Biden, Putin agree to launch new dialogue on arms control
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin released a joint statement following their summit Wednesday agreeing to resume a dialogue on strategic stability on nuclear arms control.
The decision to begin the new dialogue is one of the few concrete deliverables emerging from the three-hour summit between Biden and Putin in Geneva, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office in January.
The meeting also touched on topics of contention, such as Russian cyberattacks and the Kremlin’s poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
“We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war,” the joint statement issued by the White House reads.
“The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” it continues. “Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust.”
The U.S. and Russia intend to use the dialogue to “lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures,” the statement says.
The Biden administration and Russia reached a deal in February shortly after Biden took office to extend New START, currently the only nuclear arms treaty between both countries, for five years.
Biden highlighted arms control as an area where both countries could find common ground during a press conference following the summit Wednesday.
He said he accomplished his three objectives for the summit: identifying areas of mutual interest, communicating that the U.S. would respond to actions that impair its interests or those of its allies, and laying out U.S. values.
“It was important to meet in person so there could be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate,” Biden told reporters. “I did what I came to do.”
While Biden and Putin made some progress on arms control, it was clear following the summit that tensions persist between the countries on cyberattacks and human rights issues.
Biden described the meeting as constructive but said it would take time to determine whether it yielded any positive results.
“We’ll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters,” Biden said.