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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prague Agrees to Host Nuclear Treaty Signing

PRAGUE — The United States and Russia could sign a landmark nuclear arms control pact in Prague, Czech and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The United States and Russia have moved closer to securing a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expired in December. Russian officials said Monday that a deal could be finalized in days.

"We are still working to finalize a new START treaty, but we have talked to our Czech allies and the Russians about a signing in Prague when the treaty is finished," said a U.S. official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The signing could take place around the anniversary of U.S. President Barack Obama's April 5, 2009, speech in Prague offering his vision for reducing global nuclear arms arsenals.

The U.S. official said Prague is "where we always wanted to do a signing."

U.S. and Russian officials say they hope that a deal cutting the number of atomic weapons in the world would send a signal to other nations and help reduce the threat of nuclear conflict.

Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Filip Kanda said the ministry had been asked about hosting the signing by Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev and that the country had agreed to it, but nothing was final.

"We have discussed this issue with the U.S. side, and we have been asked to host the ceremony in Prague after the deal is struck," Kanda said. "We don't know whether someone else has been asked, too. We don't know about the date either."

The Kremlin said it would not immediately comment.

Diplomatic sources told Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny on Wednesday that the signing in Prague would be symbolic and could coincide with Medvedev's planned April 7-8 visit to neighboring Slovakia and an April 12-13 anti-nuclear summit in Washington.

A push for a new treaty between the United States and Russia is part of efforts to "reset" relations, which have come under strain in the past decade.