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Russia, U.S. Likely to Sign Strategic Arms Treaty By Dec 20 - Analyst

Dec 10 (Interfax) - A senior Russian analyst argued that Russia and the U.S. will be able to sign their planned new treaty on strategic weapons by December 20 and that discord on the mechanism for monitoring compliance with the future accord had been the reason why talks on the treaty have taken longer than expected.

Yet the compliance monitoring mechanism problem had apparently been solved, Vladimir Dvorkin, a senior researcher at the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said at an event at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

"Most likely, there will be no continual inspections under the new treaty because, if such inspections were to go on, the Americans would hardly have been moved out of Votkinsk", he said.

A U.S. inspection team recently left Russia's leading missile production plant in Votkinsk after monitoring it for nearly 20 years.

As tension reduction measures, he suggested holding joint exercises to test theater of war missile defenses, reducing the battle readiness of missile forces, and setting up a common center for the reception and processing of data on missile launches.

He said not only Russia and the U.S. but also the other major nuclear powers - Britain, France and China - should be party to such measures.

He expressed doubt, however, that the U.S. has definitively abandoned its plan to deploy missile defense elements in Eastern Europe.

He also commented on a new military doctrine that is being drafted in Russia. "I don't expect it to be marked by any sharp changes from the current one. There can be no statement there that we will use nuclear weapons in regional and local conflicts," he said. But he argued that, as the current one, the future doctrine is likely to contain a warning that Russia may use pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

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