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Russian Defense Minister Discusses Disarmament with US
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov Thursday expressed hope that the strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty would be ratified soon by both the United States and Russia.

Ivanov told the press after a meeting with US Senator Richard Lugar that there is a consensus and understanding in both countries that the treaty promotes international security, as well as the interests of the two countries.

He said he and Lugar also exchanged views on "setting up a mechanism for implementing the G-8 decision signed in Kananaskis, Canada, that 20 billion US dollars should be appropriated over 10 years for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction."

Richard Lugar, co-author of the Nunn-Lugar program which has helped eliminate 5,970 strategic nuclear warheads in Russia since 1991, is on an inspection tour of Russia over US funded weapon destruction projects there. He said the treaty was of key importance to relations between Russia and the US as well as for world stability and peace.

Russia, struggling with a shortage of funds, has sought help from the US and other Western countries to render safe and destroy some of its Soviet-era arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons have been removed from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2002)

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