Monday, June 1, 2009

U.S. and Russian START negotiations resumed today in Geneva

Russian and US negotiators have met today in Geneva for a second round of talks on renewing the START 1 (Strategic Arm Reduction Treaty), which is set to expire on December 5, 2009. The three-day meeting would be held behind closed doors at an undisclosed location, a decision that confirm the discretion of the first round of talks held in Moscow two weeks ago. The team of U.S. negotiators at the talks will be led by Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller while the Russian delegation is headed by Anatoly Antonov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Security and Disarmament.

US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said that “on the details of the negotiation, I think we prefer to keep that in private right now. I think that’s just the best way to conduct these kinds of negotiations". First results from the talks are expected to be unveiled by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev during their summit meeting in Moscow on July 6-8, a Russian diplomat said.

Signed in 1991, START 1 obliges Russia and the United States to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The deal, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1.700-2.200 warheads by December 2012. "The final result of the talks should certainly be a step forward compared to the current regime of limitations," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

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