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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. hopes to sign new arms cuts accord with Russia by yearend

RIA Novosti


WASHINGTON, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - The United States hopes a new agreement on strategic arms reductions with Russia will be signed by the end of the year, an assistant secretary of state said Tuesday.

"That's our objective to get a follow-on treaty completed by the end of the year," Philip J. Crowley told a daily press briefing.

"We are working hard in Geneva as we speak to try to achieve that. And there are still some technical issues that the teams are moving through. We've made progress and we would certainly hope that we can cross the finish line by the end of the year," Crowley said.

Moscow and Washington are negotiating a replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the basis for Russian-U.S. strategic nuclear disarmament, that expired December 5.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama have said they will continue arms reduction cooperation after the expiry until a new treaty is concluded.

An outline of the new pact was agreed during the presidents' bilateral summit in Moscow in July and includes cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

START I committed the parties to reducing their nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up strategic arms reduction agreement was concluded in Moscow. The document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

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