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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid