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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow dispels doubts over Russia-U.S. arms deal ratification

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is convinced that the new Russia-U.S. strategic arms reduction deal to be signed in Prague on April 8 will be ratified by both countries, a Russian presidential aide said on Monday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the pact on Thursday in Prague. The pact will replace the START 1 treaty, which expired on December 5.

The new treaty is broadly viewed as an important step in efforts by Medvedev and Obama to "reset" thorny relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Russian daily Kommersant said on Monday that the new Russian-U.S. arms reduction pact would face problems on its way to ratification.

"It is not a tragedy if the pact is not ratified [by the countries] at the same time. It is not a political issue," Sergei Prikhodko said.

Prikhodko added that both countries had demonstrated political will by drafting the document.

"We agreed through very difficult but sincere joint work. We have no doubts that the Russian State Duma and the U.S. parliamentarians [senators] will ratify it," Prikhodko said.

Russia and the United States began negotiating a strategic arms control pact after the two countries' presidents met in April last year, but the work on the document dragged on, with U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe a particular sticking point.

After the pact is signed, it has to be ratified by the U.S. Senate and both houses of the Russian parliament to come into effect.

A working group of Russia's Federation Council and the U.S. Senate is due to meet in Washington on April 19-21 to discuss the document's ratification.

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