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Germany calls on U.S., Russia to initiate nuclear disarmament

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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the U.S. and Russian presidents to take the initiative on nuclear disarmament during a meeting in Germany's parliament on Friday.
BERLIN, January 30 (RIA Novosti) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the U.S. and Russian presidents to take the initiative on nuclear disarmament during a meeting in Germany's parliament on Friday.

"The last period of reforms ended without any results," he said. "It is obvious that Russia and the U.S., which have more than 90% of the world's nuclear weapons, need to set an example here. I call on both of the young presidents from the U.S. and Russia...to push this forward."

The minister said that he had already seen some of the "signs" that the U.S. was ready to move forward and renew the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) once it expires in December this year.

He also said that Obama had signaled his intention to send an agreement banning nuclear weapons tests to the U.S. Senate as well as halting the production of fissile materials capable of making nuclear weapons.

"These are three important signals that could be a great leap forward in the denuclearization of military technology," he said, adding he was hopeful "that the course will be set this year for disarmament policies over the next 10 years."

Relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated over U.S. plans to deploy missiles and a radar in Central Europe as a defense against possible strikes from "rogue states" and Russia's recent conflict with Georgia over South Ossetia.

Last November, President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would deploy Iskander missile systems in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, in response to any deployment by Washington of elements of a missile defense shield in Europe.

However, Moscow recently expressed hope that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration would "take a break on the issue of missile defense ... and evaluate its effectiveness and cost efficiency." And some media sources cited a Russian high-ranking military source as saying that the Defense Ministry had so far taken no practical measures to deploy Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave, in a sign that Moscow was ready to compromise with the United States.

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