Russian parliament's lower house, the State Duma, and upper house, the Federation Council, will consider the new arms reduction treaty between Russia and the United States on Friday, top deputies said Thursday.
Leonid Slutsky, first deputy chairman of the lower house's international affairs committee, said the State Duma could adopt the New START either on the first reading, with the second and third readings to take place after New Year, or finally adopt the deal on Friday.
Mikhail Margelov, the upper house's international affairs committee chairman, said the Federation Council will consider the treaty's ratification at Friday's joint session of Margelov's committee and the defense and security committee.
The new treaty, to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009, was signed in Prague in April by the presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama.
In December, Obama delayed his vacation for the painstaking effort to convince the Senate to ratify the pact. The Senate eventually passed its resolution by a 71-26 vote on Wednesday in what is seen as a political victory for the U.S. president, who counts the reset of relations with Russia as a major foreign policy achievement.
Earlier Medvedev made clear that Russia will ratify the document only if it is approved by the U.S. Senate. However, Russia now looks reluctant to rush to ratify the agreement, as parliament needs time to study the Senate's resolution, which contains a number of reservations and conditions on the new pact.
The new treaty, which has won the backing of the world's top figures, including NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, trims the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti)