US President Donald Trump walks from Marine One as he returns from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, at the White House in Washington, Feb 29, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
US President Donald Trump is ready to meet with his counterparts of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to discuss arms control, a high-ranking official in the United States administration has said.
Reuters reported on Saturday citing the official that Trump wanted to use the meeting to try to make progress on an arms control deal with Russia, though the summit timing is still unclear.
The United States will use this opportunity to bring Russia back into the international arms control framework and head off a costly arms race, the official said.
The source, who spoke with Reuters on condition of anonymity, also said that Trump "has made clear that he is ready to meet with any world leader at any time to advance US national security interests".
Russian President Vladimir Putin had broached the idea of a summit of the P5 countries in January to discuss a variety of global issues.
The official would not speculate on where the summit would be held, but one logical option could be the UN General Assembly, where world leaders gather annually in September, Reuters said.
"The president has made clear that he is ready to meet with any world leader at any time to advance US national security interests," the official said. "The US will work with the other countries to develop and organize such a meeting."
Trump has sought to persuade all the other P5 countries to join the US and Russia in talks on an arms control accord to replace the 2010 Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) between the two countries that expires next February.
As the major military powers of the day, and members of the P5, have an obligation to reduce risk and engage in arms control. "Not doing so would be irresponsible," the official said.
The Russian state news agency Tass said President Vladimir Putin suggested a summit of leaders from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council during an address to the World Holocaust Forum in January.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said later that Putin's initiative gained support from other countries. Stephane Dujarric, a spokeswoman for the UN Secretary-General, said the UN leadership had also welcomed the idea of this summit.