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Russia, U.S. to discuss strategic arms reduction treaty soon

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Russia and the United States plan to hold talks in the near future on replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December 2009, a deputy chief of the government staff said.
MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States plan to hold talks in the near future on replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December 2009, a deputy chief of the government staff said.

Yury Ushakov, a former Russian ambassador to Washington, said he met with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns in Moscow on Wednesday. Burns also held talks with presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"We discussed the situation following the U.S. presidential elections, bilateral relations and we reached a common conclusion that the contacts should continue to avoid any delay caused by the change of administration," Ushakov said.

"In particular, we should rely on the April declaration in [Russia's resort of] Sochi [between the Russian and U.S. presidents], providing a "road map," main directions for the development of bilateral relations," he said.

The effective Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the communist superpower collapsed.

Russian analysts hope that with the election of a new Democratic president, Washington and Moscow may sign a new strategic arms reduction deal as early as the summer of next year.

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