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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. ready to discuss further arms reduction with Russia - official

RIA Novosti

04:12 17/02/2011 WASHINGTON, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is ready to discuss further arms reduction efforts with Russia, including tactical nuclear weapons, a high-ranking State Department official said.

President Barack Obama said in a message to the Senate earlier this month his country expects to hold talks with Russia on tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) within a year after the New START arms reduction treaty comes into force.

"We can seek deeper nuclear reductions and we are committed to seeking deeper nuclear reductions with Russia, including in strategic, non-strategic, and non-deployed weapons," Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher said.

Tauscher also said the creation of a European missile defense system and the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) also remained priorities for the United States.

"Ratifying the CTBT would bolster our credibility as we work to stop others from developing nuclear weapons and testing them," she said.

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, said nuclear non-proliferation remained one of the vital tasks on the Russian-U.S. agenda.

"By signing and ratifying the strategic arms reduction treaty we proved our ability to cooperate on non-proliferation issues," he said.

"We have an extensive international and bilateral agenda. And the arms reduction treaty is a good start," the Russian ambassador added.

When ratifying the New START deal with Moscow in December, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution obligating the government to start bilateral talks on cutting the TNW stockpiles - landmines, artillery shells and short-range missiles. Washington says Moscow has a larger number of these systems.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on January 29 that it is too early to discuss limiting TNW with the United States because Russia needs to see the way the U.S. fulfills the undertaken commitments.



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