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Russia to boost Obama’s Nobel

world Updated: Oct 31, 2009 00:19 IST

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Moscow and Washington want to reach a deal on a key nuclear disarmament treaty before US President Barack Obama gets his Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, a Kremlin source was quoted as saying on Friday.

The source, quoted in the Kommersant daily, said the Obama administration wanted to sign an agreement on replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) before the Nobel ceremony and that Moscow was willing to oblige.

"On December 10, the ceremony for awarding Nobel laureates will take place... Our partners want the document to be signed before the Nobel Peace Prize is given to Barack Obama," the source said.

"We are not against this," he added, Kommersant said.

Russian and US negotiators have been discussing a new pact to replace START, a landmark 1991 treaty that led to deep cuts in the two countries' nuclear arsenals, before it expires on December 5.

A deal on START would mark a major foreign policy success for Obama and would boost his stated vision of a world free of atomic weapons.

By coincidence, the treaty's expiration date comes just five days before Obama is due to visit Oslo to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.

The ceremony for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize takes place in Oslo, while the other Nobel prizes are awarded in Stockholm the same day.

The Nobel Prize Committee stunned many around the world last month when it announced that it would give Obama the 2009 Peace Prize nine months into his presidency, prompting criticism that Obama did not deserve the prize yet.

Kommersant's report came out a day after a senior US delegation led by Obama's national security advisor, James Jones, discussed START with top Russian officials in Moscow.

It reported that compromises had been reached on two key issues: the limit on the number of "carriers" that can deliver warheads and how the START replacement treaty will address missile defence.

Russia has insisted that the START replacement treaty must establish a link between missile defence systems and strategic arms.