U.S. Senate Told Not to Tweak Pact

Dec 21, 2010 — 00:00

U.S. Senate Told Not to Tweak Pact

Dec 21, 2010 — 00:00

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. lawmakers on Monday that any changes to the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in April could kill the pact.

Lavrov's warning came as the White House pressed for a ratification vote on New START this week before the Senate breaks for Christmas.

Some U.S. Republicans want to make changes in the treaty, which they say could limit U.S. national security options, and to the accompanying ratification resolution before voting.

Democrats, whose Senate majority was reduced in congressional elections last month, have moved to bring the treaty to a vote this week before the new chamber takes office in January. It needs 67 votes for approval in the 100-member Senate.

"I can only underscore that the Strategic Nuclear Arms Treaty, worked out on the strict basis of parity, in our view fully answers to the national interests of Russia and the United States," Lavrov said in an interview with Interfax.

"It cannot be opened up and become the subject of new negotiations," he said.

Medvedev has told the State Duma not to ratify the pact until U.S. Senate approval comes through or is certain.

The Duma could potentially sign off on it this year if the Senate approves it in time, said Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee.

But he said Duma deputies would closely examine the U.S. ratification resolution and any declarations or notes accompanying it to ensure no significant changes were made.

"It's just impossible to say in what form we will ratify the pact without seeing the final Senate texts," Kosachyov said.

Lavrov also played down the potential effects of failure to ratify New START, saying improved U.S.-Russian relations were not "directly dependent" on the pact.

"Nuclear disarmament is one of the key areas but far from the only area of our cooperation with the United States, which has a much more multifaceted character," he said.

But he warned that recent improvements in Moscow's ties with NATO, which hit a low with Russia's brief war against NATO aspirant Georgia in 2008, were not "irreversible."

"The success of this process is not guaranteed," he said.

Exhibition

Katie Mitchell. Five Truths

British director Katie Mitchell’s renowned exhibit Five Truths, originally created by the London National Theatre and 59 Productions for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. It consists of ten video monitors, on which videos of Ophelia's scene of madness from Shakespeare's Hamlet are projected. All the scenes are performed by Michelle Terry in the style of five major theater directors of the 20th century: Konstantin Stanislavsky, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook. Read more

The Diplomatic Life of Vitaly Churkin

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations for more than a decade, died suddenly in New York on Monday.

see more

Meat Market

One of the latest additions to the trendy food court at Danilovsky Market, which has been undergoing a major renovation for the last ...

Remembering Moscow's Man in New York

We look back at some of Churkin’s most outspoken remarks ...

Meat Market

One of the latest additions to the trendy food court at Danilovsky Market, which has been undergoing a ...