U.S. expects progress toward new nuclear arms pact at Moscow summit

The United States expects Monday's summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to make progress on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, a senior White House official said Sunday.

''We think the summit will register progress toward an agreement,'' Gary Samore, special assistant to Obama and the White House coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, told reporters.

He said an announcement about the issue is likely to be made after the Obama-Medvedev meeting, the second of its kind following talks held in London in April.

Samore did not elaborate on the substance of a likely announcement, but he said the new pact to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START 1, will include reductions in both nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles.

Obama and Medvedev have said the envisaged nuclear arms control pact should cut arsenals below those in the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, under which both sides are to pare their stockpiles to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads.

Signed in 1991, START 1 resulted in significant reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. It limits the number of deployed warheads on both sides to 6,000 and the number of delivery systems -- the rockets or other means that deliver weapons -- to 1,600.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on July 6, 2009)