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Russian parliament prepares amendments for law ratifying new START treaty

Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near WoodsMoscow, 6 January: In preparation for the second and third readings of the draft law on the ratification of the new START treaty, five amendments and two draft statements by the State Duma have been prepared, the head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, told RIA Novosti on Thursday (6 January).

"Our proposal is to amend the draft law on the ratification of the treaty, which comprises one article - 'to ratify the treaty' by adding five more articles," the deputy said. According to him, the authors of these amendments included him, the head of the State Duma Defence committee, Viktor Zavarzin, and a number of other deputies.

According to Kosachev, the amendments lay out in detail the conditions on which the new treaty should be ratified, the remit of the Russian leadership and the chamber of the Federal Assembly, and detail the circumstances that could lead to Moscow withdrawing from the treaty. Opportunities for holding further talks on other types of armaments have been outlined.

Kosachev explained that these amendments will be put forward at the second reading of the draft law, which could take place in the middle of January.

"Apart from this, we will offer two accompanying statements for the consideration of the State Duma at the third reading of the draft la on the ratification of the new START treaty," Kosachev said.

One of them provides Russia's interpretation of the term "strategic stability" or confirmation of mutual dependence between the strategic offensive armaments and missile defence. "We think that this link is an inextricable part of concluding the new START treaty," the head of the committee said.

The second draft statement is an address of the parliament to the president of the Russian Federation regarding the development of the strategic nuclear systems, Kosachev said.

According to him, the committee plans to consider the amendments to the second reading of the draft law on the ratification of the new START treaty at the first meeting of the spring session on 12 January.

According to plans, the document will be approved by the State Duma in January. (Passage omitted: The new START treaty was signed in April 2010 and the US Senate ratified it in December. Russian State Duma ratified it in first reading on 24 December.)

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