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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian, U.S. lawmakers to discuss new START treaty in April

RIA Novosti


PRAGUE, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian and U.S. senators will hold meetings from April 20-21 to discuss the ratification of a new arms reduction treaty to be signed on Thursday in Prague, a senior Russian lawmaker said.

The new treaty will replace the START 1 treaty, which expired in December 2009, and is expected to bring Moscow and Washington to a new level of cooperation in the areas of nuclear disarmament and arms control.

"We are planning to hold two meetings from April 20-21 after the nuclear summit in Washington," said Mikhail Margelov, head of the international affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament.

Another Russian lawmaker said that the lower house of the Russian parliament would most likely ratify the new treaty during its fall session this year.

"My prediction is we will not be able to ratify the document in summer, but will most likely do it during the fall session," said Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.

The new strategic arms pact stipulates that the number of nuclear warheads is to be reduced to 1,550 on each side, while the number of operational and stockpiled delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on each side.

Under the deal, which will have a validity term of ten years unless it is superseded by another strategic arms reduction agreement, strategic offensive weapons are to be based solely on the national territories of Russia and the United States.

The treaty must be ratified by the Russian parliament and the U.S. Congress and will come into force after the sides exchange instruments of ratification.

Russia does not insist on simultaneous ratification of the treaty.

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