Friday, December 24, 2010

Preliminary Approval Given to New START by Russia Parliament

Via LA Times -

After just a few hours of debate, the lower house of Russia's parliament on Friday gave overwhelming preliminary approval to the New START arms treaty with the United States. The vote set the stage for its likely easy approval in the new year.

Lawmakers in the State Duma voted 350-59 to approve the treaty on its first reading. Two more votes in the lower house, on the second and third readings, and balloting in the upper house were put off until January.

However, experts said legislators of both houses are expected to fall in line with the Kremlin, which has given strong support to a treaty designed to sharply reduce the number of nuclear warheads and launchers in Russia and the United States.

"Today's ratification in the State Duma marks the completion of a most important achievement in the entire history of the U.S.-Russian recent reset in the relations," said Andrei Kortunov, president of the New Eurasia Foundation, a Moscow-based think tank. "This success is hard to overestimate from the point of view of the real disarmament process, and today we can say that the skeptics of the reset were proved wrong."

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