Russian parliament tentatively approves New START nuke pact

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“We don’t have the right to leave their interpretations unanswered,” Kosachev told reporters on Friday. “Otherwise it may give additional advantages to our American partners — or, possibly, opponents. We need to balance those advantages.”

The treaty also needs to be ratified by the upper house, the Federation Council, which like the Duma is controlled by the Kremlin.

Addressing legislators in both houses of parliament, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that the legislation accompanying the treaty doesn’t change it and made it extremely clear that the Kremlin wants the pact ratified.

“This treaty takes our relations with the United States to a qualitatively new level of equality, parity and balance of interests,” Lavrov said, warning the legislators that the failure to pass it would badly tarnish Russia’s reputation.

At the same time, Lavrov signaled to lawmakers that they could add statements countering the Senate’s legislation accompanying the treaty.

“The ratification is a priority task for the state,” Lavrov said. “But we must do it in such a way that no one has any doubts about our determination to firmly demand the fulfillment of the treaty’s conditions.”

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