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US security adviser in Moscow nuclear arms talks

US security adviser in Moscow nuclear arms talks

U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, opening a day of negotiations expected to focus on downsizing nuclear arsenals and the Iran issue.
Jones, who will meet his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev later Thursday, is pressed for time in negotiating an arms reduction treaty to replace the existing agreement between the former Cold War adversaries, which was signed in 1991 and expires in a little over a month.
Lavrov called his visit "very timely," in comments carried by state news agency RIA-Novosti.
"We believe that intensive efforts will allow us to fulfill our presidents' agreements to sign a new ... treaty by the time the current treaty expires," Lavrov said.
President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev agreed at a summer summit in Moscow to cut the number of nuclear warheads each possesses to between 1,500 and 1,675 within seven years.
The Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation recently noted several sticking points that may take negotiations into the 11th hour.
The obstacles include a divergence on the number of so-called delivery vehicles _ a reference to missiles and bombers. Washington has reportedly proposed a limit of 1,100 such weapons platforms, while Russia wants less than half, a discrepancy too great to forge an agreement, the center concluded.
Other hurdles may include the issue of whether to count stockpiled weapons _ those not operationally deployed _ in the warhead count. The U.S. says no, while Russia would prefer blanket inclusion.
The U.S. has sought to separate the issue of arms reduction with plans to station a missile defense system in Central Europe, near Russia's western fringe, but Moscow _ a bitter opponent of the idea _ is unlikely to overlook them.
Jones' visit comes as Iran was to respond to a U.N.-drafted plan on shipping the country's low-enriched uranium to Russia for further processing. The plan proposes a curtailment of any covert nuclear arms making abilities by Iran. Jones was expected to discuss the matter with Moscow.


Updated : 2021-02-27 00:38 GMT+08:00