Moscow, Washington discuss missile defence in Geneva

Geneva is hosting consultations between working groups from Russia and the USA, who discuss missile defence, namely the numbers of nuclear warheads to be destroyed or stored away, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov told a Thursday briefing in Moscow.

Although the sides have signed the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, or the SOR, the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or START-1, remains in force until the year after 2009, noted Mamedov. He did not rule out that once START-1 expired, Russia and the USA could proceed to negotiate a new treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons. He also said he thought the Americans would be insisting on the elimination of the warheads.

The SOR, which Russia and the USA signed in Moscow earlier this month, envisages the reduction of the numbers of operationally deployed warheads to 1,700-2,000 each. The number of warheads to be destroyed or stored away has not been discussed yet. According to the SOR, each side is to determine it on its own.

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