Trump Backs Putin’s Nuclear Powers’ Summit, U.S. Envoy Tells IFX

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(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump supports Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s proposal to hold a summit of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the American ambassador to Moscow said in an interview with a Russian news service.

Trump sent a message recently to President Putin describing the initiative as a “good idea,” the Interfax news service cited U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan as saying in the interview published Wednesday. The agenda and details of the time and place for the meeting are now under discussion, he said.

Putin proposed during a visit to Israel in January that the leaders of Russia, the U.S., the U.K., China and France should hold a summit this year, saying the five nuclear-armed powers have “a special responsibility for the preservation of civilization.” The U.S., France and China agreed to the summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in March.

The U.S. also plans to restart arms-control talks soon with Russia, including on the landmark New START nuclear treaty that limits the two countries’ strategic arsenals and is set to expire next February, Sullivan said.

The Trump administration has so far rebuffed Russian calls to begin talks on extending the treaty, which is the last nuclear arms accord between the two powers. The U.S. insists any new agreement should include China, which has so far refused to accept limits on its smaller nuclear capability.

The 10-year treaty signed in 2010 between former presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev has an option to renew for a further five years with the agreement of both parties.

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