Russia open to in-person talks with U.S. on nuclear arms treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on agriculture issues via video link in Sochi, Russia September 27, 2022. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it was studying the possibility of a face-to-face meeting between Russian and U.S. negotiators on a landmark nuclear arms control treaty.

In a briefing in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia was open to reviving inspections under the New START treaty and considering the possibility of in-person meetings of a joint commission of representatives from the United States and Russia.

Physical inspections under the treaty have been suspended since 2020, initially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The topic of resuming them is being considered," Zakharova said on Thursday. "The possibilities for holding a face-to-face session of the bilateral advisory commission are being studied."

The treaty sets limits on the number of nuclear arms each side can have deployed, and outlines the terms for verification and inspection of each other's nuclear arsenals.

Moscow said in August it was considering a new meeting of the commission, as well as a possible resumption of negotiations to extend the treaty, one of the few major diplomatic agreements that remain in place between Moscow and Washington as relations hit rock-bottom over the conflict in Ukraine.

Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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