Russia, U.S. leaders urge faster work on START deal
MOSCOW, Feb 24 (Russia) - The presidents of Russia and the United States agreed Wednesday to urge their negotiators to speed up work and prepare for signing a new START deal to cut strategic nuclear weapons, the Kremlin said in a statement.
"The Russian side stressed the importance of completing the talks within a short term to prepare this document -- vital for strategic security and stability -- for signing as soon as possible," it said after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama.
"In this respect, the presidents agreed to give additional instructions to the delegations of the two nations to speed up the process of negotiations," the Kremlin said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for about 15 minutes "and encouraged Russia to continue to move ahead, push hard, so we can reach an agreement in the next couple of weeks," the U.S. State Department said.
Obama and Medvedev have pledged to complete the pact to succeed the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired late last year.
The two presidents have agreed to cut deployed nuclear warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675 on each side.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov)
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