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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

New U.S.-Russia arms cuts deal to be ready by yearend - ambassador

RIA Novosti

06:59 09/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Washington and Moscow will be able to draft a new strategic arms reduction treaty by the end of the year, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said on Thursday.

"The talks' participants know that the goal is achievable," John Beyrle told the Moscow-based Vesti TV channel.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama agreed in July in Moscow on the outline of a deal to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), which expires on December 5, including cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

The START-1 treaty obliges Russia and the U.S. to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

According to a report published by the U.S. State Department in April, as of January 1 Russia had 3,909 nuclear warheads and 814 delivery vehicles, including ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers.

The same report said the United States had 5,576 warheads and 1,198 delivery vehicles.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Moscow on October 12-14. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Clinton are expected to discuss, among other things, the new arms reduction deal.

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