US, Russia close to signing deal on nuke weapons reduction

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Washington, Mar. 25 (ANI): The United States and Russia are close to announcing a nuclear weapons deal that would replace the START accord of 1991.

The apparent agreement comes just ahead of a White House summit on nuclear security in April.

According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), American and Russian negotiators reached an agreement Wednesday on a new strategic arms reduction treaty that will continue the process of reducing the world's two largest arsenals of nuclear weapons - and that will move the powers further away from their 20th-century status as cold-war enemies.

Agreement comes just as the Obama administration is about to embark on several weeks of nuclear diplomacy.

President Obama has invited more than 40 heads of state to a White House summit on nuclear security in April, and a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference is set for May.

An official announcement could come as early as Friday, US officials said.

Russian officials in Moscow announced that a few details in the treaty's annex have been agreed on.

The accord is expected to include the deal that Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev concluded with a handshake last July to reduce each country's nuclear warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675 within seven years.

The original START accord, reached by US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, called for reducing arsenals to about 6,000 warheads each and included verification measures to boost confidence on each side that the other was following through on obligations. (ANI)

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