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    Russian communists oppose new START treaty ratification

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    Russia's Communist Party proposed on Wednesday suspending the ratification of a new arms reduction deal with the United States over Washington's refusal to link it to the issue of missile defense.

    Russia's Communist Party proposed on Wednesday suspending the ratification of a new arms reduction deal with the United States over Washington's refusal to link it to the issue of missile defense.

    However, the majority of State Duma lawmakers rejected the proposal, and agreed to continue the discussion of the ratification in the second reading.

    The State Duma will consider the ratification of the treaty in the second reading on Thursday. The Duma approved the agreement in its first reading on December 24, but is expected to introduce several amendments to the resolution on ratification.

    "I propose removing the discussion of this [new START] treaty from the agenda of the next session, because the U.S. State Department announced yesterday that Washington does not link the new START treaty with the issue of missile defenses," Communist MP Vladimir Ulas said.

    "This means that that any amendments adopted by the State Duma committee on foreign affairs will have no meaning or influence whatsoever," he insisted.

    "The debates on the proposal are over, the issue is closed," State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov announced at the end of the discussion.

    The new treaty replacing the START 1 that expired in December 2009 was signed in Prague in April by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama.

    The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

    The United States Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22, but added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including the demand to build up U.S. global missile defenses.

    The Russian lawmakers are expected to introduce their own amendments to the resolution in order to ensure the parity of the treaty.

    The new strategic arms reduction agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament.

    MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti) 

     

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