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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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