Washington is prepared to cut strategic nuclear warheads and their means of delivery under the new strategic arms reduction treaty – but not the nuclear warheads kept in storage, a US State Department official says.
”In the president's instructions after London it was clear that the focus of the negotiations will be strategic offensive armaments and that it includes delivery vehicles and warheads,” US Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said in an interview with Interfax news agency.
Though Gottemoeller, who is the US chief negotiator in talks with Russia on a new strategic arms reduction treaty, added that the US is not prepared to cut warheads removed from delivery means and kept in storage.
”I think we have to consider it as something for the future,” she concluded.
The news will be a disappointment to the Kremlin, which had been assuming that the US was ready to make a cut in nuclear weapons kept in storage as well.
RT’s Alyona Minkovski says the reason behind the latest information may partially be the panic in the US about Pakistan.
Pakistan’s President Zardari is visiting the US this week for talks with President Obama. Washington is concerned that nuclear weapons could get into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, Gottemoeller said that Washington should still “be willing to explore” Russia's offer of the use of the Gabala radar base in Azerbaijan instead of a proposed anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.
Rose Gottemoeller said it's something the US should look at again and Russia confirmed the offer is still on the table.
While the Assistant Secretary of State was giving her personal opinion, her words could be a positive sign as far as Russia is concerned. The previous Bush administration was against Moscow’s proposal.
The projected US anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic has drawn heavy criticism from Moscow and led to protests in the two countries.
Russia considers the US plans a direct threat to its security while the US insists the shield is only targeted against possible threats from so-called rogue states such as Iran.
For the time being the anti-missile defense shield project has been postponed by the Obama administration.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has hailed the readiness of the new U.S. administration to discuss the issue of missile defense in Eastern Europe.
“The deployment of radars and anti-missile defense systems in Europe wouldn't strengthen anything – it would just bring new tensions. We have stated many times that we should move towards a global defense system, and we have the means to do this – including existing sites in Russia, and in other states,” Medvedev said. “At least I’m pleased that our American colleagues are ready to discuss this, and that they’re not simply saying: we'll put our radars here – and come what may.”