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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Medvedev, Obama note progress in drafting new arms cuts treaty

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian and U.S. presidents have discussed in a telephone conversation the drafting of a new treaty on strategic arms reductions, noting considerable progress, the Kremlin said Saturday.

Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama "noted with satisfaction that the work of the two countries' delegations in Geneva is intensive and targeted, which allows [us] to speak of considerable progress in the talks," the Kremlin said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Friday Russia and the United States will continue talks on a new nuclear arms reduction deal to replace the START 1 treaty that expired December 5 in Geneva next week.

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.

A State Department spokesman said 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.

Medvedev and 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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