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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Officials to Talk START

Top U.S. officials flew into Moscow on Tuesday for talks with government officials likely to be dominated by continued stalling on the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty and the economic crisis.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott arrived in the Russian capital Wednesday morning for three days of talks with top ministers, a U.S. official said. He was due to be joined in Moscow by Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers later Wednesday.

The talks will center on key bilateral issues including Russia's protracted economic misery and its continued failure to ratify the 1993 START II treaty.

The State Duma has persistently stalled a debate on the arms reduction pact, and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said Tuesday that the treaty would not be passed until the government had proposed adequate measures to assure Russia's security.

U.S. officials will also pave the way for more senior level visits early next year, including that of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in January.

At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Albright told reporters that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had assured her the lower house of parliament would approve START II by the end of the year.

Albright said Ivanov told her "START II ratification will proceed and is expected to be finished by the end of the month ... and then hopefully, when I'm in Moscow in January, we can begin the START III talks," she said.