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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to do its best to sign arms cuts deal with U.S. by Dec.

RIA Novosti

04:17 19/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will do its best to sign a new strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States by December, President Dmitry Medvedev said prior to his visit to Belgrade scheduled for Tuesday.

"Talks to work out a new, legally binding Russian-American agreement to reduce and limit the strategic offensive armaments are currently being held in Geneva," he told Serbian online publication Vecernje Novosti.

"We are doing everything necessary to achieve the signing of a relevant document by December," Medvedev said.

Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama agreed in July in Moscow on the outline of a deal to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), which expires on December 5, including cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

The START-1 treaty obliges Russia and the U.S. 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 document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

Moscow and Washington have been involved in a series of closed-door talks to prepare a new arms reduction deal until December. Both sides have expressed hope that the new agreement would be signed before the expiration of the current treaty.

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