WASHINGTON, June 22 (KUNA) -- The United States and Russia have started a new round of talks to renew an expiring nuclear arsenal reduction treaty, a US spokesman said Monday.
The US and Russia are in Geneva, Switzerland, for the next three-days for a second round of talks, on renewing the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), set to expire in December, State Deparmtent spokesman Ian Kelly confirmed at a daily press briefing.
Both sides are talking "specific numbers" on scaling back on their weapons stockpile, according to Kelly, who did not offer the exact figures being negotiated, but said, "We do want to have a significant reduction".
Delegations from both countries will be discussing a variety of issues related to the START follow-on treaty, Kelly said including Russian President Dmitry Medvedevs offer to draw down its nuclear warheads, if the US does not build a proposed missile defense shield in Poland.
Kelly said both issues "should be dealt with independently. They are two different issues".
"Weve made no final decisions regarding basing missile defense in Europe, which will be based on an assessment of the threat to the US and its allies," Kelly added "If that threat disperses, that will affect our decision on the need to move forward with missile defense".
President Barack Obama and President Medvedev agreed, at a meeting in London in April, to start negotiations on a new comprehensive agreement to reduce arms, "and that the US and Russia would seek to record, in the new agreement, levels of reductions that would be lower than in the Moscow Treaty, " Kelly said. (end) hy.bs KUNA 222357 Jun 09NNNN