Medvedev and Obama agree on arms declaration: Kremlin

Publish date: March 29, 2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama will next week make a joint declaration on their weapons arsenals in a step towards renewing a key Cold War disarmament pact, a Kremlin advisor said on Saturday.

Amid hopes of a warming in relations that have seen their worst cooling since the fall of communism, the two leaders are to hold their first meeting on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in London on April 2nd Agency France Presse reported.

"We will end up with two presidential declarations – a general one about Russian-American relations and one about strategic offensive arms," Medvedev’s foreign policy advisor Sergei Prikhodko said, according to Russian news agencies.

"The texts are turning out well and should be starting point for drawing up future work," he said.

He said he hoped Medvedev and Obama would then make initial agreements on a renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a Cold War nuclear disarmament pact that expires in December, at a subsequent meeting after the G20.

The two sides would work "so that already at the next summit meeting the first concrete agreements can be made and the work can be completed by the end of the year," the news agencies quoted Prikhodko as saying.

Talks on renewing START, which led to huge reductions of the US and Russian nuclear arsenals after its signing in 1991, stalled under the previous administration of former US president George W. Bush. By contrast, officials in the Obama administration have indicated that renegotiating the treaty is a priority.