This article was originally published in Global Security Newswire, produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
WASHINGTON -- The United States is entering into a new agreement with Russia that would continue in some form the Cooperative Threat Reduction program that aims to lock down vulnerable nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, Global Security Newswire has learned.
A senior defense official told GSN there is a new pact effective Monday -- the same day the prior umbrella accord that provided the legal framework for the initiative was due to expire.
"It does represent some changes when compared with the old one but the U.S. is pleased with it," said the official, who asked to not to be named, lacking authorization to discuss the matter publicly. The official did not provide additional details, but said the State Department was expected to release a statement later on Monday.
State Department officials did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Negotiations over extending the agreement were expected to be difficult, largely due to liability provisions that had long been a concern of Russia.
Under the old deal, the U.S. government and its contractors were shielded from virtually all liability stemming from any incidents that could occur in the course of CTR work with nuclear and chemical weapons. This was confirmed in October when Russian officials announced they were unwilling to extend the old terms.
The agreement, originally forged in 1992, was last renewed in 2006 when Russia at the 11th hour agreed to extend the original pact without making substantial changes.
At press time, it was not yet clear what changes were included in the new pact.