No new initiatives on arms control - Russia's defense minister
(RIA Novosti) - Neither Russia nor the United States have new proposals on controls over strategic offensive weapons, the Russian defense minister said Monday.
"During the G8 summit in St. Petersburg and bilateral Russian-U.S. consultations, the leaders of the two countries instructed respective foreign and defense ministers to study the possibility of future agreements in the sphere of control over strategic weapons," Sergei Ivanov told a news conference in Kaliningrad, Russia's exclave in the Baltic region.
"No decisions have been made so far," he said.
Speaking on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the START-I treaty, the minister said Russia would fulfill all obligations under the treaty until it expires in 2009.
President Vladimir Putin proposed in late June that talks be opened with Washington on replacing START-I, which was signed at the end of the Soviet era, with a new arms deal.
The treaty was followed by START-II, which banned the use of multiple re-entry vehicles but never entered into force and was later bypassed by the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, signed on May 24, 2002 by Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in Moscow.
SORT, which expires on December 31, 2012, limited both countries' nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. The treaty has been criticized for a lack of verification provisions and the possibility of re-deploying stored warheads.
According to latest inspection reports, Russia possesses 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, while the United States owns 1,255and 5,966 respectively.