US amendments contradict nuclear pact: top Russian lawmaker

24th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The non-binding amendments added to a historic US-Russia nuclear pact by the Senate contradict the sense of the treaty, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee said Friday.

"We have no right to leave these interpretations without a response. They contradict the entire sense of the treaty," said Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee of the State Duma lower house of parliament.

Prior to approving the treaty, US lawmakers attached non-binding amendments recommitting Washington to deploying a missile defence system, modernizing its nuclear arsenal, and seeking talks with Russia on curbing tactical nuclear weapons.

Kosachev said that the ruling pro-Kremlin United Russia party -- which dominates the Duma -- would approve the treaty in a vote later Friday but only in the original form signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev.

But two further readings would then be required and these would only take place next year, he told reporters.

"The second hearing will definitely not be held in this session but January at the earliest," said Kosechev. He said that the Duma would be recommending its own amendments in readings next year. "All of this takes time."

© 2010 AFP

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