Medvedev urges US Senate to be 'responsible' on START
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday urged the US Senate to ratify the START nuclear arms treaty, warning that his country would withhold its own ratification until it passes in Washington.
"I hope that US legislators will demonstrate a responsible approach," Medvedev told a news conference in Lisbon following the first NATO-Russia summit in more than two years.
"It would be a shame" if the treaty was not ratified, he said.
"We will act in symmetry to what is happening in the US," Medvedev added, indicating Russian lawmakers would only rubber-stamp the treaty after the US Senate does.
Medvedev said he spoke to US President Barack Obama during the summit about efforts to convince the Senate to ratify the treaty before the end of the year.
"He told me he was going to work actively in this direction with the Congress," the Russian leader said.
"I hope this work will be crowned with success because if it can't move forward here then the world understandably would not become a safer place. I am convinced that common sense will triumph at the end of the day," he said.
Obama has urged lawmakers to sign off on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty this year, before a new Congress takes over next year after Republicans routed his Democratic party in mid-term elections.
European allies rallied to Obama's side during a two-day NATO summit in Lisbon, warning any delay in the ratification would endanger Europe's security.
The treaty -- signed by Medvedev and Obama in April -- restricts each nation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads, a cut of about 30 percent from a limit set in 2002.
It would also see the return of US inspectors, who have not monitored Russia's arsenal since the agreement's predecessor lapsed in December 2009.
© 2010 AFP