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Lavrov speaks in Geneva for atomic arms deal

Russia has called for a successor deal with the United States to their Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), at a conference in Geneva.

This content was published on March 7, 2009 - 13:00

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the nuclear weapons treaty was a priority in "resetting" relations as Washington has urged.

Lavrov was addressing a United Nations disarmament conference in the Swiss city on Saturday, a day after he held bilateral talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"We are prepared, as was suggested by our American partners, to "reset" our relations... Conclusion of a new legally-binding Russian-American treaty on strategic offensive weapons could become a priority step in that direction," said Lavrov.

He quoted President Dmitri Medvedev as saying that the agreement should be "forward-looking" and should limit not only nuclear warheads but also strategic delivery systems.

On Friday Clinton said that new strategic arms treaty was a priority. The US wanted to reach agreement by the end of this year, when the START I treaty expires, she said. Lavrov has called the 1991 pact "obsolete".

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