Tags: EU | US | Russia | Arms | Treaty

U.S., Russia Resume Nuclear Arms Talks in Geneva

Tuesday, 09 Mar 2010 07:28 AM

American and Russian negotiators resumed talks Tuesday to reduce their nuclear weapons arsenals in the latest attempt to find a successor deal to the expired 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

The U.S. and Russian delegations were meeting in Geneva, said Michael Parmly, spokesman for the U.S. diplomatic mission in the Swiss city. He declined to say when a new agreement might be ready.

"We're committed to concluding negotiations," Parmly said.

The two powers are trying to find a successor to the 1991 pact that limited how many nuclear warheads and carrier systems each side could deploy. They were supposed to reach an agreement by Dec. 5, when the old deal expired, and their latest round of negotiations ended without an accord last week.

Russian officials have said a main sticking point concerns U.S. plans to build a missile shield in eastern Europe to thwart a potential attack from Iran or North Korea.

Romania agreed in January to install anti-ballistic missile interceptors as part of the revamped U.S. missile shield, replacing the Bush administration's plans for interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic.

President Barack Obama's decision to scrap the Bush-era missile defense sites was praised last year by the Kremlin, which had fiercely opposed the earlier plan as a threat.

Experts have said the new plan is less threatening to Russia because it would not initially involve interceptors capable of shooting down Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles. But officials in Moscow have expressed concern that it is still designed against Russia.

Other problems in the talks are believed to concern monitoring and verification procedures. Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed in July that warheads should be capped at 1,500 to 1,675 from about 2,200 each side has now.

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