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US and Russia hold ‘substantive’ arms control talks in Geneva

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman led the US delegation in Geneva. (Credit: Keystone/AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The United States and Russia have said they held “intensive and substantive” talks on arms control and other strategic stability issues in Geneva on Thursday.

In the second high-level meeting aimed at easing tensions between the two sides on points including nuclear arms control, the countries agreed to set up two working groups to pursue potential agreements related to security threats.

A joint statement from the two sides said the second meeting of the US-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue since President Joe Biden took office was part of an “integrated, deliberate, and robust process.” A senior US official speaking to reporters in Washington described the talks as having been “detailed and dynamic” but offered no more detail on what exactly was discussed.

US President Biden and President Vladimir Putin, whose countries hold 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons, agreed to restart bilateral discussions on “strategic stability” at a landmark summit in Geneva in June.

As with the first round of talks in July, there were no tangible developments from Thursday's meeting other than the agreement to hold further discussions after the two working groups meet. No specific dates were announced.

The two sides were represented by US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman and Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov.

The US and Russia are split on a number of security issues ranging from arms control to cyberspace. The senior US official said the talks had been “broad-based” and the two sides were “able to cover a variety of issues.

"I think this was a good building-on of the meeting that we had in July and both delegations really engaging in a detailed and dynamic exchange," the official added.