Talks on the prohibition of tactical nuclear weapons deployment in third countries should be the next step in arms control, the Russian foreign minister said on Friday. Moscow and Washington announced earlier in the day that a new strategic arms control treaty, reducing nuclear warheads to 1,550 and delivery vehicles to 800 on each side, would be signed on April 8 in Prague.
The treaty, which is valid for ten years, stipulates that strategic offensive weapons are to be based solely on the national territories of Russia and the United States.
“I am convinced that negotiations on further progress in nuclear arms reduction will continue. But this conversation can only be conducted in the context of the general strategic situation, in the context of general disarmament tasks,” Sergei Lavrov said.
He added that Russia had earlier proposed that nuclear weapons must only be deployed in the territory of those countries to which they belong.
“This should be the starting point in any conversation on this topic,” he said.
The minister said the new treaty will be submitted to the national parliaments for ratification “as soon as it is signed.”
Russia and the United States have been negotiating a strategic arms control pact since the two countries’ presidents met in April last year, but the work on the document has dragged on, with U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe a particular sticking point.
The Kremlin said the new treaty will establish a link between missile defense and offensive weapons.