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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US not "particularly concerned" over protracted arms cuts talks

RIA Novosti


WASHINGTON, December 22 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is not "particularly concerned" that the talks on strategic arms reductions with Russia are taking a longer time than previously expected, the State Department said Tuesday.

Moscow and Washington are expected to sign a new document to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) treaty, which expired on December 5, at the beginning of 2010.

"The 5th [of December] was a point at which the existing treaty expired by agreement between the two countries. We are abiding by the spirit of that agreement as we continue these negotiations," Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley told a daily press briefing.

"We had hoped to resolve the complex issues that these treaty negotiations present by the end of the year. I don't think that we're particularly concerned, given the complexity of these issues, that it's taking a longer period of time," he said.

"The U.S. delegation led by Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller has returned for a recess from the START negotiations in Geneva. The team has gone through an intensive period of negotiations with their Russian counterparts over more than two months," Crowley said.

He added that the U.S. expects the teams to "resume their negotiations in Geneva in mid-January."

"Clearly, over the course of these two months, we have made dramatic progress. There are still issues that we continue to work through, so there's still more work to be done. But I think we remain confident that given good faith and the ongoing efforts of both sides, that this will get done," Crowley said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama announced at their first meeting in April that the countries would replace the START 1 treaty as part of their efforts to "reset" bilateral ties.

The treaty's outline agreed by the presidents included cutting nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

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