Russia, U.S. can sign new agreement on WMD instead of Nunn-Lugar program – daily

File Photo of Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) – The normalization of relations between Russia and the United States may begin with practical cooperation in resisting the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the daily Kommersant wrote on Monday.

The United States would like to return relations with Russia back on track and is thinking about ways this could be done. According to a source from the Russian delegation, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said so to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the recent annual Munich
Security Conference.

The source explained that Moscow can sign a new agreement with Washington on cooperation in combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction “if it is based on equality and meets modern realities.”

The Kommersant source said that the 2002 agreement on the disposal of plutonium updated in 2010 under which the two sides have equal financial obligations and which “fairly distributes responsibility” can serve as an example. Meanwhile, in the framework of the Nunn-Lugar program

U.S. contractors hired to carry out operations in Russia bear no responsibility for accidents or disasters they may cause. In the new agreement, Moscow would also like to restrict the access of Americans to some facilities, the daily goes on to say.

Kommersant notes that it is possible that the new agreement will imply the possibility of applying joint experience in the disposal of WMD in third countries. However, there may be difficulties with that, the daily says.

Earlier reports said that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller would soon visit Moscow to discuss the future of the Nunn-Lugar program of the disposal nuclear ammunition.