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Russia Hopes For START Treaty Approval This Year

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has voiced hope that U.S. domestic politics will not block ratification of the New START treaty.

Lavrov said today that Moscow hoped the arms limitation pact, which was passed by the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee in September, will now be approved by the full Senate before the end of the year.

The treaty, which would cut the number of deployed nuclear weapons allowed in Russian and U.S. arsenals by about 30 percent and revive verification procedures, requires ratifaction by the 100-seat U.S. Senate and Russia's State Duma to take effect.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made clear the Duma should not ratify the treaty until Senate approval is certain.

The Russian foreign minister also said that Russia was willing to cooperate with NATO on missile defense provided the partnership is equal.

Lavrov was speaking on the sidelines of a G20 summit in the South Korean capital of Seoul, one week before a planned Russia-NATO summit.

compiled from agency reports