Monday, May 20, 2024

First Contact | Biden discusses thorny issues with Putin, the disarmament agreement

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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(Washington) On Tuesday, new US President Joe Biden showed toughness in his first contact with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, despite their “agreement in principle” for disarmament and Moscow’s calls for “normalization” between the two rival powers.

Francesco Fontimage
France Media

US-Russian relations are at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, despite failed attempts at rapprochement by former US President Donald Trump.

His successor, Joe Biden, wants to be more offensive.

New Beginning Treaty

Ironically, given the extremely tight schedule, this new chapter begins with a desire for dialogue: The New Beginning Treaty to Limit Nuclear Weapons, the last bilateral agreement of this kind, ends in ten days, and Washington announced it as soon as it wanted last week. . To be extended.

According to the White House, the two leaders “indicated the two countries’ desire to extend the new start for a period of five years, and agreed to make their teams work urgently for the extension by February 5.”

Indeed, the Kremlin mentioned an “agreement in principle” in a draft bill sent to Parliament, after it mentioned “exchanging diplomatic notes on the extension” accompanied by “active contacts” to renew the treaty “in the interest of the two countries, as of the whole world.”

“We have reached an agreement with Russia on the fact that we must move quickly to conclude such an agreement by the fifth of February,” the US State Department told AFP.

Iran and nuclear energy

The US Democrat also said he was prepared to “consider discussions on strategic stability on a series of issues related to arms control and security.” It stands out on this basis from his Republican predecessor, who did not succeed in renewing New Start – or did not want to – and withdrew from other treaties.

Donald Trump had closed the door with great fanfare in the international Iran nuclear deal, which Moscow was one of the signatories to.

The topic should also be somewhat consensual, as Joe Biden promised to return to this agreement. But the modalities risk inflaming tensions: Russia has asked the US government to take the first step, while the US is demanding that Iran be the first to return to its commitments, which it has explicitly agreed to, in part.

Beyond these issues, the US President raised all the angry questions.

So, White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki said, “I reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of continued Russian aggression.”

Alexei Navalny was poisoned

Joe Biden also expressed his “concern” about the “poisoning of Alexei Navalny”, the Russian opponent who was arrested on January 17th upon his return to Russia after a five-month recovery in Germany, as well as the “treatment of peaceful protesters by Russian security forces.”

Then he referred, according to his spokesman, to “interference in the 2020 elections” in the United States, the recent giant cyber attack against US ministries that Washington attributed to Moscow, and information indicating that Russia would have paid “rewards” to the Taliban. To kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has downplayed many issues, despite the general discontent they are provoking in the American political class.

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“President Biden made clear that the United States will act decisively to defend our national interests in the face of Russian actions that may harm us or our allies,” the White House said in a statement.

As he does regularly, Vladimir Putin, for his part, said that he supports “the normalization of relations between Russia and the United States,” which, according to him, “would meet the interests of the two countries but also the interests of the entire international community, given their own responsibility to maintain security and stability in the country.” World, “the Russian presidency said.

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