The Presidents of the United States and Russia will soon sign an historic treaty that will reduce the limit on deployed strategic warheads by nearly one third, said U.S. President Barack Obama:
"With this agreement, the United States and Russia – the 2 largest nuclear powers in the world – send a clear signal that we intend to lead. By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities."
The treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures to Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (or "the New START Treaty") replaces a 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expired last December. The new treaty sets a limit on deployed strategic warheads 30 percent lower than the Moscow Treaty limit and will also significantly reduce the limits on deployed and non-deployed missile launchers, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers.
To provide confidence that the Parties are meeting their obligations, the treaty will include a verification regime that will provide the ability to monitor all aspects of the treaty. At the same time, the inspections and other verification procedures will be simpler and less costly to implement than the original START Treaty.
The presidents intend to sign the landmark agreement on April 8th in Prague. The U.S. Senate and the Russian legislature must approve the treaty before it can enter into force.
President Obama hailed the agreement as "another step forward by leaving behind the legacy of the 20th century while building a more secure future for our children. We’ve turned words into action. We’ve made progress that is clear and concrete. And we’ve demonstrated the importance of American leadership – and American partnership — on behalf of our own security, and the world's." He called the treaty, part of a "reset" in U.S. relations with Russia:
"When the United States and Russia can cooperate effectively, it advances the mutual interests of our two nations, and the security and prosperity of the wider world."
Signing of the New START Treaty will precede the Nuclear Security Summit where President Obama will host leaders from over 40 nations in Washington, D.C. to address how to secure vulnerable nuclear materials so that never fall into the hands of terrorists.
"Through all these efforts," said President Obama, "cooperation between the United States and Russia will be essential."