On February 2nd, President Barack Obama signed the U.S. instrument of ratification for the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, clearing the way for the two nations to put the landmark accord into effect when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov exchanged the instruments of ratification on Saturday, February 5, in Munich.
The entry into force of the New START Treaty is a critical step forward in enhancing U.S. national security. The new agreement calls for each side to reduce its deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 and its deployed nuclear warhead delivery systems to 700, with another 100 held in reserve.
Under provisions of the Treaty, on-site inspections of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons facilities will resume 60 days following entry into force of the Treaty. The information and insight gained from these inspections, along with other elements of the Treaty’s verification regime, form the core of our ability to "trust but verify" compliance with the Treaty.
The New START Treaty reflects a responsible partnership between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. Limiting and reducing our nuclear arsenals while maintaining strategic stability will make a vital contribution to global security. With New START, the United States and Russia will have another important element supporting our "reset" relationship and our expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues.
This Treaty marks an important step on the path toward President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. But our work is not done. We look forward to further steps in the future as well as to greater progress in nuclear nonproliferation.
Speaking after the U.S. Senate approved the START treaty last December, President Obama said, "This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades, and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia's. ... And this treaty will enhance our leadership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace of a world without them."