Russia, U.S. in arms talks as clock ticks
Russia and the United States are scrambling to address disagreements over a new nuclear- arms-reduction treaty with a little over a month left until the existing agreement between the Cold War adversaries expires.
The Associated Press
MOSCOW — Russia and the United States are scrambling to address disagreements over a new nuclear- arms-reduction treaty with a little over a month left until the existing agreement between the Cold War adversaries expires.
Despite the narrowing timeframe, both sides expressed optimism at the end of a day of negotiations Thursday between U.S. national-security adviser Gen. James Jones and Russia's foreign minister, its National Security Council head and a top Kremlin foreign-policy adviser.
Meeting as the world awaited Tehran's response to a proposal backed by the U.S., Russia and other powers seeking to ease concerns that Iran could develop nuclear weapons, Jones and the Russians "affirmed their commitments to joint Russian-American efforts on Iran," U.S. National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Chang said in a statement.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in televised remarks he was "sure" Jones' "successful" visit would help forge a new arms-reduction treaty. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said "intensive efforts" would be required to reach an accord, but he struck a generally optimistic tone.
On leaving the Foreign Ministry, Jones told The Associated Press that the two had a "very good discussion on a number of bilateral issues."
According to Chang, they agreed "to make every effort to fulfill their presidents' pledge to conclude negotiations for a new treaty by December."
President Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed at a Moscow summit in July to cut the number of nuclear warheads each possesses to between 1,500 and 1,675 within seven years.
But the Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation recently noted several sticking points that may take negotiations into the eleventh hour.
The obstacles include a divergence on the number of so-called delivery vehicles — a reference to missiles and bombers. Washington has reportedly proposed a limit of 1,100 such weapons platforms, while Russia wants less than half, a discrepancy too great to forge an agreement, the center concluded.
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