Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister Serguei Lavrov Tuesday released a statement that suggests a one-year extension to the bilateral New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by the U.S. and the European nation.
US Rejects Putin's Proposal on New START Extension
“Russia is proposing to extend New START by one year and is ready together with the United States to make a political commitment to “freeze” the number of nuclear warheads held by the parties for this period,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov's words came one week after U.S. declined a Russian offer to extend the pact for one year unconditionally. Washington pleaded that the deal was a “non-starter”.
"This position of ours can be implemented strictly and exclusively on the understanding that the freezing of warheads will not be accompanied by any additional demands from the United States," the Russian minister said.
However, the proposal to “freeze” the number of nuclear warheads might help to reach an understanding between both sides.
A few hours after Lavrov's statement, U.S. State Department expressed gratitude for the offer and requested an immediate meeting of negotiators.
On this line, the State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said that “the U.S. is prepared to meet immediately to finalize a verifiable agreement. We expect Russia to empower its diplomats to do the same.”