Arms deal with Russia to mention missile shield: US Ambassador
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 11, 2010, 21:28
Moscow: The United States and Russia have agreed that a new arms control treaty will mention a link between offensive nuclear arms and defences against them, the US ambassador to Moscow said on Thursday.

Ambassador John Beyrle's statement in his blog post could signal a potential breakthrough in the US-Russian talks on a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev linked the two issues in a statement in July, but Washington had resisted Russia's push for an explicit connection between them in a successor to the treaty.

Moscow and Washington hoped that they would sign a new treaty by the end of December, but talks have dragged on. The delay apparently has been caused by Russia's deep suspicious about US plans for a missile defense shield in Europe. Washington has said it is a reaction to Iran's missile threat, but Moscow has seen it as a potential threat to its security.

Beyrle's statement indicated that the US stance has shifted. "Our presidents have agreed that the treaty will contain a provision on the interconnection between strategic offensive and defensive weapons," he said in his Russian-language blog.

Still, any missile defence restrictions would likely complicate the treaty's approval by the US Senate.

Beyrle's statement apparently reflects an attempt by Washington to overcome Russia's suspicions of the US missile defence plans.


First Published: Thursday, February 11, 2010, 21:28

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