Russia is demonstrating “goodwill” by going to the negotiating table with the US on the missile issue, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov ahead of the consultations with the US in Geneva, TASS reports.
The deputy foreign minister stated that Russia is “by no means more interested than the US” in furthering the dialog. “Under conditions in which they have tried and continue to issue all kinds of ultimatums, preconditions and demands, we are demonstrating significant goodwill. Because this is not the genre, the style, the approach in which a solution to complex problems can be sought out,” Ryabkov said.
According to the diplomat, the Russian delegation is committed to serious work. “Let’s see what we can achieve tomorrow,” he said.
In October, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington intends to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The US has repeatedly accused Russia of violations, and Moscow has responded with counter-accusations. The issue, according to the US State Department, is that Russia is testing a new missile system titled the 9M729 (or SSC-8 cruise missiles). Russian President Vladimir Putin later claimed that the US has provided no proof of any Russian violations.
In December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US will cease to observe the treaty in two months’ time unless Moscow meets all its obligations again. The only way Russia can save the treaty, he said, is by admitting to its violations.
The consultations in Geneva on January 15 will be the first since the start of the conflict surrounding the possible US withdrawal from the treaty. Ryabkov’s counterpart in the consultations will be US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson.
“On January 15 in Geneva in an interdepartmental format there will be consultations on the topic of the INF Treaty. It is the only issue on the agenda. We are pleased to note that America ultimately consented to these consultations after our repeated offers,” Ryabkov commented.
The Russian diplomat noted that the fate of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty would not be touched on during the current negotiations in Geneva. “The only matter we will work on is the INF Treaty. In principle, there is enough material for an entire day,” he observed.