On May 13 Moscow will host another round of Russia-US talks to prepare the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to be signed at an upcoming Moscow summit of the Russian and American presidents in late May. As RIA Novosti knows from Moscow's diplomatic sources, the Treaty will be based on three main principles. Firstly, it will set a limit on nuclear arsenals to be cut, i.e. down to no more than 1700-2200 warheads. Secondly, the START-1 Treaty will remain in force under the new Treaty. Thirdly, it will envisage an ad hoc group that will be set up to handle still unsettled issues. Among the issues the two countries have as of yet failed to reach agreement on is the destiny of the warheads to be cut. Russia believes they must be destroyed, while the United States insists they should be put into storage so that they could be used under certain circumstances. Terms and conditions of the parties' possible withdrawal from the Treaty have not been defined either. Basic provisions of the Treaty have been agreed on in general, although some of the wordings need to be determined more clearly to avoid equivocal interpretations, according to Novosti's interviewees. The draft Treaty will soon be submitted to the Russian Security Council to then be presented for consideration of the country's top.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969