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6 Jul, 2010 12:20

START treaty discussed in Russian Parliament

The Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia's State Duma has held a session on discussing the ongoing preparations for a vote on the ratification of the START treaty.

Ratifying the nuclear arms reduction treaty in the lower chamber of Russia's Parliament may depend on how the US Senate deals with it.

That is the assessment of the Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, who spoke to RT after the hearing.

“They believe there are no serious obstacles or reasons not to ratify this document. At least from what we can hear from academic circles, from the scientists and researchers, from military experts. The document itself doesn't create any unilateral advantages to any of the sides. I hope that this argumentation will be supported by the majority in the International Affairs Committee of Russia's State Duma. We will hold our final discussion in the committee next Thursday. Then we will take a pause, and we will not proceed with any further actions until we understand what is going on in the [US] Senate. The situation there is rather unpredictable and unclear,” Kosachev said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov were invited to take part in the open hearing on the issue that will take place on July 8.

The replacement START treaty was signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his American counterpart Barack Obama in Prague this April.

The treaty has yet to be given the final go-ahead by lawmakers in both Russia and the US before it can come into force.

The deal sets out new limits for the two countries' nuclear warhead stockpiles, effectively cutting them by about a third.

The treaty has been hailed as a major breakthrough by both the Russian and American governments, and is seen as a key global nuclear disarmament deal.