The United States and Russia have resumed negotiations in Geneva on cutting their nuclear arsenals.
The two sides are set to complete their third formal round of talks Wednesday on replacing the Cold War-era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The talks are the last before a summit next month between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev.
The two leaders agreed earlier this year to open talks on replacing the current treaty when it expires on December 5.
Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said plans for the U.S. deployment of a missile defense system in central Europe would remain an impediment to reaching a new agreement.
But Washington has said publicly that it sees no link between a new treaty and its missile defense plans.
The United States wants to deploy missile interceptors and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia calls the plans a threat to its security and the start of a new European arms race. Washington says the system, proposed under the administration of former President George W. Bush, is aimed at meeting a possible missile threat from Iran and does not target Russia or anyone else.
President Obama has not yet decided to build the missile defense shield. U.S. officials say he is studying the cost and whether the system can work. They also say the president's decision hinges on whatever threats the United States and its allies face.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.