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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. remains optimistic about arms reduction treaty ratification

RIA Novosti

07:18 05/08/2010 WASHINGTON, August 5 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. administration hopes that the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia will be ratified by the end of this year, the Department of State said in a statement on Thursday.

On Tuesday the U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations delayed the vote on the treaty for at least a month and a half, citing the need for additional study of the document.

"The Administration remains optimistic about the prospects for New START. Over the course of the past two and a half months, no significant opposition or credible arguments have emerged," a spokesman for the Department of State told a daily press briefing.

"We have said all along that we hope to have the Senate approve the treaty by the end of the year, and we believe they are on track to do that," Philip Crowley added.

He added that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the treaty with Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, on Wednesday.

"The fact that the Senate has delayed the vote until September 15th or 16th, it's neither a surprise nor a cause of concern, and we understand that the treaty will be the first item of business for the committee the week the Senate returns next month," Crowley said.

The new START treaty was signed on April 8 in Prague, replacing the START 1 treaty that expired in December 2009. The new pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.

The Russian and U.S. presidents have agreed that the ratification processes should be simultaneous.

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