Russia and the United States failed to narrow their differences over Washington’s plans for a missile shield in Europe on Monday, but both said they were committed to replacing a Cold War pact on strategic arms.
After the talks, President-elect Barack Obama and was confident a deal could be reached to replace the START-1 pact, which expires next year.told journalists he was looking forward to working with the new U.S. administration under
“The task is quite realistic, we have enough time,” he said. “I can’t help being optimistic about that.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing in the main building of Foreign Ministry in Moscow, December 15, 2008. Ryabkov and U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Rood met behind closed doors to discuss a replacement to the START-1 pact which expires in December 2009.REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov (RUSSIA)
The Moscow and Washington in 1991, committed both to cutting their numbers of missiles and strategic bombers to 1,600 each. Both sides met limits set by the treaty by December 2001., signed by
By Oleg Shchedrov and James Kilner
In a telephone interview with Reuters, the top U.S. official at the talks, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Rood, agreed that the two wanted a replacement for START by the end of 2009.
“But there are substantial differences on our points to the final package,” he said.
Considerations on what should follow START have been marred by growing differences between Moscow and Washington on arms control, dominated by Washington’s plans for a missile shield in Europe.
Russia rejects U.S. reasoning that interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic are needed to avert potential missile strikes from Iran.
Moscow says the project is targeted against it and has threatened to place missiles in its western enclave of Kaliningrad.
Ryabkov said although talks had been positive, differences remained.