New START treaty "practically ready": Russian FM

09:30, December 27, 2009      

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A new strategic arms reduction treaty expected to be signed between Moscow and Washington was "practically ready," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday.

"The (new) START treaty is practically ready. I hope the experts will finalize it quickly enough," said the Russian top diplomat in a TV interview.

Russia and the United States have been in intense talks over the past few months, trying to clinch a deal on a replacement document to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) that expired on Dec. 5.

Lavrov also said the new treaty "is based on some fundamentally new principles," such as "equal rights, parity, and reciprocal trust."

"For the first time in history the levels of strategic offensive arms will be unprecedentedly low," said the minister as quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

Lavrov said Russia-U.S. relations "do have prospects," due to a "new, decent economic dialogue in progress."

The two countries meanwhile are working over a string of international issues including Afghanistan, Middle East, Iran's nuclear program and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, he said.

"Thus, we won't have to be bored next year," he added.

This year marked the "reset" of Russia-U.S. relations as the Barack Obama administration adjusted its policy toward Moscow, yet dispelling mistrust accumulated over years remains a knotty issue.

Source: Xinhua
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