Russia and US make progress in strategic arms talks – presidents

Russia and the US have made excellent progress on the new strategic arms treaty and an agreement is near, the Russian and US presidents told the press after their Friday meeting in Copenhagen.

However, both leaders did not give any precise date for the signing, saying only that the treaty will be signed at an appropriate time.

Further, the US president thanked his Russian counterpart for being an effective partner at the talks.

Our main focus today was the START treaty, the new START treaty that we have been negotiating,” US President Barack Obama said. “We’ve been making excellent progress. We are quite close to an agreement and I am confident that it will be completed in a timely fashion. I want to thank President Medvedev for being an effective partner in these negotiations."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters that as the Friday meeting took place during the Copenhagen summit, the two presidents concentrated on climate issues in their talks.

An aide to the Russian president, Sergei Prikhodko, told the press on Friday that the new strategic arms treaty would not be signed before the end of this year. He added that the treaty only needed coordination of technical issues and said the exact date of the signing had not been not revealed on purpose so that no additional pressure is applied on the delegations.

The Russian official added that the work on the document would continue in January and that no further issues were preventing the treaty from being signed.