Russian nuclear weapons
Russian nuclear weaponsiStock

Russia has cancelled negotiations with the US to renew a nuclear arms control agreement that would have begun in Egypt on Tuesday.

A US State Department spokesperson told CNN on Monday that the summit was “unilaterally” called off by Russia.

The discussions were to focus on the New START Treaty, a nuclear arms reduction agreement signed by the United States and the Russian Federation in April 2010 in Prague. Formally known as the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms it went into effect in February 2011.

The State Department spokesperson added that “the United States and the Russian Federation were set to convene a meeting of the New START Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss New START Treaty implementation on Tuesday, November 29.”

“The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates,” the spokesperson said.

American officials said that a key component of the meetings involved renewing dialogue on the nuclear file to calm tensions as Russia continues its war in Ukraine, CNN reported.

According to the State Department and Russian media, Moscow did not give a reason for canceling the summit and only relayed its decision to the US days before the countries were set to meet.

The treaty limits the number of intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that the US and Russia can deploy. In 2021, it was renewed for five years.

The chargée d'affaires of the US mission to Russia Elizabeth Rood told RIA Novosti that the White House was committed to negotiating an extension of the treaty beyond 2026.

“Until that happens, we will continue to hold discussions within the framework of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, which is the mechanism of the Treaty. And we will wait for the opportunity to resume the strategic dialogue,” Rood said.