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Updated: March 15, 2010 19:33 IST

Hillary Clinton upbeat on arms treaty with Russia

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U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Photo: AP.
U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Photo: AP.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on the eve of her upcoming visit to Moscow that she expected a new U.S.—Russia nuclear arms reduction treaty to be signed soon, Russian magazine The New Times reported on Monday.

Ms. Clinton is to visit Moscow on March 18 and 19 to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and to attend a meeting of the Middle East quartet.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to complete this agreement soon,” Ms. Clinton said in an interview with The New Times published on Monday.

“It’s a technically very complex treaty to accomplish. We share an interest in making real reductions in our strategic arsenals, and that is the most important point,” she said.

Ms. Clinton said the key challenge was to cut nuclear arms in a way that is verifiable but less costly and operationally complex than the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START—1).

She warned of a growing risk of nuclear attacks despite that the threat of a global nuclear war had gone down.

“By taking concrete steps such as the new START treaty, we can reduce our own stockpiles and encourage others to do the same,” Clinton said.

Russia and the United States have been working on a new arms control deal since Medvedev and Obama met in April last year, but they failed to reach a pact before the START—1 expired in December.

The U.S. plans to deploy elements of a missile defence system in East Europe have become a major sticking point in the nuclear disarmament negotiations.

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