A nuclear arms reduction pact between Russia and the United States could be ready for signing by late March or early April, Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Tuesday.
Russian and U.S. teams have been negotiating for months on a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired in December. The push for a new deal is part of efforts by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev to mend ties.
The end of March-April -- those are the dates when, if the delegations firmly follow the directives of the presidents, they will finish preparing the treaty, Itar-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.
When and where it will be signed is for the presidents to decide, Lavrov was quoted as saying.
Lavrov's remarks suggested the pact could be ready for signing before a nuclear security summit planned by Obama in Washington in mid-April.
The negotiators are expected to report to superiors on their progress ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Moscow on Thursday. She is to participate in a meeting on Middle East peace efforts, but is expected to discuss the arms control pact with Russian authorities.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Steve Gutterman; editing by Alison Williams)