Marrakesh: Russia and the United States are on track to sign a new deal to reduce their arsenals of nuclear weapons by the time a previous agreement expires next month, a Kremlin aide said at a policy conference in Morocco.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty known as START-1 runs out on December 5 and negotiators have been working to prepare a new detailed treaty to be signed by the two nations` leaders.
President Barack Obama and Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev agreed in July on the outlines of a preliminary deal to replace the landmark 1991 treaty but negotiators are still working through several technical issues.
"We are still optimistic about ... signing a new agreement this year which will imply huge progress for the world in this matter," Arkady Dvorkovich, a top adviser to Medvedev, said at a World Policy Conference in Marrakesh.
"We have a very good and constructive dialogue right now on this matter. I think the obstacles are mostly technical and we can complete in time," he said late on Saturday.
Talks on the pact may have been facilitated by President Barack Obama`s decision to roll back the plans of his predecessor George W Bush for a missile shield in Eastern Europe by deploying a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.