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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Medvedev aide predicts spring signing of U.S.-Russia arms pact

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) - A new strategic arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia to replace the expired START 1 treaty may be signed in March or April, a Russian presidential aide said on Friday.

"We still consider March or April as the most realistic timeframe for the signing of the treaty," Sergei Prikhodko said, stressing that work on the agreement was still going on.

Senior Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachyov said on Wednesday that parliament was unlikely to ratify the replacement of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired on December 5, which does not include a link to Washington's plans to deploy missile shield elements in Europe.

He admitted, however, the Russian demand would not be included in the new pact as the U.S. Senate would hardly approve any document containing a formal linkage between the arms cuts and the missile shield.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama, however, reaffirmed this linkage during a telephone conversation on Wednesday.

Obama scrapped plans last year for interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic pursued by his predecessor as protection against possible Iranian strikes in an apparent move to ease Russian security concerns.

Earlier this month, however, Romania and Bulgaria said they were in talks with Obama's administration on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015, triggering an angry reaction from Moscow.

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