US, Russia to hold talks on arms control, space security in Vienna

HELSINKI, July 16, 2018 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started their first bilateral meeting here on Monday, and they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues. (Xinhua/Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa/IANS)

Washington, July 25 (IANS) The US will hold talks with Russia next week in Vienna on nuclear arms control and space security, the State Department said.

A US delegation of staff members from the departments of State, Defence, Energy, and the National Security Council will hold a US-Russia Space Security Exchange in the Austrian capital on July 27, the Department said in a statement on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The upcoming meeting would be the first formal bilateral talks between the United States and Russia on space security since 2013.

US Space Command said Thursday that Russia had conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon on July 15, but Moscow rejected the allegation.

US and Russian representatives would also gather in Vienna for nuclear arms control working group meetings next week.

The United States and Russia had consultations on arms control and strategic stability in Vienna last month, with no tangible progress made on the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

In 2010, Washington and Moscow signed the New START, which stipulates the limits to the numbers of deployed nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems by both. The New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between the two nuclear superpowers, will expire on Feb. 5, 2021.

The agreement can be extended for at most five years with the consent of the two countries. Russia has expressed willingness to extend the treaty, while the Trump administration has yet to officially reply.

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