News / Europe

US: Tactical Nuclear Weapons Deal with Moscow Next

President Barack Obama shares a toast in the Oval Office with the members of his National Security Staff who worked on the New START nuclear arms control agreement, 22 Dec 2010
President Barack Obama shares a toast in the Oval Office with the members of his National Security Staff who worked on the New START nuclear arms control agreement, 22 Dec 2010

The Obama administration says limiting U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be its next arms control goal after Wednesday's Senate ratification of the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Moscow. U.S. officials say they expect mutual strategic arms inspections, which stopped a year ago, to be underway again by April.

While still celebrating the Senate ratification vote, administration officials are already setting their sights on a new and possibly more difficult task - limiting U.S. and Russian stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons.

That broad category includes nuclear devices in the form of landmines, artillery shells, and short-range missile warheads, which are much smaller and pose a greater proliferation risk than the long range strategic arms covered in the New Start treaty.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoller said President Obama and U.S. Senators of both parties are keen to move on to tactical weapons.

"The Russians have a larger number than we do of these systems, and there has been some particular, I would say strong, urging from Capital Hill that we move out," said Gottemoller.  "Well, that is something that President Obama had already spoken about when he signed the (New Start) treaty in Prague in April of 2010. He said we would be moving on next to address reductions in tactical nuclear weapons and also in non-deployed nuclear weapons - that is, weapons in storage facilities."

Russia is believed to have several thousand tactical weapons while the United States may have fewer than one thousand, with only a fraction of those based in Europe.

Moscow has long insisted that all U.S. tactical weapons be removed from Europe before talks can begin. Gottemoeller said Russia may be softening its position on that, but she would not predict that negotiations on the issue will get underway  before the end of 2011.

Gottemoeller, the lead U.S. negotiator on the New Start treaty, said she expects Russian ratification of the accord to be completed by late January or early February, and said the critical process of mutual on-site inspections would begin 60 days after that.

Fifteen years of inspection visits to U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons sites ended with the expiration of the previous accord more than a year ago. Gottemoeller said further prolongation of the inspection lapse would have undermined mutual trust.

"It leads to worst-case planning. It leads to budgetary expenditures based on worst-case planning. And those are the kinds of concerns that were very, very important for our military," Gottemoller said. "So I'm frankly glad that we will be restoring the inspection regime, and be moving back to directly monitoring each others' strategic forces within 60 days of the entry-into-force of the New Start treaty."

The arms negotiator said the bruising partisan struggle over the treaty in the Senate, which ended with Wednesday's 71-to-26 vote may be helpful to long-range arms control efforts as it raised public interest in such issues and brought a new generation of U.S. Senators into the debate.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs