New treaty to replace START should limit both warheads, means of delivery - Medvedev
GENEVA. March 7 (Interfax) - A new treaty to replace the Russian-U.S. Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which will expire on December 5, 2009, should envision the limitation of not only warheads but also means of their delivery and should rule out the deployment of strategic offensive weapons outside national territories of states, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement, which Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov read at a disarmament conference in Geneva on Saturday.
"The future agreement should be legally binding. It is equally important that the document should be oriented toward the future and should limit not only warheads but also strategic means of their delivery, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles on board submarines, and heavy bombers," the statement says.
"We also deem it necessary that the deployment of strategic offensive weapons outside national territories must be ruled out," it says.
Talking about START, Medvedev said, "The significance of this document in maintaining international peace and stability is hard to overestimate. It has played a historic role in maintaining strategic stability and security and in reducing the arsenals of strategic offensive weapons. Its implementation has made the world safer," he said.
"We are facing an urgent need to move further along the way of nuclear disarmament today," Medvedev said. "Russia is fully committed to the goal of making the world free of this most lethal weapon in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," he said.
Russia invited the U.S. to draw up a new document to replace START back in 2005, Medvedev said. "It could be based on all the best points efficiently working in the currently existing treaty and at the same time reflect the modern strategic realities," he said.
"By making such a decision, we also took into account that the reduction levels stipulated by START were achieved back in 2001," Medvedev said. "The currently existing amount of strategic means of delivery and warheads attached to them is significantly lower. Thus, START no longer limits Russia's and the U.S.' actions in the nuclear missile area and in fact even enables them to increase their strategic nuclear weapons," he said.