News

    US and Russia Close to an Arms Control Agreement

    Obama, Medvedev talked at UN climate conference in Copenhagen

    President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, say considerable progress has been made on a new agreement replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - or START - accord that expired December 5. The two men spoke to reporters after a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations conference on climate change.

    President Obama sounded a distinctly optimistic note about the chances for agreement on a new arms reduction treaty. "We've been making excellent progress. We are quite close to an agreement and I'm confident it will be completed in a timely fashion," he said.

    Speaking through an interpreter, Russian president Medvedev echoed Mr. Obama's remarks. "Our positions are very close and almost all the issues that we've been discussing for the last month are almost closed," he said.

    Mr. Medvedev said there are certain technical details that still require more work. And the Russian leader expressed the hope work will be completed in a brief period of time - but he provided no specific date.

    During a July summit meeting in Moscow, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed to the basic principles of a treaty to replace the existing START-One accord.

    More than 1,000 pages long, the START agreement is one of the most complex treaties in history dealing with reducing nuclear weapons.  It was signed in 1991 by U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It came into force in 1994. 

    Experts say the United States has about 2,200 strategic nuclear weapons deployed on approximately 1,000 delivery systems - land-based or sea-based missiles and heavy bombers. Russia has approximately 2,700 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on about 700 delivery systems.

    At their July summit, the two presidents agreed to what analysts described as modest cuts in their nuclear arsenals. They decided to reduce between 1,500 and 1,675 warheads on each side and to limit the delivery systems to between 500 and 1,100.

    The START treaty also established stringent and very intrusive verification procedures. And a key question facing Russian and American negotiators, is what verification measures should be incorporated in the new follow-on treaty. Analysts say the two sides are still apart on that issue: the Americans want more intrusive measures than the Russians do.

    Former National Security Adviser General Brent Scowcroft says agreeing on a follow-on treaty to the START accord is crucial. "I think it's very important both psychologically for the relationship and because the U.S. and Russia are still the custodians of 95 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world. And it seems to me we ought to start thinking about a pathway to the future role of nuclear weapons in the world and to increase the stability of the balance of nuclear weapons, to reduce them to the extent that's possible. And unless we and the Russians can make progress, it's just not going to happen," he said.

    When the two sides agree on a new follow-on treaty, that accord will have to be ratified by the Russian Duma and the United States Senate. Many experts say that process may take months.

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora