USA/Russland — Obama, Medvedev Sign New START Treaty

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmitriy Medvedev signed a new Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty in Prague today, with both coun­tries pledg­ing to reduce their deployed, strate­gic nuclear weapons stock­piles.
The so-called “New START” sets new lim­its on ready-to-use, long-range nuclear weapons and estab­lish­es com­pre­hen­sive ver­i­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures for both coun­tries to ver­i­fy which weapons the oth­er pos­sess­es.

“Today is an impor­tant mile­stone for nuclear secu­ri­ty and non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, and for U.S.-Russia rela­tions,” Oba­ma said at today’s sign­ing cer­e­mo­ny, where he was joined by Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor James L. Jones Jr.

While set­ting sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in the nuclear weapons both nations will deploy and reduc­ing their deliv­ery vehi­cles by about half, the pres­i­dent said, the treaty rec­og­nizes the deter­rent val­ue these weapons play.

“It enables both sides the flex­i­bil­i­ty to pro­tect our secu­ri­ty, as well as America’s unwa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to the secu­ri­ty of our Euro­pean allies,” he said in his pre­pared remarks.

Today’s cer­e­mo­ny rep­re­sents a step toward ful­fill­ing the long-term goal Oba­ma expressed a year ago in Prague of stop­ping the spread of nuclear weapons and ulti­mate­ly elim­i­nat­ing them.

“I believed then – as I do now – that the pur­suit of that goal will move us fur­ther beyond the Cold War, strength­en the glob­al non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime and make the Unit­ed States, and the world, safer and more secure,” he said today in Prague.

Oba­ma called the spread of nuclear weapons to more states and non­state actors “an unac­cept­able risk to glob­al secu­ri­ty.” New START, along with the new Nuclear Pos­ture State­ment released ear­li­er this week, demon­strates the Unit­ed States’ com­mit­ment to stop­ping pro­lif­er­a­tion, he said.

The new treaty also makes good on his com­mit­ment to “reset” U.S. rela­tions with Rus­sia, Oba­ma said, so the two coun­tries can build trust as they work togeth­er for the ben­e­fit of both nations and the world.

“This day demon­strates the deter­mi­na­tion of the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia – the two nations that hold over 90 per­cent of the world’s nuclear weapons – to pur­sue respon­si­ble glob­al lead­er­ship,” he said. “Togeth­er, we are keep­ing our com­mit­ments under the Nuclear Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty, which must be the foun­da­tion of glob­al non­pro­lif­er­a­tion.”

The new START treaty sets the stage for talks about fur­ther reduc­ing both coun­tries’ strate­gic and tac­ti­cal weapons, includ­ing non-deployed ones, he said.

Oba­ma and Medvedev agreed in Prague to expand their dis­cus­sions about mis­sile defense, includ­ing reg­u­lar infor­ma­tion exchanges about threat assess­ments and a joint assess­ment of emerg­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

“As these assess­ments are com­plet­ed, I look for­ward to launch­ing a seri­ous dia­logue about Russ­ian-Amer­i­can coop­er­a­tion on mis­sile defense,” Oba­ma said.

Oba­ma empha­sized that nuclear weapons are not just an issue for the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia.

“They threat­en the com­mon secu­ri­ty of all nations,” he said. “A nuclear weapon in the hands of a ter­ror­ist is a dan­ger to peo­ple every­where.”

He not­ed that rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 47 nations will meet in Wash­ing­ton next week to dis­cuss con­crete steps that, if tak­en, will secure vul­ner­a­ble nuclear mate­ri­als around the world in four years.

After Con­gress rat­i­fies it, the New START treaty will replace the pre­vi­ous treaty that expired Dec. 5.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)