DATE=9/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / U-S ARMS (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-253593 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott is in Moscow for preliminary talks on arms reduction agreements. Moscow Correspondent Eve Conant reports the negotiations will focus on reducing nuclear stockpiles and a U-S request for changes in the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty. TEXT: Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott is holding two-days of talks with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov. The talks are focusing on the prospect for a Start-Three nuclear reduction agreement and the U-S desire to change the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty. The Cold War era A-B-M accord forbids the construction of missile-defense systems, but the Clinton Administration wants to amend the treaty to allow the construction of a limited missile-defense system. Mr. Talbott told reporters he was looking forward to continuing what he described as good discussions with his Russian counterparts, despite their opposition to making changes in the A-B-M treaty. Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed last June to discuss modifications to the A-B-M treaty. But Russian officials have made it clear they consider the treaty the cornerstone of international arms control. The head of the Defense Ministry's International Relations department, Leonid Ivashov, has said that to change the treaty would upset the current arms balance and create a new arms race. The other issue on the agenda is the Start-Three missile reduction treaty. Start-Three would see even further cuts to the Russian and U-S nuclear arsenals, but Russia has yet to ratify its predecessor, Start- Two. The United States says full-scale negotiations on Start-Three will not begin until Start-Two is ratified by Russia's parliament. These preliminary talks come ahead of several top- level meetings scheduled for the coming days. Defense Secretary William Cohen is due Sunday in Moscow, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to meet with President Clinton next week in New Zealand. (SIGNED) NEB/EC/JWH/RAE 08-Sep-1999 10:50 AM LOC (08-Sep-1999 1450 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .