Russian, US officials discuss strategic arms reduction in Rome

Rome, April 24 (Inditop) The first round of Russian-US consultations on a new strategic arms reductions treaty began here Friday.

The Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START 1), signed in 1991, obliges Russia and the US to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. The treaty expires Dec 5 this year.

US Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller and Russia’s Anatoly Antonov, the director of foreign ministry’s department for security and disarmament, are leading the negotiations.

The director of the North American Department at the Foreign Ministry, Igor Neverov, told RIA Novosti Thursday that the discussions would continue May 7 in Washington at a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Earlier in the week during an official visit to Helsinki, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the new deal to replace START-1 must also cover delivery systems.

In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The agreement, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

Medvedev and US President Barack Obama had agreed during their London meeting earlier this month on an immediate start to talks on a new strategic arms reduction treaty.