Will US & Russia renew soon expiring START agreement?

November 8, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Russia and the U.S. are still hopeful of signing a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), before it expires December 5, as soon as next week,  after months of negotiations. The Washington Post reports that National Security Adviser Jim Jones’ trip to Moscow late last month is what has fueled the diplomatic optimism. Jones reportedly offered a package of proposals and the Russians reacted positively, if not formally. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday that the two countries “have every chance” to sign a treaty by the year’s end. Medvedev also told Der Spiegel that Russia could back sanctions against Iran if it fails to take a constructive stance in talks over its nuclear program.
Russia and the United States will start their eighth round of negotiations on nuclear weapons cuts in Geneva on Monday. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman has voiced hope it would be conclusive. The new START agreement will contain modest cuts in the number of deployed warheads to 6,000. The new ceiling will be 1,500 to 1,675 city-annihilators for each nation, down from the 1,700 to 2,200 agreed to seven years ago between President George W. Bush and then-Russian President Vladimir Putin. key issues remain including the Russian request for strong language linking disarmament to missile defense, and U.S. proposals to put conventional warheads on strategic land- and submarine-based ballistic missiles; and missile defense systems.


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