Obama offers Medvedev support after Moscow attack

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US President Barack Obama called President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday and offered to work with Russia to combat terrorism after a suicide bomb attack on a Moscow airport killed 35 people.

The US leader called "to express his deepest condolences for yesterday's terrorist attack and his solidarity with the Russian people," the White House said in a statement.

"President Obama reaffirmed his strong condemnation of this outrageous attack on innocent civilians and his commitment to work with Russia in combating terrorism."

Obama also "congratulated President Medvedev on today's approval by the Duma of the new START treaty, and the two leaders pledged to build on this progress as they continue their close partnership in 2011," the statement added.

Russia and the United States concluded the replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last year and the pact was ratified after a cliffhanger debate in the US Senate in December.

Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament passed the landmark deal in a second and penultimate reading on Friday.

The Duma gave its initial backing to the new START on December 24 and the third and final reading of the bill is expected later this month.

The accord 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 -- enough to blow up the world many times over.

© 2011 AFP

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