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One name that has been mentioned for a senior position in the field is Rose Gottemoeller, who is expected to become assistant secretary of state for arms control. A former deputy undersecretary of energy for defense nuclear nonproliferation, she was director of the Carnegie Moscow Center until recently.

Last summer, Ms. Gottemoeller made known her views on the future of START in an article in Arms Control Today, a magazine published by the ACA, and co-written by Alexei Arbatov, head of the Center for International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of International Economy and International Relations.

The article suggested that START be replaced by “an enhanced SORT,” a reference to the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Moscow, which was negotiated by the Bush administration.

The new accord would include SORT’s basic premises, but with specific verification measures that do not exist in the 6-year-old document. Such measures can be found in START, but analysts deem many of them outdated.

“For the Russian side, the major goal would be to maintain a semblance of parity with the United States, while addressing the basic problem with SORT - the lack of acceptable counting rules and corresponding verification procedures,” the article said.

“For the U.S. side, the major goal would be to maintain sufficient transparency with respect to Russian strategic nuclear forces, while making sure that force cuts would not be too expensive for the United States,” it said.

The authors also suggested that “the upper limit allowed for strategic nuclear forces would be 1,700 deployed warheads, to be achieved by the end of 2012.” SORT required that both countries reduce their arsenals to 1,700 to 2,200 warheads, and today they are at the higher end, Mr. Kimball said.

Although the Obama administration’s official positions on START are still unknown, Russia has announced two major requirements.

“A future agreement should be legally binding,” Mr. Medvedev wrote in a letter to the Conference on Disarmament, which Mr. Lavrov read to delegates on Saturday.

“It is of no less importance that the instrument should be forward-looking and should limit not only warheads but also strategic delivery vehicles, i.e. intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers,” the Russian president wrote.

Diplomats in Geneva reacted positively to both Mr. Lavrov’s and Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, though some said that other accords should be taken up even while a replacement of START is being negotiated.

“There’s no reason to wait for START to re-energize the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material cut-off treaty,” said John Duncan, Britain’s ambassador to the conference.

• John Zarocostas contributed to this report.