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US not expecting weapons treaty with Russia this week

world Updated: Dec 16, 2009 11:37 IST

Noting that there is progress in the negotiations between the US and Russia on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the White House on Wednesday said the agreement is unlikely to be signed this week.

"We certainly hope that we continue to make progress on the negotiations, hopeful that it gets done soon; I don't know if it gets done this week," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

"We are not planning currently for a signing ceremony in Copenhagen, and we are not planning to visit any nearby countries on that trip in signing a new START treaty," Gibbs said when asked if the treaty would be signed this week.

There was a report from Moscow that this could be signed on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, the State Department said the two countries are getting closer to the agreement.

"I think we think we're getting very close to an agreement," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said at a news conference.

"Whether we can cross the finish line sooner, later -I think obviously, our focus is on getting the right agreement that meets our concerns and our interests, and obviously, those of Russia as well," he said.

"Our goal is to get this done by the end of the year, and we'll just continue to work to see - evaluate those on a day-to-day basis. I mean, obviously, the hard work continues by our intrepid team in Geneva," Crowley said.