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'Russia-US may further cut nuke arms, but disarmament distant'

MOSCOW (PTI): Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia and United States would come to agreement on further nuclear arms cuts by end of 2009, but global nuclear disarmament is a matter of distant future.

In an interview with Der Spiegel on Saturday, Medvedev confirmed his intention to work actively with US president Barack Obama to address the issue of nuclear disarmament.

"If we do not do that, there will be no disarmament.In fact, our work has gained some very good pace lately," he said.

Medvedev said that unlike its predecessor, the new US administration "includes this issue among its priorities".

"This is why we have all chances to come to agreement on a new treaty, determine new thresholds, identify verification measures, and sign a binding document at the end of this year," the president said.

"As for the idea of a nuclear-free world, this is our common ideal, and we should strive to achieve it. But the road to it is very bumpy because in order to build a nuclear-free world, not only the United States of America and Russia should give up nuclear weapons at some point, but other countries should do the same. However we see no such unity on that matter.

Not even all of our close European partners share the position taken by the US president and me that this issue should be addressed energetically," Medvedev said.

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