US President Joe Biden has proposed to Russia to extend for five years the last disarmament treaty in force between the two nuclear powers, the New Start, which expires on February 5, reported this Thursday the White House press spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.
“I can confirm that the United States will seek a five-year extension,” Psaki told a news conference at the White House when asked about an article by The Washington Post, that advanced the news this Thursday.
“The President has long made it clear that New Start is in the national interest of the United States. And this extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is antagonistic, as it is right now, “Psaki said.
In this regard, the spokeswoman explained that, although Biden wants to work with the Kremlin to extend the treaty, Russia must also “hold accountable for its reckless and conflicting actions.”
For this reason, Biden has asked the intelligence agencies to make a thorough evaluation of the alleged Moscow interference in elections in the United States last November, the use of chemical weapons against the Russian opponent Alexei Navalni and the Russian rewards to the Taliban in exchange for kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Psaki did not detail when the intelligence community will deliver its assessment of these acts to Biden and did not reveal what kind of actions the US president could take against Russia.
Moscow awaits “concrete proposals”
Regarding the New Start, like his predecessor, Donald Trump, Biden had the option of looking for a temporary solution to the treaty and extending it for a short period of time, but he has advocated extending it for five years, that is, until 2026, as established in the pact when it was signed in 2010.
This week, the Kremlin already said that remained committed to expanding the New Start for five years and was awaiting “concrete proposals” from Biden, who took office Wednesday.
In recent months, the government of former President Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to find a temporary solution and extend the pact for a short period, but did not no agreement was materialized with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who last October proposed a one-year extension.
China’s stumbling block
The main point of friction between the two powers was the Trump administration’s insistence that China be part of the New Start talks despite the fact that the Asian giant refused to sit at the negotiating table considering that you have far fewer nuclear weapons than Washington and Moscow.
In turn, Russia maintained that in any case France and the United Kingdom should be included, the other two nuclear powers declared to be permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The New Start limits the number of strategic nuclear weapons, with a maximum of 1,550 warheads and 700 ballistic systems for each of the two powers, on land, sea or air.
Experts fear that the expiration of the New Start will lead to a new rearmament race nuclear weapons, as for the first time since 1972 there would be no atomic weapons control agreement in force between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.
Russia and the United States have 90% of all nuclear weapons that exist on the planet.