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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia-U.S. arms reduction talks continue

RIA Novosti

29/12/200917:50

MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States have not halted talks on a new arms reduction treaty to replace a landmark deal that expired on December 4, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

Earlier reports said the negotiators had broken off for the New Year's holidays, and Moscow and Washington were expected to sign the document in early 2010.

"Work on the treaty has not been stopped," Andrei Nesterenko said.

"[Experts] in both capitals are thoroughly studying the documents that have accumulated during the eight rounds of negotiations."

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday a new treaty should be signed in the very near future.

"The work has effectively entered the home stretch," he said. "Just a little is left to be done. The presidents have issued unambiguous instructions, and now it is up to professionals and experts to commit that to paper."

Lavrov said last week the new treaty envisions "radical" cuts in the number of strategic offensive weapons.

Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced at their first meeting in April that the countries would replace the START I treaty as part of their efforts to "reset" bilateral ties.

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.



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