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April 5, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Putin Talks of Change in U.S. Arms Treaty
Russian President Shows Interest in Ratifying Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty With U.S.

The Associated Press


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MOSCOW April 5

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that his administration would urge lawmakers to ratify a key nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States despite tensions over the war in Iraq.

The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, had been expected to take up debate on the Treaty of Moscow last month, but it indefinitely postponed a ratification vote because of the imminent U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

The treaty, which Putin and President Bush signed in May, calls on both nations to cut their strategic nuclear arsenals by about two-thirds, to 1,700 to 2,200 deployed warheads, by 2012.

"Our position and that of the United States on the Iraqi problem do not coincide. We have different approaches, and that, of course, creates a rather unfavorable background for further work on ratification of this agreement," Putin told reporters during a visit to the Russian Space Forces headquarters.

"But the Russian Federation is interested in seeing this document ratified. We will work with deputies of the Federal Assembly (both houses of parliament) and hope for ratification."

Putin later spoke by telephone with Bush, and the two leaders pledged to maintain their political contacts despite their disagreements over Iraq, the Kremlin press service said.

Putin said the government was concerned with upgrading its advance warning system of nuclear attacks, and strengthening the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, which he called a top challenge of the 21st century.

"And this will be all the more effective if we act in a coordinated way in this sphere," he said.


photo credit and caption:
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, answers a question as Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, right, and Commander-in-Chief of Space Forces general Anatoly Perminov listen during a short briefing at the Space Force headquarters in Moscow, Saturday, April 5, 2003. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that his administration would urge lawmakers to ratify a key nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States despite tensions over the war in Iraq. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, Pool)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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