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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Stalls Arms Talks With Silence on Sales

VIENNA -- Russia is refusing to disclose details of its global arms sales, threatening to derail talks for a post-Cold War export control regime, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

Fearing it could lose a much-needed source of hard currency, Russia reneged on an international deal signed last year to curb global military transfers by increasing export transparency, the source close to the talks said.

"This refusal is really threatening the whole regime," he said. "Without the notification of weapons sales you are lacking seriousness."

Thirty-one Western and former communist nations were due to begin a closed-door meeting in the Austrian capital Tuesday to set up the so-called Wassenaar Arrangement, a regime designed to succeed the Cold War's COCOM export controls.

But the talks failed to get under way after Russia refused to notify member states of its arms sales to nations considered too dangerous by other participants.

The two-day discussions were to form the founding plenary of a new control system based in Vienna.

Analysts say Russia is afraid curbs on arms sales to its top customers -- such as Cuba, North Korea and Iran -- will decimate its hard currency income.

"The Russians were always worried that they would lose markets to better Western arms exports anyway and that Wassenaar would take a slice of the only markets where they could sell," a European diplomat said.

A U.S. delegate said there was consensus among the participating countries that Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea would face export restrictions under the new system, but not all 31 were willing to say so publicly.

"We still haven't started the talks," the source said. "Russia is the key problem."