- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 16, 2010

MOSCOW (AP) — Talks between the U.S. and Russia on a new arms control treaty have been difficult but the two sides have made great progress toward a deal on limiting their nuclear arsenals, President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

The new treaty is to succeed the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expired on Dec. 5. Washington and Moscow had hoped to reach a deal before the end of the year, but were unable to resolve outstanding problems.

“The negotiations will continue,” Medvedev said. “They are not going easily, but in general we have reached agreement with the Americans on many points.”

Another round of negotiations is scheduled for Jan. 25 in Geneva.

Medvedev spoke during a televised meeting with the leaders of the four parties in Russia’s parliament, which would have to ratify any new arms control agreement before it could take effect.

The party leaders argued that procedures for the two countries to keep an eye on each other’s nuclear arsenals should not be too intrusive, Russian state news agencies reported.

The 1991 treaty required each country to cut its nuclear warheads by at least one-fourth, to about 6,000, and to implement procedures for verifying that each side was sticking to the agreement.

Medvedev and President Barack Obama agreed in July to reduce the number of nuclear warheads that each country possesses to between 1,500 and 1,675 within seven years as part of a broad new treaty.

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