Russia Says U.S. Missile Defense System Holding Up Nuclear Talks

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A Russian official said Friday that U.S. plans for a revamped missile defense system in Romania are stalling talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency that Washington's plans "in the most immediate sense" are "influencing" Russian-U.S. negotiations on a replacement to a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expired in 2009.

Washington and Moscow said minor issues in the new treaty prevented a signing last year.

Washington is in negotiations to station anti-ballistic missile interceptors in Romania, which Russia considers too close and a detriment to its own defense capability.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria said Friday that it has not held talks with the U.S. about hosting part of a U.S. missile shield, despite an earlier indication that it planned such a meeting.

U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle said earlier this month that the U.S. has agreed to include treaty language sought by Russia that would acknowledge the link between defensive systems — such as the missile shield — with offensive systems.