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In fact, verification is the other major problem as the U.S. and Russia prepare for negotiations. SORT does not include such provisions because the Bush administration stressed “transparency” more than verification. Such measures can be found in START, but experts deem many of them outdated.

So Ms. Gottemoeller and Mr. Arbatov proposed “an enhanced SORT.”

“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,” they wrote.

“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,” they added.

Although Mrs. Clinton said after a meeting with Mr. Lavrov in Geneva last week that there has been “some good preliminary work on START,” Mr. Kimball said that “no decisions on the particulars of the U.S. negotiating position have been made.”

An added bonus for resuming talks is that they could have outsize benefits for the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Gert Weisskirchen, a German parliamentarian and spokesman on foreign affairs for the Social Democrats, said Wednesday on a visit to Washington that it was important to bolster Mr. Medvedev at a time when he is trying to distinguish himself from hard-line Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and when Russia is “weak, not strong” because of plummeting oil prices.

“This could show Medvedev that the West is ready to open a new chapter and create a new framework for relations,” Mr. Weisskirchen said.

President Obama and Mr. Medvedev are expected to meet on the sidelines of a global financial summit in London early next month. U.S. and Russian officials said the two leaders most likely will hold a summer summit, where they would review reports on the negotiations by their respective teams and agree on principles for the new treaty.

“We agreed to a work plan,” Mrs. Clinton said in Geneva without elaborating. “We are going to create a very specific set of objectives and responsibilities. We hope to be in a position where we can present those to our two presidents before their meeting so that they can then agree upon the instructions that should be provided to our negotiators.”