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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, U.S. continue dialogue on strategic arms, missile defense

RIA Novosti

18:2225/06/2009 WINDHOEK, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that dialogue was continuing with Washington on linking strategic arms reductions with U.S. plans to deploy missile defenses in central Europe.

"No one has closed any doors so far," Medvedev told a news conference in the Namibian capital, Windhoek. "We are continuing dialogue on these issues with our American partners, including on the link between missile defenses and strategic arms reductions."

Russia and the U.S. have been involved in comprehensive talks over a new nuclear arms reduction deal to replace the START 1 treaty, which expires in December.

The START 1 treaty obliges Russia and the United States to reduce 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 U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to launch the discussions during their first meeting, in London in early April.

Russia, which proposed a new arms reduction agreement in 2005, expects Washington to agree on a deal that would restrict not only the numbers of nuclear warheads, but also place limits on all existing kinds of delivery vehicles.

The Russian president did not specify on Thursday details of the future strategic arms reductions. However, he did say Russia was ready to make significant cuts in delivery vehicles.

"The number of warheads will be less than established by the 2002 Moscow Treaty, and we are ready to significantly reduce the number of delivery vehicles - by several times," Medvedev said.

According to a report published by the U.S. State Department in April, as of January 1 Russia had 3,909 nuclear warheads and 814 delivery vehicles, including ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers.

The same report said the United States had 5,576 warheads and 1,198 delivery vehicles.

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