Strategic arms deal to be signed in Prague
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” .
"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.