US, Russia announce nuke talks as Obama accepts invitations to visit China, Russia

April 1, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Ahead of the G20 summit in London, the United States and Russia opened talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty today as President Obama huddled with his Russian counterpart president, Dmitri A. Medvedev for the first time. The two said they will pursue an arms deal cutting nuclear warheads below levels agreed in 2002 in their first step toward mending relations. Weeks of diplomatic groundwork went into the agreement with Russia to open talks toward a new arms control treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty when it expires in December. The negotiations will focus on how warheads are counted and how they can be deployed on delivery vehicles with the hope of cutting deployed warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 on each side by 2012.

Mr Obama and President Medvedev emerged smiling from their 90-minute meeting to issue their statement agreeing to cooperate on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The four-page statement released promised a “fresh start in relations between our two countries,” and White House officials said that Mr. Obama will visit Moscow in July. Their joint statement was the high point of Mr Obama’s packed first day on the world stage, marked by key first encounters with the leaders of Russia and China.  President Obama also accepted an invitation from President Hu Jintao to visit China later this year. The White House says Obama and Hu agreed to “intensify coordination and cooperation on global economic and financial issues.” The two countries also previously agreed to form a U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would represent the United States during those talks according to the White House.

Photo: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Wife Sarah Brown on their arrival at 10 Downing Street today.


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