Strategic arms talks between Russia and the US end without declaration

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) between the Soviet Union and the United States was signed on July 31, 1991 and is due to expire at the end of this year. It aims at drastically reducing the amount of nuclear weapons left after the cold war. The two nuclear powers began their second round of technical discussions in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday. After three days, the talks ended without any declarations.

Between May 19 and 21, the first discussions were held in Moscow and, according to the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency, citing Russian officials, were "constructive and successful." The talks focused mainly on the U.S's proposed missile defense system which would place a large amount of nuclear weapons is Eastern Europe. For now, the U.S. has delayed the project.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet in July to further discuss the matter and, according to a White House Official, try to sign a new treaty by December 5, 2009.

However, Russia Now says, quoting Vremya Novostei, that "Moscow will try to link the Start treaty with the issue of the American missile defense system deployment in Europe." If the Obama administration does not reconsider the deployment, "it will effectively become impossible to conclude a new Start treaty." Top Russian general Nikolai Makarov said that there would be no reduction in nuclear missiles until the proposed nuclear defense shield in Eastern Europe is clarified. The U.S claims that the proposed shield is meant to protect Europe from a nuclear attack by Iran. "As long as the situation in the world, including the U.S. missile shield plan, remains unclear, we will not alter our nuclear arsenal," Makarov said.