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Moscow hopes to begin final round of arms talks on Nov. 9

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes November 9 will see the start of the concluding round of U.S.-Russian arms reduction talks, official Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said on Friday.

"Russian-American talks on [a new] strategic arms reduction treaty have been almost continuous," Nesterenko said. "The ninth round begins in Geneva on Monday. We hope it will be the final one and the new treaty will be coordinated by December 5."

START I (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), the basis for Russian-U.S. strategic nuclear disarmament, is valid until December 5. The two countries' presidents have expressed hope that a new pact will be ready before it expires.

The outlines of the new pact were agreed during Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama's summit in Moscow in July and include cutting both countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

Senior Russian officials said last week the previous round of talks had yielded major progress.

Nesterenko said the treaty should reflect a link between strategic, offensive and defensive arms in the absence of the bilateral Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty that put limits on missile systems.

He also said control over the implementation of the future treaty should be less costly and complicated.

Talks on the START, a key Cold War-era arms control pact, are seen as part of the two countries' efforts to "reset" ties strained over a host of issues under the previous U.S. administration.

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