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NATO welcomes START ratification

BRUSSELS, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The ratification by the Russian Parliament of a strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States is good for international security, a NATO leader said.

When Russia's State Duma ratified the treaty Tuesday lawmakers added provisions to the document and supplemental statements to the resolution on its ratification, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

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Nevertheless, the new arms reduction treaty between Russia and the United States gained approval Wednesday in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's Parliament.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement Wednesday that the ratification would help secure the international community from nuclear threats.

"I warmly welcome the ratification by the Russian Parliament of the new START Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation," he said. "Following earlier ratification by the U.S. Senate the entry into force of this important treaty is good news for international security and stability."

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty reduces Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to 1,550 nuclear warheads from the current total of 2,200 and reinstates mutual inspections, among other things.

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The first supplementary statement addresses current and future states of Russia's nuclear deterrent, while the second proffers the State Duma's stance on reducing and limiting strategic offensive armaments, RIA Novosti added.

The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty Dec. 22.

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