UN hopes for no delay in ratification of strategic arms deal
NEW YORK, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the end of negotiations on the new Russian-U.S. nuclear arms reduction treaty, and expressed hope for its ratification as soon as possible.
The Kremlin and the White House announced on Friday that the new deal to replace the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, will be signed by the presidents of Russia and the U.S. on April 8 in Prague.
"I welcome the conclusion of negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on a successor agreement to the treaty on reduction and limitations of strategic offensive arms," Ban said in a statement, read by his spokesman Martin Nesirky.
"I hope that this new treaty can be ratified without delay, so as to allow its expeditious implementation," he added. "I encourage other nuclear weapon states to follow suit."
Ban praised the deal as "an important milestone of the international efforts to advance the nuclear disarmament and to achieve the world free of the nuclear weapons."
He said the treaty would "add a significant impetus" to the forthcoming nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference, to be held in May at the UN headquarters in New York.
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