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ITAR-TASS, April 8, 2003

Top Russian MPs advocate early ratification of the US arms reduction treaty

Moscow, 8 April: There is no point in delaying ratification of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty [SORT], also known as the Moscow Treaty between Russia and the United States, irrespective of developments in Iraq, according to prominent members of the State Duma, or the lower house of Russian parliament.

Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Vladimir Lukin (YABLOKO faction), for one, thinks that ratification of SORT should not be postponed for a long time. He is confident that the treaty will be ratified before the end of the current spring session. "This treaty is no less beneficial for Russia than for the United States, as it implies maintenance of a strategic balance between our two countries," added Lukin.

It is in Russia's interest to see prompt ratification by the State Duma of SORT, according to the house defence committee chairman, Andrey Nikolayev. "There is an unfavourable backdrop for the move, related to the situation around Iraq, but there is no point in delaying ratification," Nikolayev stressed.

Deputy chairman of the Duma committee for international affairs Konstantin Kosachev stressed that it was necessary to put ratification of the treaty to a vote in the lower house "without any delays or attempts to link it to the speed or timeframe of the US operation in Iraq."

According to Kosachev, the Duma international affairs committee believes that there will be no artificial procrastination over ratification in the State Duma.


See also:

Arms Control

Russia-US Relations

ITAR-TASS, April 8, 2003

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