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Obama Taps Russia Specialist For Arms Control Post


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen Rose Gottemoeller, a specialist in Russian defense and nuclear issues, for a key arms control post ahead of negotiations with Moscow, the White House said.

Obama plans to nominate Gottemoeller, a former Energy Department official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, to serve as assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance.

That post is likely to play a strong hand in shaping U.S. arms control policy as Washington prepares for negotiations with Moscow on how to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) that expires in December.

START is aimed at reducing long-range nuclear weapons and was first negotiated during the superpower rivalry of the Cold War.

Russia sees the treaty as the cornerstone of post-Cold War arms control and believes that letting it lapse without finding an adequate replacement could upset the strategic balance.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after their first substantive meeting this month that they were determined to conclude a new START treaty by the end of the year.
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