News / Europe

    Obama, Medvedev Set to Sign Treaty Cutting Nuclear Stockpiles

    Kent Klein

    Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign a treaty to cut both countries' inventory of nuclear weapons.  The ceremony will take place in Prague.

    The two leaders will meet in the Czech capital, where one year ago, President Obama talked about his goal of a nuclear-free world.

    After a one-on-one meeting, the U.S. and Russian presidents will sign an accord that reduces their countries' nuclear stockpiles by 25 to 30 percent, leaving each with about 1,500 strategic nuclear weapons.

    Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a nuclear weapons policy organization, says that number is a nearly 50-year low.  But he says the treaty's most important provision renews verification procedures which had lapsed in December, when the 1991 START I treaty expired.

    "So what this does is restore the U.S. ability to get intelligence on Russia's weapons, and vice versa," said Joseph Cirincione. "And that is what military planners want.  They want knowledge, they want predictability, they want stability in that strategic relationship."

    Frank Gaffney helped shape U.S. nuclear policy during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980's.  He says Mr. Obama is making a dangerous mistake by voluntarily reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

    "I cannot imagine that North Korea or Iran, for example, are anything but emboldened by what they see as the abject weakness of this government," said Frank Gaffney.

    Former British defense secretary Des Browne says the U.S. and Russia have a responsibility to lead the world's non-proliferation efforts.

    "The United States and Russia, between them, have 95 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world, and if we are genuinely to make progress on disarmament, then the onus lays on these two countries," said Des Browne.

    President Obama, in his March 26 announcement, said the agreement shows the depth of the U.S. commitment to leading the effort to rid the world of nuclear arms.

    "And we've demonstrated the importance of American leadership - and American partnership - on behalf of our own security, and the world's," said President Obama.

    The signing of the new START treaty is part of several weeks of intense activity on non-proliferation issues.  Earlier in the week, Mr. Obama unveiled his nuclear posture review, in which he said preventing proliferation and terrorism are at the top of the U.S. nuclear agenda for the first time.

    Next week, at a nuclear security conference in Washington, the heads of state of 47 countries are expected to discuss non-proliferation issues.  And the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference takes place next month in New York.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora