World

Biden, Putin discuss arms treaty in first call

January 26, 2021
American President Joe Biden had his first call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Tuesday. — courtesy Twitter
American President Joe Biden had his first call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Tuesday. — courtesy Twitter

WASHINGTON — American President Joe Biden had his first call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Tuesday, AP reported.

The new president looked to preserve room for diplomacy, telling the Russian leader that the two nations should finalize a five-year extension of an arms control treaty before it expires early next month, according to officials familiar with the call.

Biden has not held out hope for a reset in relations with Russia but has instead indicated he wants to manage differences with Russia without necessarily resolving them or improving ties.

They discussed both countries’ willingness to extend New START for five years, agreeing to have their teams work urgently to complete the extension by Feb. 5. They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues.

President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.

President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. The two presidents agreed to maintain transparent and consistent communication going forward.

Moscow reached out last week to request the call, according to the officials. Biden agreed but wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the leaders of the Britain, France and Germany.

And on Tuesday before his call with Putin, Biden spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, pledging the United States commitment to the decades-old alliance, founded as a bulwark, during the Cold War era.

The president thanked the secretary general for his steadfast leadership of the Alliance, and conveyed his intention to consult and work with allies on the full range of shared security concerns, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Russia.

The president also emphasized the importance of shared values, consultation, and capabilities to strengthen deterrence and counter new and emerging threats, including climate change and global health security. — Agencies


January 26, 2021
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