White House not expecting weapons treaty this week

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2009 5:34 PM

The White House said Tuesday it didn't expect President Barack Obama to sign a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia when he travels to Copenhagen this week.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the U.S. and Russia continued to make progress on negotiations for a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START, and that he hoped an agreement would be reached soon. But the spokesman said there was no signing ceremony planned in Copenhagen, nor did he expect there to be any additional stops in nearby countries.

Obama will be in Copenhagen on Friday for the United Nations climate summit.

At the private Arms Control Association, executive director Daryl Kimball said, "This news is discouraging because this could mean a lengthy delay in the conclusion of this modest but important agreement to cut U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals."

The START treaty expired Dec. 5. Both governments have been negotiating a new pact that would further reduce their nuclear arsenals.