Russians to discuss extension of Nunn-Lugar program

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet in Munich over the weekend to resume arms-control talks.

In October, the Kremlin said that it had no plans to extend the 1992 Nunn-Lugar program, initiated to help former Soviet states dismantle their weapons of mass destruction, because it now possessed the funding to do so without aid. The United States has spent more than $8 billion on the program since its implementation, according to the Moscow Times.

The meeting was first announced by U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) in a letter sent to Foreign Policy magazine. An article that ran with the letter added that U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Arms Control Undersecretary Rose Gottemoeller would be traveling to Moscow in the near future for similar discussions with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

The Russian news agency Interfax recently cited an anonymous diplomatic source in Moscow as saying the extension of the Nunn-Lugar would be discussed at the meetings.

"The program has a much broader meaning than just giving money to Russia," military analyst Alexander Golts said, the Moscow Times reports. "It has demonstrated a certain level of mutual trust between the two largest nuclear powers in the world. By ceasing the program, Russia signals that there is no such trust anymore."