Russia, US begin nuclear arms reduction talks

May 20th, 2009 - 1:17 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Moscow, May 19 (Xinhua) Russia and the US have started the first round of talks here on a new strategic arms reduction treaty, the Russian foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The US delegation is led by Rose Gottemoeller, US assistant secretary of state and the Russian side is headed by Anatoly Antonov, director of the security and disarmament department of the Russian foreign ministry.

Russia expects “a fruitful exchange of views and approaches” that would allow the two countries to arrive at “mutually acceptable agreements”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

The two-day negotiations “will not be just an exchange of opinions, but a transition to substantive discussion of the future treaty, with the parties putting forward particular proposals”, a Russian foreign ministry official said.

The Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START I) that is due to expire in December, places a limit of 6,000 strategic or long-range nuclear warheads on each side. The subsequent Moscow treaty calls for reducing nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of 2012.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his US counterpart Barack Obama, at their first meeting in London in early April, agreed to negotiate a replacement for START I by the end of the year.

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