US, Russia pursue nuclear weapons cuts
WASHINGTON - The United States and Russia pledged Tuesday to reduce their stockpiles of long-range nuclear weapons "to the lowest possible" level, although they have not yet agreed on specific numbers.
We have a way to go in our discussion," U.S. envoy Robert G. Joseph said at a news conference.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Kislyak said "it would be too early to announce" new and lower limits on arsenals of long-range nuclear warheads. "We haven't agreed on that."
As an outgrowth of the latest round of talks between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two countries also said they were fully committed to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons technology.
A pivotal 1991 treaty called for reduction of long-range U.S. and Russian nuclear missiles by about one-third, or to a maximum of 6,000 deployed strategic warheads, apiece. It is due to expire in December 2009.
The 2002 Moscow treaty went further, calling on each side to reduce its operationally deployed strategic warheads to 1,700 to 2,220.
In an exchange of data last January, the Russians claimed to have 4,162 strategic warheads, and the United States claimed 5,866 in the U.S. arsenal.