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Dec 23, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomes the ratification of a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction deal by the U.S. Senate but believes it could take some time for the Russian lawmakers to study the amendments to the treaty.
The United States Senate ratified on Wednesday the new START treaty with Russia, with a vote of 71 for and 26 against. The agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament.
“President Dmitry Medvedev was satisfied with the news that the U.S. Senate had ratified the new START treaty and expressed hope that Russia’s State Duma and the Federation Council would be ready to review and ratify this document,” the Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said on Thursday.
However, the president believes that “the Russian parliament might need some time to study the legal aspects of the ratification by the Senate prior to making its own decision,” Timakova said.
The new START treaty, which restricts both nations to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, was signed by Russian and U.S. presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama in April.
The Senate ratified the new arms pact after 18 hearings and seven days of debate, answering more than 1,000 questions in line with the document. The White House and State Department spent several months in heavy debates with Republican lawmakers to pass the bill.
The Republicans were attempting to put the final vote off until the beginning of 2011 when the number of Republicans in the Senate would significantly increase, giving them more muscle.
The document approved by the Senate contains at least two minor amendments that could draw Russia’s attention – the Republican senators demanded that Pentagon should modernize the U.S. nuclear triad and that Washington should start discussions with Moscow on Russia’s superiority in tactical nuclear weapons. (*)
MOSCOW, December 23