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Russia: Moscow Proposes Arms Talks With U.S.

Moscow, 25 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia has proposed talks with the United States on missile defense and strategic offensive arms reduction. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement early today the talks could take place in Moscow in late October or early November.

Working groups from the two countries were set up during the recent visit of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to Washington.

The United States in June officially withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and announced it was moving ahead with plans to deploy a missile defense system.

Moscow initially voiced strong opposition to Washington's plans but later softened its stance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush signed a disarmament deal in May committing Russia and the United States to slash their nuclear arsenals by 2012 to no more than 2,200 deployed warheads, down from 6,000 each.