Russia & U.S. agree to reduce weapons

Russia and the United States have pledged to reduce strategic offensive weapons to the minimum possible level. In a joint statement, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the two sides intend to reduce th

A 1991 treaty calling for the reduction of long-range U.S. and Russian nuclear missiles is due to expire in December 2009.

In the new draft, the two sides insisted they are fully committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons technology.

They also vowed to play an active role in providing other states with peaceful nuclear energy.

Meantime, Russia is giving Washington time to weigh up Vladimir Putin's latest defence proposals.

President Putin made the statement following talks with the Guatemala leader Oscar Berger.

Earlier, at the summit with George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Vladimir Putin has proposed security information exchange centres in Moscow and Brussels.

He's also suggesting the joint use of an early-warning radar which is under construction in southern Russia.

“We think that if these proposals are accepted, the international situation will change slowly but surely, and international security will strengthen. The nature of Russian-American relations will also change, slowly but surely becoming strategic,” Vladimir Putin stressed.