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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, U.S. to continue arms cut talks in Geneva next week

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States will continue talks on a new nuclear arms reduction deal to replace the expired START 1 treaty in Geneva next week, a Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

Moscow and Washington have been in intensive talks since July, when the Russian and U.S. leaders agreed the outline of a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the core of Russia-U.S. nuclear disarmament.

"The talks will continue next week at the level of heads of the foreign policy bodies' departments," a ministry official told reporters.

The Foreign Ministry said earlier this month Russia and the U.S. were wrapping up negotiations.

A State Department spokesman said on Wednesday the two countries had agreed on the basic elements of a new treaty.

"The vast majority of the text is already agreed on, but we do have some of these final issues that we need to work out," Ian Kelly said, adding Washington and Moscow were working hard to finish the draft treaty by the end of the year.

Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama announced at their first meeting in April that the two countries would replace the START 1 treaty as part of their efforts to "reset" bilateral ties strained in recent years.

The treaty's outline agreed by the presidents included cutting nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

Russia's military said earlier the talks had thrown up differences on inspection and verification procedures.

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