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David Hubler

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By David E. Hubler
Edge Contributor

When AMU students compete in model UN competitions and take courses in International Relations and Global Security, they are most likely thinking about careers in international affairs, intelligence as well as in global security. These students also gain knowledge from closely following current events, especially when opposing sides meet in hopes of ironing out thorny issues of mutual interest.

Just such a meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, July 28, when senior U.S. and Russian officials met amid a growing bilateral recognition that arms control challenges extend well beyond long-range nuclear weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“It was the first time in nearly a year that the sides had held so-called strategic stability talks amid frictions over a range of issues, including arms control,” the Reuters news agency noted.

The New START Treaty Restricts Deployment of Intercontinental-Range Nuclear Weapons

The proliferation of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons is restricted by the New START Treaty, which the U.S. and Russia agreed to extend until 2026 after it was due to lapse in February. Both delegations were hoping for broader talks on other arms issues.

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to these talks, the first in a series of “integrated Strategic Stability Dialogues” arranged in June at President Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin when bilateral relations were at a low point.

The U.S. side was led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and the Russians were represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Prior to Wednesday’s bilateral meeting, a senior State Department official said, “We plan to be frank and direct with the Russians as we seek to clarify what the U.S. sees as threats to the current security environment and into the future.”

The US Delegation Discussed US Policy Priorities and the Current Security Environment

At Wednesday’s talks, “the US delegation discussed US policy priorities and the current security environment, national perceptions of threats to strategic stability, prospects for new nuclear arms control, and the format for future Strategic Stability Dialogue sessions,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement reported by CNN.

 At a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Ryabkov said the purpose of Wednesday’s session was to “analyze in detail where we have differences and try to find directions for joint work where there is a certain opportunity,” according to an Associated Press report. Ryabkov confirmed that the Russian delegation had submitted proposals to the U.S. in writing. But he offered no further details.

The two sides have agreed to reconvene talks in late September. As Reuters observed, “The decision to meet again showed the sides understand the need to resolve arms control disputes, a senior State Department official said, that have seen an end to several Cold War-era treaties, including one that limited intermediate-range missiles.”