US arms control official to hold talks in Moscow¤

The US State Department said Friday it is sending its chief arms control official to Moscow to resume talks on US plans to expand its missile defense system and on prospects for an agreement to a nuclear arms reduction deal that is to expire next December. John Rood, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, will lead a US delegation in talks next week that will be among the last on these subjects before the White House changes hands. Advancing an arms control agenda with Moscow will be among challenges facing President-elect Barack Obama, who said during the campaign that his administration would work with Russia to take US and Russian ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert and seek dramatic reductions in both countries' nuclear arms.