Russian parliament revokes START treaty ratification

Russia's State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee has repealed an earlier decision to ratify the latest Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the US after the American Senate made around 30 amendments to the original version.

­Among them are clauses stipulating that the treaty does not cover deployment of a US missile defense system, or ballistic missiles with conventional warheads.

“The presidents of Russia and of the US have set the task of synchronizing all procedures concerning the new START treaty. Nevertheless, now we have to speak not only about synchronizing efforts to keep up with the deadlines, but of synchronizing the contents as well,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee.

Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed the deal in Prague in April. The START deal would see both countries' nuclear arsenals slashed by a third, and the US Secretary of State is calling for the Senate to vote quickly on the treaty.

The US president hopes the Senate will approve the historic nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow by the end of the year.

”We have negotiated with the Russians significant reductions in our nuclear arms,” President Obama told journalists on Thursday. “This is something that traditionally has received strong bipartisan support. This is not a traditionally Democratic or Republican issue, but rather an issue of American national security, and I am hopeful we can get that done and send the strong signal to Russia that we are serious about reducing nuclear arsenals.”

Mikhail Margelov from the Russian Federation Council hopes the current “reset” in the two countries’ relations will not be affected by the latest developments.

“There's nothing wrong with our relations with the Republican Party,” he said. “All the criticism of the Republicans against [the] START re-agreement, for example, was criticism not against Russian position or Russia’s views against START treaty, but against the position of the democratic government during the negotiations and against Obama. I think ‘reset’ is not in danger.”

Watch Spotlight program with Mikhail Margelov