Russia ready for high-level talks with US if Washington willing -foreign ministry

Russian and US officials are expected to meet soon in the Egyptian capital of Cairo from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 to discuss the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Russian and US flags are pictured before talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at the United States Mission in Geneva, Switzerland January 10, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE/FILE PHOTO)
Russian and US flags are pictured before talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at the United States Mission in Geneva, Switzerland January 10, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE/FILE PHOTO)

Russia is not ruling out further high-level meetings with the United States on "strategic stability," Moscow's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday, as an upcoming meeting between the two powers in Cairo on nuclear proliferation nears.

"If the Americans show interest and readiness, we will not refuse," Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Strategic stability is a term Russia and the United States, the world's two biggest nuclear powers, use to mean reducing the risk of nuclear war.

Russian and US officials are expected to meet soon in the Egyptian capital of Cairo from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 to discuss the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty.

However, Ryabkov earlier indicated there was nothing to talk about with the US on the subject of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with US President Joe Biden via a video link in Sochi, Russia, December 7, 2021. (credit: SPUTNIK/SERGEI GUNEEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with US President Joe Biden via a video link in Sochi, Russia, December 7, 2021. (credit: SPUTNIK/SERGEI GUNEEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)

"No, there is simply nothing to talk about with them on Ukraine. There can simply be no dialog, let alone negotiations, given the radical opposing positions," he was quoted by Interfax as saying earlier.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, rejected the idea that Putin and Biden - who last met in person in June 2021 - could hold a summit again now.

"A summit is out of the question at the moment," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The White House in February agreed in principle to hold another meeting with Putin on the condition that Russia did not invade Ukraine, but Moscow sent troops in days later, sending bilateral relations to an all-time low.

Russian and US officials have sporadically held talks since, with news emerging this month that US national security adviser Jake Sullivan had engaged in confidential discussions with Russian officials, aimed at lowering the risk of a broader war over Ukraine.

CIA director William Burns met Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russian foreign intelligence, in Ankara this week and warned him about the consequences of any Russian use of nuclear weapons, the White House said. Russia has said the issues discussed were "sensitive" and declined to comment on them.