US officials have asked their Russian colleagues not to publish Washington’s written response to Moscow’s proposal on security guarantees, The Washignton Post has reported.
However, according to the paper, “a senior State Department official acknowledged that the Kremlin may decide to publish it after the United States sends it next week.”
Following Friday’s meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Geneva, Washington agreed to provide written responses to Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees. After that, the US Secretary of State and the Russian top diplomat plan to hold the next meeting. At a news conference after the meeting, Lavrov told reporters that, in his opinion, publishing the US response would be a right thing to do. However, Russia will request Blinken’s consent to do so, he added.
On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a draft agreement on security guarantees between Russia and the United States, [a non-aggression pact] and a draft agreement on ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states. The proposed measures include guarantees that NATO will not advance eastward, including the accession of Ukraine and other countries into the alliance. They also impose restrictions on deployment of serious offensive weapons, including nuclear ones.
Lavrov urged the United States to make its written response to the Russian proposals public.
U.S. officials asked their Russian counterparts to keep the document secret, but a senior State Department official acknowledged that the Kremlin may decide to publish it after the United States sends it next week.
The Biden administration’s written response will include American security proposals and demonstrate Washington’s interest in continuing dialogue, said the State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks.
Although the written response will continue to fall short of Russia’s demands to close NATO’s open door policy, the official said, the Biden administration believes there is still value in providing a letter that can be read directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There‘s one decision-maker in Russia and it’s President Putin,” said a second Biden administration official. “If this then allows the ultimate decision-maker in Russia to looks at these ideas and decide whether to move forward, it’s in our interest.”
“We don’t want to be the ones who foreclose a potential diplomatic solution,” added the official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.