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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs