Arms deal with Russia to mention missile shield: US Ambassador

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.

PTI



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

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