The U.S. secretary of state will discuss a new nuclear arms reduction pact with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during her visit next week to Moscow, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Hillary Clinton will pay an official visit to Moscow on March 18-19 to attend a meeting of the Quartet of international mediators in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and discussions on Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Andrei Nesterenko said Clinton is also scheduled to hold a number of bilateral meetings, including with Lavrov.
"The ministers will discuss issues concerning efforts in the direction of non-proliferation in the context of the April 12-13 nuclear security global summit in Washington, which is expected to be attended by the Russian president," Andrei Nesterenko said.
The high-ranking Russian diplomat reiterated that the new arms cuts treaty is expected to be signed as soon as possible.
"Both sides are set to provide all possibilities for the signing of the new agreement in the nearest future," Nesterenko said.
Russia and the United States have been negotiating a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty since the two countries' presidents met in April last year, but finalizing a document has dragged on, with U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe a particular sticking point. START 1, the cornerstone of post-Cold War arms control, expired on December 5.
Lavrov has repeatedly made statements suggesting that a new nuclear arms cuts deal should be linked to Washington's missile plans in Eastern Europe.
Many experts believe, however, that the Russian demand would probably not be satisfied as the U.S. Senate is unlikely to approve any document containing a formal linkage between the arms cuts and the missile shield.
Obama scrapped plans last year for interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic pursued by his predecessor as protection against possible Iranian strikes in an apparent move to ease Russian security concerns.
In February, however, Romania and Bulgaria said they were in talks with the Obama administration on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015, triggering an angry reaction from Moscow.
MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)
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