MILAN, December 7. /TASS/. Russia is interested in beginning negotiations on the prolongation of the treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) and this proposal remains in force, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following a meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers on Friday.
"As far as New START is concerned, we are very much interested in beginning talks on its prolongation. This proposal remains in force," he said.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, told a news conference on Thursday Washington found it hard to imagine continuation of New START if the INF Treaty were terminated.
The Russian-US New START treaty took effect in 2011. Under its terms either party shall reduce its strategic offensive arms in such a way that by the end of a seven-year period following the moment the treaty takes effect it should have no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched missiles and heavy bombers, 1,550 warheads for them and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and heavy bombers.
The treaty shall stay in effect for ten years (up to 2021) unless it is replaced by another agreement by that moment. Or it can be prolonged for no more than five years (until 2026) by mutual consent. Lately, Moscow repeatedly urged Washington to avoid delays in prolonging that treaty, which it described as a gold standard in the field of disarmament.