Medvedev, Obama discuss train bomb blast, Afghanistan, START

December 2, 2009 - 0:0

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) -- U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday to offer condolences in connection with the loss of life in Friday’s terrorist act on a train.

Medvedev and Obama discussed further cooperation between Russia and the United States in order to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and the drafting of a new strategic offensive arms reduction treaty.
On July 6, 2009, Medvedev and Obama agreed to sign a new legally binding START shortly. They set a clear goal of reaching an agreement in December. The two presidents would have a chance to meet and discuss this issue at the APEC summit in Singapore this weekend.
Russia and the United States agreed to reduce strategic offensive arms and to sign a new legally binding strategic offensive arms reduction treaty to replace the existing START treaty that expires in December of this year, according to a document entitled “Joint Understanding on Further Strategic Offensive Arms Cuts and Reductions” that was signed by Medvedev and Obama in Moscow in July.
The Joint Understanding commits the United States and Russia to reduce their strategic warheads to a range of 1,500-1,675, and their strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500-1,100. Under the expiring START and the Moscow treaties the maximum allowable levels of warheads is 2,200 and the maximum allowable level of launch vehicles is 1,600.
“Our negotiators have made a good start. But our task is to draft a specific, concrete and binding agreement. It would be desirable to do so in one document and in the most effective way,” Medvedev noted.
“We are ready to reduce the number of nuclear weapon carriers several times against that required by the START-1 Treaty. As for the related warheads, their number should be lower than the level provided for in the 2002 Moscow Agreement, just as we agreed with President Obama,” Medvedev said.
The current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires on December 5, 2009.
The Soviet Union and the United States signed the START-1 treaty on July 31, 1991, and the treaty entered into force on December 5, 1994. The treaty was concluded for 15 years until December 5, 2009.
The treaty can be replaced with a new agreement or extended for five years. Negotiations on an extension or replacement of the treaty should begin not later than a year before the START-1 treaty expires.
The START-1 treaty obliged both sides to reduce more than 40 percent of their nuclear warheads (to 6,000 warheads) and about 30 percent of their strategic carriers (to 1,600 pieces). Russia and the U.S. had fulfilled these liabilities by 2001.