New START treaty to enter into force Feb 5

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 28 2011 10:04 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2011 06:04 AM

MOSCOW, Russia - The new Russia-US nuclear disarmament treaty will enter into force on February 5 during an official ceremony in Munich attended by the two country's top diplomats, state media said Friday.

President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new START agreement's ratification on Friday after the milestone pact's passage this week by both houses of Russia's parliament and the US Senate last month.

The pact -- which slashes existing warhead ceilings by 30 percent over the next decade -- enters into force the moment the two sides swap their respective "instruments of ratification".

A Russian diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS that ceremony will be held during the February 4-6 Munich Security Conference -- an annual gathering of some of the world's most senior defence officials and experts.

"The exchange is expected to occur on February 5 when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meet in Munich," the diplomatic source told the state-run news agency.

Medvedev said Friday that Lavrov and Clinton would perform the historic document swap "at one of their next meetings."

The new START sets lower warhead ceiling and limits each side to 700 deployed long-range missiles and heavy bombers.