Disarmament negotiations likely to overshoot year-end deadline

US envoy Rose Gottemoeller, charged with heading negotiations with Russia to renew the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) said rushing negotiations would be counter-productive. The treaty expires at the end of the year.


AFP - The new US envoy who will negotiate with Russia on arms reduction said Tuesday it may take longer than the year-end target to seal a treaty.

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed last week to jumpstart negotiations on a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires at the end of the year.

"We need to keep our eye on the prize over the next six months," said Rose Gottemoeller, the new assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, who will be in charge of negotiations.

But she added: "If things aren't going well, you can't rush to the finish just to get something done."

"I want to make it clear that from the perspective of the United States, we will do what we have to do to get this negotiation done," she told a conference at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace.

"But as Secretary Clinton said when she went before the Congress for her own hearing, she said if necessary we will look for ways to find more time for the negotiators."

The original START treaty, negotiated with the then-Soviet Union, slashed US and Russian stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons by 80 percent.

Obama met with Medvedev last week on a European visit, where the new US leader also laid out a vision for a world without nuclear weapons.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning