News / USA

    Obama, Medvedev Sign Treaty Cutting Nuclear Stockpiles

    Multimedia

    U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev have signed a treaty to reduce their countries' nuclear stockpiles by 25 to 30 percent over seven years. 

    In the Spanish Hall, an ornate chamber within the Czech capital's presidential castle, the two countries, which own more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, agreed to downsize their arsenals.

    Presidents Obama and Medvedev sat in front of U.S. and Russian flags and signed their countries' first major nuclear arms reduction accord in almost two decades.

    Mr. Obama said the treaty is a big step forward for world security.

    "Today is an important milestone for nuclear security and nonproliferation and for U.S.-Russia relations," he said.

    Mr. Medvedev said because of this treaty, the entire world community has won.

    The Russian leader said the year-long negotiations were tough, but hard work on both sides brought success.

    "That enabled us to do something that just a couple of months ago looked like 'mission impossible.'  Within a short span of time we prepared a full-fledged treaty and signed it," he said.

    The new ten-year pact requires the U.S. and Russia to cut their inventory of nuclear warheads to about 1,500 each in the next seven years.  Both countries are estimated to have well over 2,000 warheads now. 

    The agreement also slashes by more than half the number of missiles, submarines and bombers that carry the weapons.

    Mr. Obama says, in addition, that the treaty paves the way for future arms reduction talks with Russia, mainly on short-range nuclear weapons.

    "This treaty will set the stage for further cuts, and going forward, we hope to pursue further discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons," he said.

    Tom Collina, research director at the Arms Control Association, says the new treaty is significant in reducing the threat from U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons, but more significant because it could lead to further cuts. 

    "We think we can even go to deeper reductions, and we hope they sign a new treaty after this one relatively soon.  But this treaty is a great step forward, it is very important, and it puts U.S. and Russian arms control back on a firm footing, and, again, sets us up for deeper cuts," he said.

    The pact replaces the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the final days of the Soviet Union.

    The signing of the "New START" treaty is one of several arms control developments taking place in several weeks. 

    Earlier in the week, President Obama announced a major shift in U.S. nuclear policy.  He said for the first time that preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is at the top of the U.S. nuclear agenda.  The threat of destruction by Russian warheads is now considered a secondary menace.

    Under Mr. Obama's nuclear posture review, the U.S. pledges not to use nuclear weapons on non-nuclear countries that abide by their nonproliferation obligations.

    Frank Gaffney, a former arms control adviser to President Ronald Reagan, says the president's nuclear posture review is based on a false and dangerous premise.

    "The idea that he can, by reducing America's nuclear arsenal, contribute to the universal abandonment of nuclear weaponry.  It will not happen.  It will not happen on his watch.  It will not happen ever," he said.

    In their hour-and-a-half meeting before the ceremony, President Obama urged Mr. Medvedev to support new U.N. sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.  The Russian leader said the issue is not whether to impose sanctions, but what kind of sanctions.

    "Smart sanctions should be able to motivate certain parties to behave properly, and I am confident that our teams that will be engaged in consultations will continue discussing this issue," he said.

    The nuclear treaty is almost certain to be approved in the Russian Duma.  However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow reserves the right to drop out of the pact if it believes U.S. missile defense plans for Europe threaten its security.

    Many experts agree passage in the U.S. Senate is not as certain, but that its prospects are good.
    

    You May Like

    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

    First Human Head Transplant Planned for 2017

    Italian neurosurgeon, assisted by team of 100 medical staff, to perform 36-hour surgery on Russian man with debilitating muscle-wasting disease

    Biden Urges Global Focus on Cancer as a 'Constant Emergency'

    At Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, Vice president notes that cancer kills more than 3,000 people each day in US alone

    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