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Bush Seeks Ratification of New Arms Control Treaty - 2002-06-20


President Bush has submitted a new U.S. arms reduction treaty with Russia to the United States Senate for ratification. The accord was signed on May 24, during the president's visit to Moscow.

The president says the treaty is clearly in the best interests of the United States and he urges the Senate to act as soon as possible.

In a letter to members of the Senate, Mr. Bush says this landmark arms reduction pact is part of a new strategic relationship with Russia. He calls it a break from the cold war agreements of the past.

The historic accord, signed last month in Moscow, calls for both sides to reduce their stockpiles of long range nuclear warheads by two-thirds over ten years. The United States and Russia have flexibility on the fate of warheads. They can be destroyed, stored or otherwise removed from service.

The accord is the first major arms control agreement between the two nuclear powers in almost a decade. It is only three pages long, and was negotiated over the course of months, not years, a big break from the Cold War era.

There is no word on when the Senate will begin consideration of the treaty, though the White House would like to see a ratification vote by 2003. Under the U.S. Constitution a two-thirds majority is needed for treaty ratification.

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