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US, Russia to sign new N-treaty in April

Russian diplomats say Moscow and Washington are to sign a new nuclear disarmament treaty in early April in the Czech capital Prague.

The Russian daily newspaper Kommersant quoted a diplomatic source on Saturday as saying that the accord would be signed in Prague, as the US side had rejected Kiev as a venue.

“The new nuclear disarmament treaty is ready,” said the source, who took part in Friday’s talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the matter. “The negotiators in Geneva are just matching up the formulations, given the nuances of Russian and English.”

On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov hinted that the two sides were close to a final agreement after resolving all outstanding issues.

The two largest nuclear powers have been discussing a replacement for the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start I) which expired in December but have so far failed to reach a deal.

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed last July that the new treaty should cut the number of warheads on either side to between 1,500 and 1,675.

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