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Russia: Arms-Control Treaty Near

March 21, 1998

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ The man in charge of Russia’s nuclear weapons said he expects his country to finally ratify the START II arms-control treaty this year, the Omaha World-Herald reported Saturday.

Gen. Col. Vladimir N. Yakovlev, commander in chief of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, has been touring U.S. nuclear weapons bases this week. Joining him on the tour has been Gen. Eugene Habiger, commander in chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is based at Offutt Air Force Base just south of here.

Yakovlev said Friday at Offutt he expected the Duma, Russia’s parliament, to act on the treaty _ which already has been ratified by the U.S. Senate _ in a matter of months.

``There are all the indications that the treaty will be ratified this year,″ Yakovlev told the World-Herald through an interpreter.

The treaty was signed by the leaders of the two countries in 1993. It would cut the strategic nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia in half by the year 2003.

The U.S. Senate ratified it in 1996, but the Duma so far has refused to give the same approval.

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