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    Medvedev, Obama to discuss arms cuts, N.Korea, Iran Sunday

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama will on Sunday discuss a new arms reduction deal and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, a Russian presidential aide said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama will on Sunday discuss a new arms reduction deal and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, a Russian presidential aide said on Friday.

    Medvedev and Obama will meet on the sidelines of this year's gathering of APEC leaders, hosted by Singapore on November 14-15.

    On a new arms reduction treaty, Sergei Prikhodko said "we are working to ensure that a treaty is signed... before the end of the year."

    He said the issue of a U.S. missile defense would not be raised.

    Moscow and Washington are negotiating a replacement for the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the basis for Russian-U.S. strategic nuclear disarmament, which expires on December 5.

    The chief of the General Staff said on Thursday ongoing arms cuts talks between Russia and the U.S. had seen differences on inspection and verification procedures. Makarov also said Washington was seeking to keep a point from the original treaty on the U.S. monitoring of Russia's mobile ground-based missiles.

    An outline of the new pact was agreed during the presidents' bilateral summit in Moscow in July and includes cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

    START I commits the parties to reducing their nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up strategic arms reduction agreement was concluded in Moscow. The document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

    Prikhodko said Moscow was "satisfied" with the ongoing dialogue with the U.S. administration, which he described as "open and pragmatic."

    On Iran, he stressed the need to continue international efforts in the Iran Six framework.

    On North Korea's nuclear issue, he said "there are no contradictions or disagreements with our partners about the need for continuing the negotiating process."

    He said there was a possibility that the presidents might not get around to those issues due to time constrains.

    The meeting between Medvedev and Obama is expected to last one and half hours.

     

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