The new U.S. Ambassador to Russia, William J. Burns, speaking at the Moscow Carnegie Center on March 1, 2007, said that “It is also important today to look ahead to the challenges and possibilities that lie beyond the expiration of the START Treaty in 2009, and the Moscow Treaty in 2012. At the direction of our Presidents, we have begun a strategic security dialogue to consider what we want in place when the START Treaty expires, what further steps to pursue, and what sort of transparency and confidence-building regime makes the most sense.”

Russia has been trying to get the talks going for some time now - in June 2006 President Putin publicly called for opening of the talks. Sergey Kislyak, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, went to Washington in September to begin the consultations, but his counterpart, Robert Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, was less than enthusiastic about negotiating a new binding arms control agreement, so the talks stalled. The contacts, however, continued - according to a story in The Washington Times, Kislyak and Joseph at their meeting in the early February 2007 agreed to hold a meeting of experts some time in March.

Now that Robert Joseph left the administration (or has he?), the talks may get a new start. A new agreement won't be easy, though. The list of things that both sides would like to change is fairly long and it is not clear if they would be ready to make all the necessary concessions.