26 Dec 2010

Duma approves nuclear arms treaty

3:15 pm on 26 December 2010

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma, has voted to give initial approval to the START nuclear arms pact with the United States. The vote was 350 - 58.

The treaty, aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals in both countries and allowing their inspection, was ratified by the US Senate on Wednesday.

The BBC reports the treaty will have to pass two more readings in the Duma in January, before going to the upper house, the Federation Council, for ratification.

Defence Committee chairman Viktor Zavarzin said the measure should not be rushed.

Earlier, President Dmitry Medvedev praised President Barack Obama for pushing the pact through the Senate. The Senate approved the treaty by 71 votes to 26.

The new START treaty was signed by the two presidents in April 2010. A previous inspection regime - part of the old START treaty - expired a year ago.