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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

New START treaty could be ready by yearend - Russian diplomat

RIA Novosti

02/03/2009 13:04 MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - A new treaty between Russia and the U.S. on the reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals could be prepared by the end of 2009, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

"We are certain that with political will, this document could be prepared before the current START expires, that is before December 5 this year," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper published on Monday.

The Strategic Arms Reduction (START-1) Treaty signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1991 places a limit of 6,000 strategic or long-range nuclear warheads on each side, and limits the number of delivery vehicles, such as bombers, land-based and submarine-based missiles, to 1,600 each.

"We would like to take all the best things from the current START treaty, and put this cooperation experience, which proved to be effective, into a new legally binging document," the deputy minister said.

Commenting on media reports that the U.S. administration would like the number of nuclear warheads on both sides cut to 1,000, or an 80% reduction, Ryabkov said Russia still had not received any official confirmation about the reduction parameters that Washington is ready to propose.

"All I can say is that we have no confirmation about the parameters of the cuts the U.S. is prepared to make, as reported in the world press, in particular by the Times and some other newspapers," he said.

"We think that Washington is reviewing its policy in these areas and will make decisions, including on the future reduction parameters, while conducting the review," he added.

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