(LISBON, Portugal) -- Foreign ministers from six European countries showed up unannounced at a Saturday briefing at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, calling on the United States Senate to ratify the START treaty with Russia.
President Obama has called ratification a "priority" but has run into strong headwinds on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who see it as giving way to Russia on nuclear arms.
In Lisbon, the Danish Foreign Minister Lene Esperson said "It's European security that is at stake." U.S. lawmakers, like retiring Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, say the START treaty would actually endanger European security. The Obama administration agrees with Esperson and the other foreign ministers, all from countries near or bordering Russia, that the nuclear arms control treaty is vital to ensuring a reduction in nuclear weapons. The pact would limit each side to 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads -- a reduction of about one-third.
Republican lawmakers have demanded Senate consideration of the treaty be delayed until next year, when they have a stronger position, with more seats in GOP hands.
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