Russian and US Deputy Foreign Ministers hold consultations on disarmament issues in Moscow

Negotiations are being held at the Russian Foreign Ministry between Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak and US Undersecretary of State John Bolton on the issues of disarmament and non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons.

A source at the Russian foreign ministry told RIA Novosti that Moscow and Washington have large possibilities for joint work in this sphere.

In particular, the sides will discuss the implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SOR). The agency's interlocutor reported that the Treaty had come into force at the meeting of the two countries' presidents in St. Petersburg on June 1, 2003.

The implementation of the Treaty should now begin, with the plans of reductions coordinated, and a bilateral commission should harmonize the spheres of its terms of reference and a mandate, the source stressed.

The participants in the consultations should take into account the negotiations between the US Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Russian leaders which ended yesterday, the foreign ministry pointed out.

The sides are also expected to discuss Moscow-Washington cooperation in anti-missile defence. Russia declared more than once its readiness to cooperate with the United States in non-strategic anti-missile defence projects.

The Russian and US deputy foreign ministers will also discuss regional problems, in particular the situation around Iran. The source pointed out that a tangible rapprochement between the Russian and US stances in this sphere has been observed of late.

"The Iranians themselves contributed to this in many respects when they agreed to the IAEA inspections and signed an additional protocol on guarantees," the interlocutor said. He believes such steps on the part of Iran and the removal of concern around the Iranian nuclear programme will allow Russia to more actively cooperate with Teheran in the nuclear sphere, including in building the atomic power plant in Bushehr.

The situation around the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is also expected to be discussed at the meeting. In particular, Russia and the United States stressed more than once their interest in the earliest possible holding of the second round of the six-sided negotiations on North Korea.

RIA Novosti was told at the US embassy in Russia that during his Moscow visit Bolton will also meet with Russian defence minister and visit the atomic energy ministry.

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