MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia is prepared to significantly cut its nuclear arsenal if a deal is reached with the United States, the head of the Russian General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, said Thursday, Interfax reported. The Russian president, the commander-in-chief, voiced this position in Helsinki. Thats why I believe we are able to significantly cut both the warheads and their carriers..., Makarov told the agency in an interview. If conditions were right, Russias cuts could even take weapons levels below those foreseen in a 2002 accord known as the Moscow Treaty, he added. The comments came as Russian officials prepared to sit down for talks with their US counterparts in Rome on Friday aimed at creating a successor to another nuclear accord, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires this year. Russian officials have given out mixed signals on the countrys readiness to respond to a call by US President Barack Obama for major arms cuts and eventually a nuclear-free world. On Monday President Dmitry Medvedev stressed on a visit to Helsinki the importance of arms reduction, suggesting both Moscow and Washington could cut their weapons stocks. In this treaty, which should replace the START treaty, it is necessary to limit the delivery systems of the nuclear warheads and not only the quantity of warheads themselves taking into account intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-based ballistic missiles and heavy bombers that carry nuclear means, he said. Medvedev said it was important to prevent the placing of strategic weapons outside national borders or in space and added that countries should not be able to build up conventional forces to compensate for cuts in nuclear ones. On Thursday Makarov said it was too early to discuss specifics, adding it was important to make careful calculations and see whether Washington was ready to reciprocate.