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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov, Lott Push Arms Treaty

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov assured a visiting U.S. Senate delegation on Tuesday that the Russian military's nuclear materials were well safeguarded, and he urged the swift ratification of the two nations' new strategic arms reduction agreement.

Ivanov told Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Missouri and four accompanying American legislators that he had spent several days and nights on the draft of the arms treaty, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush at their May summit in Moscow.

The treaty calls for the United States and Russia to slash their strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.

Ivanov urged the senators not to allow any foot-dragging on ratifying the treaty, and said he would encourage Russian legislators to act quickly.

"Let me assure you there won't be any procrastination in the Senate," Lott replied.

Last week, the Group of Eight pledged $20 billion to help Russia scrap decommissioned nuclear submarines, eradicate chemical weapons, and improve security at weapons facilities.

Ivanov said the security issue had been "blown out of proportion and politicized." However, he said Russia would accept any further assistance gratefully.

Lott said his delegation's visit was intended to continue the dialogue that Putin and Bush had started. The delegation also met with Sergei Mironov, the speaker of the Federation Council, and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.