0609 GMT February 25, 2020
Sergei Lavrov, who serves as acting foreign minister in the wake of Wednesday’s resignation of the Russian cabinet, said this week’s meeting of top US and Russian diplomats on strategic stability didn’t achieve any immediate results, adding that “dialogue is continuing,” AP reported.
Russia-US relations have been at post-Cold War lows since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014.
Speaking at an annual news conference, Lavrov said that the US has stonewalled Russia’s push for extending the New START nuclear arms treaty that expires in 2021. The agreement is the last US-Russian arms control deal still in place, and Moscow has argued that its demise will remove the final barrier stemming an arms race.
“We will act strongly to avoid depriving the world of agreements that control and limit nuclear weapons,” said Lavrov, who has was appointed foreign minister in 2004.
“We stand for the extension of the New START treaty without any preconditions,” he said. “I hope that the Americans hear us, but we haven’t received any coherent signals from them.”
US President Donald Trump’s administration has pushed for China to join nuclear arms cuts, but Lavrov described the idea as unrealistic. He pointed at Beijing’s refusal to discuss reductions in its nuclear arsenal, which is much smaller than those of the US or Russia.
Lavrov emphasized that the US push for Russia to encourage China to change its mind doesn’t make sense. “We respect the Chinese position and we won’t persuade China to change it,” he said.