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Medvedev Prepares For July Meeting With Obama


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is preparing for the July meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama and hopes the talks will be substantive and serious.

"We are preparing (for the meeting) and I hope the Americans are also preparing," the Russian leader told a press conference after the talks with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands on Saturday.

"The meeting will be important because as security is indivisible and global," he said. "Although European security was discussed .125at the talks with the Dutch prime minister.375 today, it is clear that to a great extent it depends on how relations develop between major players on the proscenium, between the states that have a powerful nuclear potential," the president noted.

"In this respect we are preparing for the events to be held in July and working on our own agenda," he added.

"We have agreed that the meeting will be substantive and serious and I hope it will allow us to give answers to many relevant issues," the president said, including the fate of the START treaty, which expires on December 5, 2009.

"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.

"Without disclosing all the details, I'll give you some ideas: we advocate a real and verifiable reduction and will insist on that," the president said.

He believes the talks with the Americans may be continued on the basis of these proposals.

The next round of the Russian-American talks on strategic offensive weapons will be held on June 23-34, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

"The upcoming meeting will allow us to compare our positions. After it we will be able to make conclusions as to where we are in terms of solving this problem," he said.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, "At the summit in Moscow on July 6-8, the delegations will have to inform the presidents of Russia and the United States of progress at the talks on a new START treaty." Russia and the U.S. may reduce the number of their nuclear warheads to 1,500 each, Commander of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov said earlier.

"Russia and the United States may reduce the number of their nuclear warheads to 1,500 each. But this will depend on the decision of the military and political leaderships of the two countries," he said in comments on the talks regarding a new START treaty that should replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) expiring at the end of 2009.

"We should reduce them to 1,700-2,000 warheads by 2012," Solovtsov said.

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. Meanwhile, the treaty introduced qualitative restrictions - the ban on air-to-ground ballistic missiles, on the number of warheads exceeding the coordinated number on each type of missiles and on the equipping of cruise missiles with multiple warheads and etc.

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