U.S. and Russia Report Progress on Arms Talks

International Herald Tribune
Thursday 21st March, 2013

MOSCOW – Russian and American officials on Thursday reported progress in discussions about nuclear weapons reductions, in a sign that renewed cooperation may be under way just days after the United States canceled part of a Europe-based missile defense program that had infuriated the Kremlin.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the cancellation of the final stage of the Europe-based missile shield program last week as part of a plan to contain a rising threat from North Korea by shifting missile interceptors to the West Coast and Alaska.

The Pentagon said that Russia had not been a factor in the decision, but senior administration officials acknowledged that the move could ease tensions with Russian officials and potentially represent a breakthrough after months of deteriorating relations.

After meetings in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday, Rose Gottemoeller, the acting under secretary of state for arms control, and Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, each issued positive comments, indicating that the two sides had renewed active talks on nonproliferation efforts, which had been largely stalled for months.

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