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Duma committee recommends Russia-U.S. arms deal ratification

Stealth BomberMOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)- The foreign relations committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday recommended that a new arms reduction deal with the United States be approved in its second reading, committee head Konstantin Kosachyov said.

He said ratification would be subject to the approval of a number of provisos, including grounds for Russia's withdrawal from the treaty and the president's obligation to adopt a program for the development of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

The new treaty, replacing the START 1 that expired in December 2009, was signed in Prague last April by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

Grounds for withdrawal will include violation of the START treaty by the United States, the unilateral deployment by the U.S. of missile defense systems endangering Russia's national security, and the adoption of strategic non-nuclear weapon systems by the U.S. without Russia's approval, Kosachyov said.

The U.S. Senate ratified the new arms deal with Russia on December 22, but added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including a demand to build up U.S. global missile defenses.

The Russian lawmakers are expected to introduce their own amendments to the resolution in order to ensure the parity of the treaty.

The new strategic arms reduction agreement will come into force after ratification by both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council.

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