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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, U.S. reaching end of arms reduction talks - Lavrov

RIA Novosti


LONDON, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the U.S. will finish talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in the next few weeks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"The delegations in Geneva will resume work next week," Lavrov told reporters after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in London.

"They have all of the verified data on the issues that remain to be agreed on. We expect them to finish their discussions in the next few weeks."

Disagreements over verification and control procedures have prevented Moscow and Washington from signing a new deal to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), which expired on December 5.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday the new arms cuts pact with the United States was "95%" agreed on.

The new treaty's outline, as agreed by the Russian and U.S. presidents, includes cutting nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama pledged at their first meeting in April 2009 to replace the START I treaty as part of broader efforts to "reset" bilateral ties strained in recent years.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday the two countries' teams will resume discussions on February 1.

"The negotiations on START will resume on Monday in Geneva. And negotiating teams for both the U.S. and the Russian side will convene and hopefully will arrive at a quality agreement that meets the needs and interests of both sides," Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said.

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