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Russia may offer US Afghan access

US troops in Afghanistan
New supply routes are wanted after attacks by militants in Pakistan

Russia has agreed to discuss the transit of American military supplies to Afghanistan across its territory.

The foreign ministry in Moscow said Russia was ready to co-operate if asked by the US.

Last month, Russia began allowing the movement of non-lethal supplies to US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The new offer of discussions comes a day after Russia and the US agreed to resume negotiations on reducing their nuclear arsenals.

Washington has been seeking alternative supply routes into Afghanistan since militants in Pakistan stepped up attacks on shipments moving by road.

Kyrgyzstan has also decided to close the Manas US air base on its territory, further limiting the US's options.

Russian readiness

Following a decision to let several Nato countries transport supplies via Russia, foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said: "Russia has expressed its readiness more than once to co-operate on these issues, including with the United States," AFP news agency reported.

He told reporters: "The concrete parameters of this will depend on the willingness of the United States to co-operate."

He added that Washington had not yet made an official request to send military cargo through Russia.

The move is the latest development since US President Barack Obama called for a "resetting" of the relationship with Russia.

Nuclear negotiations

On Wednesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Obama announced they would reopen negotiations about reducing their nuclear warheads.

The discussions will be the first such talks for more than a decade.

And Mr Medvedev has invited his American counterpart to visit Moscow in July - an invitation Mr Obama has accepted.

Russia and the US have also agreed to discuss "mutual international co-operation", the two presidents said.



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