GENEVA (Reuters) -- The United States has said that talks with Russia aimed at cutting stockpiles of nuclear weapons have made progress, before a July summit between the two countries' presidents.
Rose Gottemoeller, who led the U.S. delegation in the three-day Geneva round that ended on June 3, told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament that she had held "productive talks with our Russian counterparts, working towards this START follow-on agreement."
Moscow and Washington are negotiating an accord to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) that expires at the end of this year.
"We had very productive talks and we expect that productive trajectory to continue," she told Reuters after addressing the conference.
Gottemoeller urged the 65-member state forum to launch negotiations on a treaty banning production of nuclear bomb-making fissile material (plutonium and highly enriched uranium), widely seen as the next step in multilateral nuclear disarmament.
"This treaty has been on the international agenda for most of the nuclear age," said Gottemoeller, who is acting U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
"It must be complemented by deeper respect for nonproliferation rules, consequences for those who violate them, improved verification of compliance and further progress on arms control," she added.