The United States and Russia have reached a deal to reopen nuclear disarmament talks, to “pursue” a reduction in the number of warheads held by both countries. The two countries will embark on the first major arms discussions since 1997. Both countries want to reduce the number of warheads, but no firm number has been reached.
“We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty,” said a joint U.S.-Russian statement released by the White House.
“We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.”
The leaders agreed to craft a replacement for the expiring 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limited the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, known as START before it expires on December 5, 2009. It seems that a formal USA/Russia summit may take place as early as this July since Obama accepted an invitation from Medvedev to visit Moscow in July.
President Obama said that a new arms control treaty push “is a good place to start” in rebuilding a partnership with Russia.
I love President Obama’s body language at this meeting. 🙂