sticking points of Russian-American relations, including the renewal of dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation. Moscow and Washington had exchanged diplomatic notes earlier in the day on prolonging the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (known as New START), a summary of the call published on the Kremlin’s website has revealed. The presidents expressed their satisfaction with the progress made, it reported.
New START, which obliges Russia and the US to reduce the number of their strategic nuclear missile launchers by half, expires in February. The Trump administration had shown an unwillingness to prolong the agreement without preconditions – a stance that appears to have changed under Biden.
In the coming days, Russia and the US are expected to complete all the procedures needed to ensure the landmark deal will remain in force
Putin told Biden that the normalization of ties between Moscow and Washington would benefit not just both nations, but the whole international community, considering the role of Russia and the US in maintaining stability and security around the globe.
In the Tuesday call, Putin also congratulated Biden on taking up his new role at the White House, the Kremlin said.
Other bilateral issues discussed by Putin and Biden included the possibility of joint efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, as well as trade and economic cooperation.
The presidents also addressed the prospect of maintaining the Iranian nuclear deal, the settlement of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and Russia’s initiative to stage a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The summary of the conversation provided on the White House website appeared much less conciliatory, despite similarly leading with discussion of the New START treaty. It said that Biden had reaffirmed the US’ “firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty,” and had brought up the situation with Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, the SolarWinds hack, the alleged “interference in the 2020 United States election,” and even the unfounded allegations of “Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan.”
Both statements said that Putin and Biden have agreed to maintain their communication going forward.
Pubished at www.rt.com