News / USA

Obama: New Russia Treaty a 'National Security Imperative'

President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting about the new START Treaty in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (r) looks on, 18 Nov 2010
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting about the new START Treaty in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (r) looks on, 18 Nov 2010

Multimedia

Audio

President Barack Obama is mounting an all-out push for U.S. Senate ratification of the New START nuclear treaty with Russia, calling it crucial for U.S. national security. The president summoned a bipartisan group of former White House officials to help efforts to gain ratification before the end of the year.

Seated with the president were Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with the Democratic chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry and Richard Lugar.

Also there were former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, James Baker and Henry Kissinger, former defense secretaries William Cohen and William Perry, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Senator Sam Nunn.

Calling ratification a national security imperative, the president said failure to do so would endanger the entire U.S.-Russian verification framework.

"If we do not, then we do not have a verification regime. No inspectors, no insights into Russia's strategic arsenal, no framework for cooperation between the world's two nuclear superpowers."

New START was signed earlier this year to replace the expired START treaty.  It would reduce U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear arsenals by as much as one third and provide mechanisms for verification by both sides.

During his just-completed Asia trip, Mr. Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that achieving Senate approval is his top foreign policy priority.

Though it has broad bipartisan support, New START has faced resistance from Republicans, such as Senator Jon Kyl, who assert it would harm U.S. missile-defense efforts, and not allow for adequate U.S. verification of Russian compliance.

Saying arms control treaties have not traditionally been a partisan issue in Congress, Mr. Obama noted he agreed to add $4.1 billion to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure, to address Republican concerns. Delay, he said, is not an option.

"This is not about politics, it is about national security. This is not a matter that can be delayed. Every month that goes by without a treaty means we are not able to verify what is going on, on the ground, in Russia. And if we delay indefinitely, American leadership on nonproliferation and America's national security will be weakened."

New START ratification also is an important part of the president's "reset" of relations with Russia. Mr. Obama linked the treaty to a range of other issues, including Moscow's support for sanctions against Iran, U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, securing vulnerable nuclear materials, and steps to enhance European security.

Senate ratification requires 67 votes in the 100 seat chamber where Democrats still hold a majority. When a new Congress convenes next year, Democrats would need to obtain the support of at least 14 Senate Republicans.

President Obama said he has assigned Vice President Biden to undertake a day-and-night effort to ensure that New START is ratified, adding he is confident in being able to get the Senate votes needed for ratification.



You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs