Russia and the United States are likely to clinch a new nuclear arms reduction treaty early next year, Russia's top military officer said on Monday, Xinhua reported.
"We will conclude a new pact at the beginning of next year, although there are some serious difficulties," Gen.
Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, said at a meeting with foreign military attaches.
Moscow and Washington have been in intense talks over the past few months in a bid to find a replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (
START-1), which expired on Dec. 5, Makarov said.
"We have reached agreement on most issues," the general said, admitting that some issues remained unresolved, especially the telemetry of the missiles.
He added Russia hopes to sign an equal, mutually acceptable agreement that will suit both sides and cover all the issues concerning nuclear deterrence.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier Monday that the nuclear disarmament talks will continue in Geneva in January.
U.S. President Barack Obama said last Friday the sides are " quite close to an agreement" on further nuclear arms cuts after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Copenhagen.
The Russian president said only some technical details require "further work."
The START-1, signed in 1991 between the
Soviet Union and the United States, obliged both sides to reduce the number of their nuclear warheads to 6,000 and delivery vehicles to 1,600.
The new treaty's outline agreed by the two presidents at a July summit in Moscow included slashing nuclear arsenals to 1,500 to 1, 675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500 to 1,000.