Medvedev hopes for progress in nuclear talks with US

June 21st, 2009 - 5:22 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Amsterdam, June 21 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed hope that his meeting with US President Barack Obama in July would promote a new nuclear disarmament treaty.
“We are ready to cut our strategic delivery vehicles by several times compared to the START-1 treaty. As for warheads connected with these delivery vehicles, their number should be lower than the level envisioned by the Moscow Treaty of 2002,” Medvedev told journalists here Saturday.

“We are for real, effective and checkable cuts,” he said, adding that at the meeting with Obama in Moscow, they would also discuss economic and regional problems, as well as other aspects of bilateral relations.

Under the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START-1), which expires on Dec 5, Russia and the US are to reduce their nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each.

In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The agreement, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

Medvedev and Obama agreed during their London meeting in early April on an immediate start to talks on a new strategic arms reduction treaty.

There have been two rounds of Russia-US arms reduction talks (May 19-20 in Moscow and June 1-3 in Geneva). A third round is to be held on June 23-24 in Geneva.

Medvedev also said Saturday that strategic arms reductions are possible should Washington alleviate Moscow’s concerns over the deployment of a US missile defence shield in Central Europe.

“We cannot agree with US plans to create a global missile defence, I would like to stress that the cuts we propose are only possible if the US alleviates Russia’s concerns,” he said.

Russia opposes Washington’s plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security. The US says the shield elements are needed to counter possible strikes from rogue states such as Iran.

Obama has indicated he could put on hold his predecessor George Bush’s plans concerning the third site for Washington’s global missile defence system, which he said needed more analysis

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