Medvedev signs off on US nuclear cuts treaty

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday he had ratified a new nuclear weapons reduction treaty with the United States, following its approval by both houses of parliament.

"Today I signed the ratification document on the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START)," Medvedev said at a meeting with top security officials in comments broadcast on state television.

He said the treaty would come into force once the two sides exchange the ratification documents.

"I think that our foreign ministers could do this at one of their next meetings," he said, adding that the exchange should happen soon.

The ITAR-TASS news agency quoted sources as saying the exchange could be made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Munich Security Conference next month.

The new START, the first nuclear pact between the two former Cold War foes in 20 years, reduces old warhead ceilings by 30 percent and limits each side to 700 deployed long-range missiles and heavy bombers.

© 2011 AFP

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