If they succeed, both sides would eliminate all land-based multiple warhead missiles - seen as the most dangerous and destabilising of nuclear weapons. Stockpiles of atomic warheads would be slashed by up to two- thirds.
A deal in Geneva this week would also pave the way for Mr Bush to hold a triumphant end-of- term summit with Russia's President Boris Yeltsin before he leaves the White House on 20 January. But US officials, annoyed by a declaration by Mr Yeltsin 10 days ago that a Start-2 deal had already been struck, say they will not be pressured into a bad deal just to give their defeated President a good send-off.
If the two sides do not reach agreement today but one still looks within reach, talks are likely to continue tomorrow.
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