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WASHINGTON, May 24 (Itar-Tass) - The United States and Russia have closely approached the conclusion of new accords on the program for the reduction of threats from weapons of mass destruction, which is more widely known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program.
All the main political problems connected with CTR have been settled to the satisfaction of both sides, Kennet Handelman, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, told journalists here on Thursday.
Commenting, at a request of an Itar-Tass correspondent, on the talks on the matter, he recalled that the agreement between Washington and Moscow on the Nunn-Lugar program, concluded in 1992 and extended twice since then, expires on June 16. Handelman said he is upbeat about prospects for the drawing up of the new document.
If the new agreement is not signed before June 16 that would happen solely due to bureaucratic causes, not because of some political problems, the Pentagon official said. The CTR Program, he said, will be renewed at Russia's request so that it would be beneficial to both sides.
Last year Moscow notified Washington that the document, which establishes rules for the implementation of joint projects in the field of non-proliferation, did not suit it in the present form and suggested amending it. This was accounted for by the fact that the agreement, concluded more than 20 years ago, grants legal immunity and privileges to the American specialists who work in the RF under the Nunn-Lugar program, the privileges that are not up to the present-day Russian legislation.
Washington agreed with Moscow's suggestion and the sides set about holding talks on that. The matter was discussed at regular consultations by Rose Gottemoeller, acting US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Defense ministries of the two countries also directly participated in working out a new agreement. New rules will enable the sides to finalize the implementation of the already launched projects and will also apply in the event of the emergence of additional areas of cooperation under the Nunn-Lugar Program.