MOSCOW, April 5 (UPI) -- The arms reduction pact to be signed by the presidents of Russia and the United States Thursday will face further hurdles before taking effect, observers note.
The signing of the treaty to replace the START 1 treaty, which expired in December, will take place in Prague, Czech Republic.
RIA Novosti said Monday the Russian daily Kommersant reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev likely won't have difficulty getting the Russian Parliament to ratify the agreement, but U.S. President Barack Obama will have a harder time achieving the two-thirds majority needed for passage by the U.S. Senate.
Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev's chief foreign policy aide, told Kommersant that while Moscow would like to see the treaty ratification accomplished simultaneously in both countries, differences in their "political calendars" mean "there may not be a complete synchronization."
Obama will need several Republican senators to side with Democrats to reach the 67 votes needed for ratification before the midterm elections in November, and possibly more after the elections.
"Under the circumstances, it would be hard to get eight extra votes at once," said Sergei Rogov, head of Russia's main foreign policy think tank, the U.S. and Canada Institute.
But Kommersant quoted an unnamed Russian presidential administration official as saying he thinks the U.S. leader can accomplish the task.
"President Obama demonstrated good fighting skills while passing his healthcare reform bill through Congress," the official said. "We assume he will be as persistent in pushing through the START treaty."