Biden, Putin strike conciliatory tone at NPT signatories conference

Biden, Putin strike conciliatory tone at NPT signatories conference

by Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has said he is ready to discuss a new nuclear arms deal with Russia, and called on Moscow to act in good faith, as his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, declared that a nuclear war would know no winners.

The two leaders issued statements as the 10th Conference of the Parties to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) opens.

“(This conference) is being held at a time when such a nuclear danger has not been experienced since the height of the Cold War,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Humanity is only one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”

Antonio Guterres warned that crises “with a nuclear connotation (worsening)”, citing in particular the Middle East, North Korea and the war in Ukraine.

In a letter to conference participants, Vladimir Putin said: “There can be no winner in a nuclear war and it should never be started, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the global community.”

Joe Biden for his part indicated that “(his) administration (was) ready to quickly negotiate a new arms control framework to replace the New START treaty when it expires in 2026”.

The American president added, however, that “the negotiation (required) a partner willing to act in good faith”.

“Russia must demonstrate that it is ready to work on nuclear arms control with the United States,” he added.

The New START treaty, signed in 2010 between the United States and Russia, caps the number of nuclear warheads and nuclear launchers deployed by the two powers.

(With contributions from Susan Heavey, Simon Lewis and Mark Trevelyan; French version Camille Raynaud)

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