MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov spoke by telephone to Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss efforts to work out a new arms control agreement, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Their conversation "confirmed the mutual disposition to work out a legally binding agreement on radical and verifiable reductions of strategic offensive arms," the ministry said.
At a summit in Texas in November, President Bush pledged to slash U.S. nuclear arsenals to 1,700 to 2,200, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia could go as low as 1,500 warheads.
Russia has pushed for a formal written treaty on the cuts, something U.S. officials have indicated they are willing but not eager to do.
A State Department official said Powell spoke with Ivanov on Friday but could not confirm the subject of the conversation.
The Foreign Ministry repeated that Russia hopes a new agreement can be worked out in time for Bush's planned visit in May or June. It said Ivanov and Powell also discussed bilateral relations.