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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Senate to Consider New START Next Week

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate will begin hearings next week on the New START agreement with Russia that would reduce the two countries' arsenals of long-range nuclear weapons by about a third.

The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, and the committee's top Republican, Richard Lugar, said they looked forward to "shepherding it through the ratification process."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Michael Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, are scheduled to testify Tuesday. Former Secretary of State James Baker is due before the committee on Wednesday.

Democrats and Republicans will have "ample opportunity to thoroughly review the New START," Kerry and Lugar said in a joint statement.

Predicting approval, which requires a two-thirds Senate vote, Daryl Kimball, head of the private Arms Control Association, said there would be tough questioning but the treaty would pass by a healthy margin.

In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that the New START would be submitted to the parliament for ratification soon.

(AP, Reuters)