Russia welcomes US Senate's ratification of nuclear treaty

22nd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed Wednesday the US Senate's ratification of the START nuclear arms control treaty but said Moscow needed time to study the US documents before doing the same.

"We welcome the approval of the treaty by the US Senate," Lavrov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Lavrov added however that the text of the resolution had been "somehow amended compared to the initial draft."

"The ratification resolution... is a complex document that must be deeply studied," he said. "The ministry and the parliament, we need some time to study the documents of the US ratification."

Lavrov said the ratification was signal of "efforts to ensure the dynamic development of bilateral relations" between Russia and the United States.

A senior lawmaker had said earlier Wednesday that the Russian lower house could pass the treaty before the end of the year but was more cautious following the US ratification.

"We must carry out a deep analysis of the text and its commentaries because this is a matter of national security," said Leonid Slutsky, the deputy chairman of the the State Duma's foreign affairs committee.

Prior to approving the treaty, US lawmakers attached non-binding amendments to the resolution of ratification technical document to recommit Washington to deploying a missile defence system, to modernising its nuclear arsenal, and to seeking new talks with Russia on curbing tactical nuclear weapons.

Russia had warned against attempts by US lawmakers to amend the treaty and on Wednesday a source in the Duma foreign affairs committee told Interfax that amendments "would significantly affect the entire (ratification) process."

The same source added, however, that it was "important to support the political objective of synchronising the ratification process."

START restricts the former Cold War foes to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads each, a cut of about 30 percent from a limit set in 2002, and 800 launchers and bombers.

© 2010 AFP

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