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Old 06-02-2009, 07:29 AM   #1
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Default Russia, US reconvene nuclear disarmament talks

Jun 2 05:31 AM US/Eastern

Russia and the United States on Tuesday reconvened negotiations on renewing a key nuclear arms reduction treaty after a first day of talks that was marked by a "positive" climate, diplomats said.

"The talks are under way," a US spokesperson told AFP, without confirming the exact location of the closed door meeting in the western Swiss city of Geneva.

The negotiations on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) mark a second round of talks on the issue, coming just two weeks after meetings in Moscow.

The talks were scheduled for three days, but a Russian diplomat had said that they could end on Tuesday if the negotiators from Washington and Moscow manage to complete their agenda early.

A member of the Russian delegation told AFP after the first day of the meeting on Monday that the climate was "positive" and "business-like".

Officials from both sides said they would reveal few details on the substance of their talks, which set the scene for a US-Russian summit on July 6 to 8.

First results from the START negotiations, which began in Moscow two weeks ago, are due to be unveiled by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev when they meet in the Russian capital, a Russian diplomat said.

START, signed in 1991 just before the break-up of the Soviet Union, which bound both sides to deep cuts in their nuclear arsenals, is due to expire on December 5.

The agreement this year to seek its renewal marked the first tangible step in the thaw in US-Russian relations heralded by the Obama administration.

However, on top of the complex technical issues involved in the landmark disarmament treaty, the negotiations are dogged by bargaining over US plans for an anti-missile defence shield partly stationed in Europe, a project which has angered Russia.
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