Russian Foreign Minister: US-Russian arms deal not ready

Russian Foreign Minister

Russia's foreign minister urged US officials on Thursday to accept deeper cuts and less intrusive verification measures in a nuclear weapons treaty the two countries are negotiating. Sergey Lavrov said disagreements over such issues during the past few days had slowed efforts to reach a deal, and he agreed with the White House's assessment that US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are not expected to sign a nuclear weapons treaty when they travel to Copenhagen this week. However, Lavrov also agreed with the White House that the US and Russia continue to make progress on negotiations for a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START I, and that he hopes an agreement would be reached soon. Russia and the US both want to reach a new accord quickly to give credibility to their efforts to persuade Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear programs.