As Russian diplomats discussed the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons with their counterparts from the United States, the heads of the Russian and Chinese armed forces forged closer ties in a separate meeting that marked yet another sign of alignment between Washington’s top two rivals.
The State Department announced Wednesday that a delegation headed by Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman met with a Russian team led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Geneva to mark the beginning of the U.S.-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue, which was outlined in last month’s summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The U.S. delegation discussed U.S. policy priorities and the current security environment, national perceptions of threats to strategic stability, prospects for new nuclear arms control, and the format for future Strategic Stability Dialogue sessions,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
He described the discussions as “professional and substantive,” and said the two sides agreed to meet again in September for a plenary meeting.
Ryabkov called the meeting “very down to earth, very businesslike, very focused, conscious and rational,” citing the June 16 statement adopted after the meeting between Biden and Putin in the same Swiss city, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
But he also identified difficulties associated with the dialogue as the two attempted to address what Ryabkov described as a crisis “that clearly emerged in the arms control sphere.”
“We could not work out an answer to this question, it is very difficult,” Ryabkov said. “This issue has been long stripped of attention and we are now only in the beginning of the process of exchanging opinions about what exactly to do and how to continue our work.”
When asked, he dismissed the idea that China would join the discussion.