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Russia, US dialogue on strategic arms continues

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shaking hands with U.S. President Barack Obama at a meeting in London, UK. A File photo.

WINDHOEK (BNS): Moscow is continuing dialogue with Washington on linking strategic arms reductions and plans to deploy missile defenses in central Europe, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

"No one has closed any doors so far, we are continuing dialogue on these issues with our American partners, including on the link between missile defenses and strategic arms reductions," RIA Novosti quoted Medvedev as saying on Thursday, at a news conference.

The Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I) is about to expire in December. Russia and U.S have been involved in comprehensive talks over a new nuclear arms reduction deal to replace the START 1 treaty.

According to the news agency, The START 1 treaty 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 agreement, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

Russia, which proposed a new arms reduction agreement in 2005, expects Washington to agree on a deal that would restrict not only the numbers of nuclear warheads, but also place limits on all existing kinds of delivery vehicles.

The Russian president did not specify on Thursday details of the future strategic arms reductions. However, he did say Russia was ready to make significant cuts in delivery vehicles.

"The number of warheads will be less than established by the 2002 Moscow Treaty, and we are ready to significantly reduce the number of delivery vehicles - by several times," Medvedev said.

According to a report published by the U.S. State Department in April, as of January 1 Russia had 3,909 nuclear warheads and 814 delivery vehicles, including ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers.

The same report said the United States had 5,576 warheads and 1,198 delivery vehicles.

The START I Treaty, signed by U.S. President George Bush Sr. and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 and enacted in 1994, barred the parties from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads on top of a total of 1,600 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and bombers.

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