Billingslea: the US has reached an “agreement in principle” with Russia on Start-3

Moscow disagreed with this, citing the unacceptability of the US proposals.

A senior us diplomat believes the US has reached an “agreement in principle” with Russia to extend the Start 3 Treaty, the last major nuclear weapons agreement between the two countries, which expires in February.

However, Russia disagreed with this assessment.

The administration of President Donald Trump insisted that China become a party to the nuclear arms reduction agreement. Still, three weeks before the US election made it clear that it was generally ready to keep the Treaty in its current form.

“In fact, we are ready to extend the Start-3 Treaty for some time, provided that they, in turn, agree to limit-freeze – their nuclear Arsenal,” said the head of the US delegation to the talks, Marshall Billingslea.

“We believe that there is a Fundamental agreement reached at the highest level of our two governments,” he said, speaking at the Heritage Foundation.

Last week, Billingslea cut short a trip to Asia to meet with his Russian counterpart in Helsinki, saying he felt a sense of compromise.

He said Russia has not yet finally approved the “gentlemen’s agreement” and must agree on the details.

“We are ready to conclude this agreement. In fact, we are ready to do it tomorrow. But Moscow must also show the political will to do this,” he said.

Billingslea noted that the US still insists on China’s participation, whose nuclear program is growing rapidly.

“Everything we agree on with the Russians should be framed and formatted in a way that allows us to extend this agreement to China when they eventually sit down at the negotiating table,” Billingslea said.

However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US proposal was unacceptable to Moscow.

“The US position in favor of freezing has long been known to us. It is unacceptable for us. Not because we are against freezing, but because we need to deal with the complex problems of strategic stability: we need to deal with carriers, we need to deal with space, we need to deal with missile defense – the system that the United States is creating, we need to deal with their new strategic range carriers in conventional equipment,” Ryabkov told.

According to Ryabkov, the United States will not receive any Start agreement from Russia “timed to coincide with their elections.”
“If the Americans need to report something to their superiors that they allegedly agreed with the Russian Federation before their election, they won’t get it,” Ryabkov said.