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Russia, U.S. could sign new arms cuts treaty in March-Apr. - Kremlin

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the U.S. may sign a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in March or April, the Russian president's aide said on Wednesday.

"The wordings have been mainly agreed on, some minor disagreements remain," Sergei Prikhodko said.

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

A new round of talks on the new treaty began on Monday. President Dmitry Medvedev and his American counterpart Barack Obama ordered a speedy completion of the deal last week.

Another Kremlin official said on condition of anonymity that American experts close to the negotiations have named Prague as a possible venue for the signing of the deal.

"Moscow has not rejected the choice," the official said. "The treaty is likely to be signed in a third country."

Medvedev and 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 Bush administration planned to site a radar base in the Czech Republic as part of its controversial missile shield. Moscow considered the scheme a threat to its national security. The plans were abandoned by Obama last year.

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

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