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Declaration by President of Russia

June 20, 2009

└msterdam

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The vast majority of countries and peoples wants a world free of nuclear weapons. Russia shares this noble goal. Mindful of our responsibilities in this regard, we proposed to the United States that we conclude a new, legally binding agreement to replace the START Treaty, which is set to expire on December 5, 2009.

Our negotiators are off to a good start. The negotiations have been serious and substantive. The challenge is to come up with a new treaty by the end of this year.

I know that the Russian position on the future agreement is of interest to everyone. We are in favour of practical and effectively verifiable reductions.

We are ready to reduce the number of strategic delivery vehicles by a significant factor vis-a-vis the provisions of the START-1 Treaty. With regard to the warheads, their number should be below the level established by the Moscow Treaty of 2002, as we have agreed with President Barack Obama.

I don't deny that there are serious problems that remain to be resolved. We cannot agree with U.S. plans to establish a global missile defence. I would like to emphasise that the reductions we are suggesting are possible only if the United States addresses Russian concerns. In any event, the problem of the relationship of strategic offensive and defensive weapons should be clearly laid out in the treaty.

A major concern is the prospect of equipping strategic offensive weapons with non-nuclear warheads. Such weapons could be detrimental to strategic stability.

Finally, it is important to maintain the conditions set out in the START-1 Treaty concerning the deployment of strategic offensive weapons exclusively on national territory. I have already stated this and now wish to reaffirm our fundamental position in this regard.


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