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Russia hopeful of new treaty before expiry of 'sTART'

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Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.A file photo

MOSCOW (PTI): Amid reports that talks between Russia and the US to replace a key nuclear disarmament treaty hit a snag, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, expressed confidence that the new pact with America would be ready before the expiry of the 1991 deal.

"We have agreed with our American colleagues to resolve the organisational issues in the format of negotiations and not through the press. We hope to do everything by December 5," Lavrov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS, Thursday.

The Kommersant daily reported about deadlock in the talks as the US was seeking to retain a provision from the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires on December 5, signed by former USSR on US monitoring of Russia's mobile land-based Topol missiles forming the backbone of Moscow nuclear deterrence.

"They are offering to keep and even strengthen control over our mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the Topol," an expert familiar with the negotiations was quoted as saying by the daily.

"We have agreed (with Americans) not to make public our organisational issues," Lavrov said, declining to comment on the media report.

Earlier this year President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev had agreed to clinch the new treaty by December 5 deadline to give a boost to the nuclear disarmament.

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