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Medvedev urges swift ratification of new START treaty

RIA Novosti

16:44 17/01/2011 MOSCOW REGION, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on the country's parliament on Monday to swiftly ratify the new nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States.

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, voted in favor of the treaty's ratification in the second reading on Friday.

"The Americans have done what they have promised to do. They have ratified the treaty with several amendments," Medvedev said. "Now it is the turn of our parliament. You have all possibility to do the same. I hope that decision will be made,"

The new treaty, replacing START 1, which expired in December 2009, was signed in Prague last April by President Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

The U.S. Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22, 2010, but added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including a demand to build up U.S. global missile defenses.

The new agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council. The State Duma is expected to adopt the draft law in the third and final reading on January 25. The upper house could hold its ratification vote in its first session on January 26.

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