Medvedev signs key US-Russian New START nuclear treaty

Russian Prez signed the ratification of a New START nuclear treaty with the US.

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
on Friday signed the ratification of a New START nuclear treaty
with the US, a move likely to boost arms control and
strengthen efforts to "reset" ties between the two former Cold
War rivals.

"Today I signed the ratification bill on the New START
treaty. This is a very important event for our entire country,
considering the understandings that Russia has with the US,"
Medvedev said in his televised remarks at national Security
Council meeting today.

"The Americans have come their way and we have also
accomplished the process on our side and now the Russian State
Duma and the Federation Council have adopted all the necessary
papers," Medvedev said of the key arms control treaty, which
could enter into force next month.

He said the enabling instruments of ratification could
be exchanged on February 4-5 in Munich, when Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton will be in the German city.

"We made some clarifications which are quite similar
and proportionate to what the US Senate did, very symmetrical.

And they reflect the concerns that our deputies have,"
Medvedev said, commenting on the provisions for Moscow
quitting the pact in case of US missile shield is deployed in

NATO has approved a plan for a US-led missile defence
in Europe last fall and invited Russia to join. Medvedev was
receptive of NATO`s proposal but has not made a definite

The New START signed in April 2010 in Prague by US
President Obama and Medvedev provides for the mutual reduction
of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery weapons over the
next seven years.

The deal may be extended by agreement between both

The treaty limits each country to 1,550 strategic
warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, and also
re-establishes a system for monitoring that ended in December
2009 with the expiration of a previous arms deal.

The US Senate backed the treaty earlier in December
2010, following heated public debate. The Congressmen amended
the treaty prior to ratification.

Several changes were also introduced by the Russian
parliament in response to the American interpretation of the

The amendments drawn up by both sides are non-binding,
meaning that both countries will have to keep to their
obligations and will slash their nuclear arsenals by a third