U.S., Russia to Discuss Strategic Reductions

Article excerpt

In Moscow on December 10, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the United States and Russia would seek to "formalize" an agreement to lower strategic nuclear weapons levels.

At a briefing in Brussels a week later, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov added that the two sides had agreed to begin discussing "radical reductions of strategic offensive weapons" at the "expert level" in January.

According to Ivanov, the discussions will cover the depth of the reductions, their time frame, and the issues of verification and transparency. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov will initially lead the talks, which will reportedly begin January 26 in Washington.

President George W. Bush pledged November 13 to reduce deployed U.S. strategic nuclear forces to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the next 10 years. Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to try to "respond in kind," and one month later, he indicated he had a range of 1,500-2,200 in mind. …