Russian-US Talks on Strategic Stability Put on Pause: Russian Senior Diplomat

Russian-US Talks on Strategic Stability Put on Pause: Russian Senior Diplomat

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Russian-US talks on strategic stability have been put on pause but not terminated, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.

"I think this is a right view - they have been put on a pause, they have not been terminated. We postponed the meeting of the bilateral consultative commission on the New START treaty, we have not canceled it. I would refrain from making guesses when we are going to offer alternative dates," he said in an interview with the Izvestia daily, which came out on Thursday.

According to the Russian diplomat, the decision on the postponement of the meeting on the New START treaty was difficult. "It was a difficult decision, it was a political decision. It has been said more than once that the situation with the United States’ deeper and more dangerous involvement into the developments in and around Ukraine has directly influenced our decision in whether this meeting be organized right now. The conclusion was negative: that it is not a right time to meet in this format," he said.

He also pointed to a technical aspect of the matter, i.e. the absence of an agreed agenda. "In the long run, for the first time since the establishment of this instrument - the bilateral consultative commission on the New START treaty - we have come to the session with no completely agreed list of issues to work on. Naturally, it was the last straw for the decision to postpone the meeting," he explained.

He stressed that Russia is not looking at possible unilateral concessions in the strategic stability dialogue with the United States, but is ready to resume this dialogue on an equal and well-balanced basis.

"If and when the Americans are ready to resume (strategic stability dialogue), we will be ready. We know that it will not be an easy task as dialogue proceeded with difficulties and now there can be some additional elements in the US’ position, which won’t be welcome for us, but, after all, it is up to them to decide," he said, TASS reported. 

"We will address problems when they arise. We are not queuing after them (the Americans), we are not begging them, not asking for a favor. This dialogue can be continued only on an equal, pragmatic, well-balanced basis. And ant results can be expected only if the other side understands that unilateral concessions from Russia are out of the question. This is no option, it is not even looked at," he stressed.

Russia doesn’t think it necessary to sever diplomatic relations with the United States as the resource of other diplomatic demarches is not yet exhausted, Ryabkov said.

"We don’t want it. As a matter of fact, the severance of diplomatic relations is a signal that there is absolutely no political resource left, only a force one. We don’t want that," he said,

"We cannot afford shooting from the hip. We must not yield to provocation and there have been a lot of them," he noted. "The resource of diplomatic demarches other than the severance of relations has not yet been exhausted."

According to the diplomat, the situation in Russian-US relations is still problematic and difficult. "So far, we have only imitation, only exchange of signals about our positions, but there is no search for solutions. We don’t have it, regrettably. And the situation is problematic, (and) difficult. Let us call things by their proper name: the situation is like this," he noted.

He stressed that communications channels with the United States are needed, for instance, to discuss the problem of Russian nationals kept in US prisons. "And we need to have a possibility to send our signals on many other aspects," he added.

He noted that Washington’s statements and concrete actions, especially in what concerns the Ukrainian crisis, trespass certain thresholds and red lines.

"Some are accusing the foreign ministry and those who are working in the American direction of political patience, but this approach is not applicable to the situation," Ryabkov emphasized. "Restraint and composure are needed. They are a must when dealing with such a sophisticated and anti-Russian opponent and adversary.".