MOSCOW: Ongoing arms cuts talks between Russia and the U.S. have seen differences on inspection and verification procedures, the chief of the General Staff said on Thursday.
Moscow and Washington are negotiating a replacement for the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the basis for Russian-U.S. strategic nuclear disarmament, which expires on December 5. The current round of talks near Geneva began on Monday.
“There are a number of problems pertaining to inspections, verification, and reporting figures,” Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov said.
Makarov also said Washington was seeking to keep a point from the original treaty on the U.S. monitoring of Russia’s mobile ground-based missiles.
He said monitoring had been provided by a U.S. team based in the Russian city of Votkinsk, home to a missile manufacturing plant.
“We do not have such missions in the United States, so it is quite natural that this [Votkinsk] mission will be removed, and it will leave its post on December 5,” he said.
“We want the treaty to ensure both the security of the Russian Federation and of the United States on equal levels.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama will meet on the sidelines of this year’s gathering of APEC leaders, hosted by Singapore on November 14-15.
An outline of the new pact was agreed during the presidents’ bilateral summit in Moscow in July and includes cutting their countries’ nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.
START I commits the parties to reducing their nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up strategic arms reduction agreement was concluded in Moscow. The document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.