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Russia Prepares for U.S. Changes to Nuclear Treaty, RIA Says

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Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The Russian parliament is preparing amendments to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, in case U.S. legislators request changes, RIA Novosti reported.

Boris Gryzlov, the lower house of parliament speaker, ordered the foreign affairs committee to prepare the amendments, he said in an interview for state television, according to RIA, a state-owned news service. “I hope the U.S. Congress will ratify START, though there is information that there are attempts to add all kinds of remarks and elaborations to the text of the agreed treaty,” he said, according to RIA.

The new START agreement, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, would cut each country’s deployed nuclear warheads by about a third, to a maximum of 1,550, and would allow both nations to resume on-site inspections. The previous treaty expired in December 2009.

Medvedev said Nov. 20 that it would be “very unpleasant” if the U.S. Senate failed to pass a new nuclear treaty with Russia, and he hoped that legislators would demonstrate a “responsible” approach.

U.S. Republican leaders have stalled consideration of the treaty, vowing to block passage of all bills until Congress takes up legislation extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and passes a stopgap funding bill to keep the federal government operating until appropriations measures for fiscal year 2011 are enacted.

On Dec. 1, several Senate Republicans signaled a willingness to support a new treaty by the end of the year, once those matters are resolved.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story Willy Morris at wmorris@bloomberg.net

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