New START Body Holds Fourth Meeting

A U.S.-Russian body charged with overseeing operations under of a bilateral strategic arms reduction treaty carried out several days of talks that wrapped up on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

“The fourth session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) under the New START treaty was held in Geneva from Sept. 11-21,” the U.S. State Department said in a Friday press release. “The United States and Russia continued to discuss practical issues related to the implementation of the treaty during the current year.”

The New START treaty, which entered into force last year, requires the sides by 2018 to each reduce deployment of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from a cap of 2,200 mandated by this year under an older treaty. It also limits the number of fielded warhead delivery platforms to 700, with an additional 100 systems permitted in reserve. The treaty calls for the nations to regularly share quantities, siting and schematics of armament equipment and sites.

"Implementation is going very well," State Department spokesman Jamie Mannina said. "When the treaty reductions are completed, we will have cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s.”

“On-site inspections are under way; a U.S. team arrived in Russia last week to conduct an on-site New START inspection. This brings the U.S. total to 11 for the year. (Each side, Russia and the United States, may conduct up to 18 annually),” Mannina said.

The official said Washington and Moscow "are on track to fulfill their annual quota of inspections again during this second year of implementation.”

The pact's “verification regime works and is setting an important precedent for future agreements,” he stated.

The former Cold War rivals to date have swapped 2,800 updates on their nuclear armaments as mandated under the agreement, ITAR-Tass quoted Mannina as saying last week.

September 24, 2012
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A U.S.-Russian body charged with overseeing operations under of a bilateral strategic arms reduction treaty carried out several days of talks that wrapped up on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.