Strategic arms deal to be signed in Prague

A new nuclear arms reduction treaty will be signed by the Russian and American presidents on April 8 in the Czech capital Prague, as agreed during a phone conversation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama.

According to the Russian leader’s press secretary, Natalya Timakova, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (known as START) “reflects the balance of interests of both countries” .

Citing the words of president Medvedev, she said "the negotiations did not always go smoothly." However, thanks to “the negotiators' constructive attitude” it became possible to get to the point of signing the new treaty in rather a short period of time.

"The presidents thanked each other for their co-operation," Natalya Timakova said.

Both the Russian and American leaders agreed that “the main task after the signing of the treaty will be its ratification.”

Russian and US diplomats and military experts have been working on the new treaty since early 2009. Initially, the plan was to have the document ready by the end of last year, before the expiration of the START treaty, which the new one is to replace.

The sides will reduce their nuclear arsenals by 25 per cent, leaving 700 strategic warheads to each. The number of deployed nuclear charges will be cut to 1,550.

Also, there will be a legally binding provision concerning the link between offensive and defensive strategic weapons, according to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. All strategic weapons will be based strictly on the territory of the two countries. A bilateral body will be set up to oversee the implementation of the treaty.

“The new treaty includes specific provisions concerning notifying each other, verification procedures and confidence-building measures. The verification mechanism will be simpler and less expensive compared with the old treaty. It will be fully based on parity,” Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

Documents related:

START I treaty (full text)

Russia-US Document of Understanding on START follow-on

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STARTing over

Forging a new START

Experts on new Russia-US START treaty