Russia and the United States began the third round of talks on strategic offensive arms in Geneva.
The parties will discuss a new document that will replace START-1, an agreement signed by Moscow and Washington in 1991 and expires on December 5, 2009.
The first discussions on the new document were held in Moscow on May 19-21. The second round of consultations took place in Geneva on June 1-2.
The third round of talks is veiled by secrecy and is being held alternately at the Russian Permanent Mission in the
United Nations and at other international organisations in Geneva and the building of the US embassy.
The result of the consultations may be announced after the meeting between Russia President Dmitry Medvedev and US
President Barack Obama in Moscow on July 6-8.
Moscow is ready to reduce the number of strategic offensive weapons but only if the United States resolves Russia's missile defence concerns, Medvedev said.
"The overwhelming majority of countries and peoples stand for a world free of nuclear weapons. Russia shares this noble goal. Understanding our responsibility in this respect, we offered to the United States to sign a new legally binding
agreement to replace the START Treaty that expires on December 5, 2009," Medvedev said in a statement released by the presidential press service on Saturday.