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Obama, Medvedev to Discuss Arms Deal in Copenhagen

A senior U.S. official says President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will meet Friday to discuss efforts to reach a new arms control treaty.

The two will meet on the sidelines of the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

U.S. and Russian negotiators have been trying for months to work out an agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department said the two sides were getting close to a deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday accused U.S. negotiators of slowing down the talks.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denied this, but said it does not make sense to conclude an agreement, in his words, "just for the sake of getting it."  Gibbs said U.S. negotiators are going to work on the deal until they get it right.

Lavrov Thursday called on Washington to accept deeper cuts in its nuclear arsenal and less intrusive verification measures. The United States says it wants to keep the verification system that was in the old START treaty. Moscow says it no longer wants U.S. inspectors in its main missile plant.
 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

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