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US lawmakers urge Pompeo to extend START-3

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Chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee Eliot Engel and senior Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Menendez called on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to extend the Treaty on Measures to Further Reduce and Limit Strategic Offensive Arms (START-3).

“It is highly unlikely that the administration will be able to negotiate a serious new arms control agreement that will address these complex issues before the START-3 expires in February 2021,” Pompeo’s lawmakers said in a letter.

“For the 16 months remaining until the expiration of the current treaty, we urge the administration, instead, to direct its energy to extend START-3, thereby guaranteeing further strategic stability between the US and Russia,” they add.

In addition, Engel and Menendez expressed concern that there are currently no high-ranking officials confirmed by the Senate in the Department of State who could lead the arms control negotiations.

“The lack of senior management and the lack of information from the administration on these critical security issues is alarming and leaves us deeply concerned that in the near future Russia’s strategic nuclear systems will not be absolutely limited and that the United States will lose key knowledge about the Russian nuclear arsenal.” – noted the congressmen.

They called on Pompeo to inform Congress as soon as possible of the development and implementation of a strategy to ensure strategic stability in relations between the United States and Russia.

“We want to work closely with you to extend START-3 and ensure that we maintain strong, verifiable restrictions on Russian nuclear forces,” concluded Engel and Menendez.

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