U.S., Russia miss START deadline

Russia and the United States missed the deadline to sign a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expires at midnight on Saturday. The race is now on to clinch the deal before U.S. President Barack Obama is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10.

Moscow said on Friday the sides were close to winding up the talks on the new treaty.

A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told the Interfax news agency that the negotiations, currently underway in Geneva, could take a few more days.

Several rounds of talks have been held since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart agreed in London in early April to prepare an extension to the START treaty signed in 1991.

A Kremlin source said last month that the White House conveyed to Moscow its desire to clinch the deal before Mr. Obama goes to Oslo to get the Nobel Peace Prize.

A nuclear arms agreement with Russia would go some way to justifying the award. It would also spare the U.S. President the embarrassment of receiving the peace prize immediately after he announced the stepping up of the war in Afghanistan.

Under the proposed new arms pact Russia and the U.S. are expected to cut their nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 warheads and delivery vehicles to between 500 and 1,000.

In its Friday statement the Russian Foreign Ministry said the two sides had fully honoured their commitments under the START, with Russia slashing the number of its nuclear warheads by more than a half and destroying over 3,000 long-range missiles, 1,500 launchers, more than 45 nuclear submarines and over 65 heavy bombers.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 7:14:16 PM |

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