UN, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised on Friday efforts by Russia and the U.S. to agree on a new strategic arms reduction treaty.
In a statement on the 40th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Ban said, "I welcome the efforts of the Russian Federation and the United States to conclude a successor agreement to the Treaty on the Limitation and Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (START)."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia and the United States are close to completing negotiations on a new treaty, and expressed the hope that the document could be signed soon.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said earlier on the same day that progress had been made in the latest round of talks in Geneva in February, and that a new round would begin on March 9.
Russia and the United States have been negotiating a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty since the two countries' presidents met in April last year, but finalizing a document has dragged on, with U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe a particular sticking point.
START 1, the cornerstone of post-Cold War arms control, expired on December 5.