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US Senator Lugar Speaks For Extending START-I Treaty

U.S. senator Richard Lugar. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 30, 2007
Russia and the U.S. should extend the START-I Treaty, which expires in 2009, or else negative consequences will result, U.S. senator Richard Lugar said Tuesday. "The United States and Russia must extend the START Treaty's verification and transparency elements, which will expire in 2009," Lugar told an arms control round table in Moscow.

Lugar said the two countries should also introduce additional verification elements for the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) treaty.

The START-I Treaty was signed July 31, 1991 and expires December 5, 2009.

It remains in force as a treaty between the U.S., Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since totally disarmed their strategic arms capabilities, and the U.S. and Russia reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads each.

The treaty was followed by START-II, which banned the use of multiple re-entry vehicles (MIRV) but never entered into force and was later bypassed by the SORT Treaty, signed by Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in Moscow May 24, 2002, also known as "the Moscow Treaty."

Lugar also told the round table that Russia and the U.S. could in the future give up chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

The round table is dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar program, a cooperation program developed by Lugar and then-Senator Sam Nunn in 1991, the year when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, to render assistance to Russia and other former Soviet republics in securing and destroying weapons of mass destruction.

A Russian representative, retired Colonel General Yevgeny Maslov, a former high-ranking Defense Ministry official, said nuclear weapons are bait for international terrorists.

"Disarmament is continuing, the Cold War is behind, and we still count arsenals by the thousands," he said.

Lugar also said the Nunn-Lugar program could be used to deal with the North Korean nuclear problem, and could be extended to other countries.

Speaking about would-be plans to deploy Russian military facilities in Belarus, including nuclear weapons, Lugar said that would be counterproductive for bilateral relations.

Earlier, media cited Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Alexander Surikov, as saying that Russia could deploy certain military facilities in Belarus.

The U.S. announced plans in January to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield aimed at countering possible threats from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea, which Russia has said would threaten its national security.

Source: RIA Novosti

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