No stop to START: sprucing up arms treaty

Any delay to Russia and the US finalizing a new START treaty which will see a reduction of the countries’ nuclear stockpiles shouldn't be a cause for alarm, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated.

Sergey Lavrov says both countries will stick to the terms of a new strategic arms reduction treaty even before it is ratified by their parliaments.

“The two Presidents have firmly agreed to make every effort at the Geneva talks to sign a new treaty before the old one expires, which will happen on December 5. Of course it will take some time to ratify the treaty but I think it's alright,” Sergey Lavrov said.

The comments follow remarks made by the US presidential adviser on Russia, Michael McFaul, who said the two countries are trying to work out some major differences and might need a "bridging agreement". This has led to speculation the two countries are not able to meet the ratification deadline.

US ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle however confirmed the words of his colleague McFaul in the online interview with Russia’s Gazeta.Ru news web portal by saying that until the treaty is ratified, some kind of intermediate agreement on arms control will still be put in place. Even if the agreement is signed in December, it will take months to ratify it, he said. An interim agreement would maintain the existing measures of controlling the arsenals, Mr. Beyrle explained.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is widely seen as a first step towards a nuclear weapons free world and is expected to limit the number of nukes to 1700-2200 for each country.