President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have sealed an agreement on a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty. Obama and Medvedev plan to officially sign the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty on April 8 in Prague.
President Obama: “Broadly speaking, the new START Treaty makes progress in several areas. It cuts, by about a third, the nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia will deploy. It significantly reduces missiles and launchers. It puts in place a strong and effective verification regime. And it maintains the flexibility that we need to protect and advance our national security and to guarantee our unwavering commitment to the security of our allies.”
While President Obama said the treaty will cut the US and Russia nuclear arsenals by a third, arms-control experts warned that the figure is misleading because the new pact used different counting rules than previous agreements. Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists said the new deal could represent an actual decline of only about 100 or 200 nuclear weapons — a reduction of only as much as 13 percent. Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution said the deal could improve US-Russian relations.
Steven Pifer: “Well, I think it’s significant because this is the first real agreement that you’ve had governing strategic arms reductions in almost two decades, going back to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty. So that’s important. It’s a foreign policy victory. It’s good for the administration’s effort to build a better relationship with Russia, and it’s good for the overall commitment on nuclear nonproliferation.”