Entries in START Treaty (5)


White House Contradicts Russian Duma Official on Linkage Between Missile Defense and START

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An official of the lower house of the Duma says that as it ratifies the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, the Russian parliament will reaffirm that the treaty limits U.S. plans for missile defense, contrary to the stated position of U.S. officials.

Asked for comment, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells ABC News, "The President sent a letter to the Senate on Dec. 18 that said: ‘The New Start Treaty places no limitations on the development or deployment of our missile defense programs.' That remains the case."

The preamble to the treaty recognizes "the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties..."

Throughout the START debate in the Senate, Republican lawmakers voiced concern that recognizing the "interrelationship" between offensive and defensive weapons could be seen as a way to limit U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Europe.

And apparently Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, agrees.

Earlier Monday, the Voice of Russia quoted Kosachev saying that "during the ratification of START in the U.S. Congress the American lawmakers noted that the link between strategic offensive armed forces and antimissile defense systems is not juridically binding for the parties. They referred to the fact that this link was fixed only in the preamble of the document. Such an approach can be regarded as the U.S.' attempt to find an option to build up its strategic potential and the Russian lawmakers cannot agree with this."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Russia Welcomes Senate's Ratification of Nuclear Treaty

Photo Courtesy - Sasha Mordovets/ Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russia has welcomed news of the U.S. Senate’s ratification of the START treaty.

On Thursday, Russian President Medvedev’s press secretary said he is “satisfied to learn that the U.S. Senate ratified the new START treaty and expressed the hope that the Duma and the Federation Council will be prepared to consider this issue and also ratify the document.”

The precise timing of ratification by Russia’s parliament isn’t clear but it will likely be in the coming days or weeks.  It will go through the Duma  -- the lower house -- before going up to the Federation Council, which is the upper house.

The speaker of the Duma said the treaty could be ratified as early as Friday if they approve of the wording in the Senate resolution which they have yet to see.  The head of the foreign affairs committee in the Federation Council said that they are ready to ratify as soon as the Duma passes it.

The Senate voted 71-26 Wednesday to ratify the U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons control treaty.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Russia Frustrated With START Debate, Could Damage 'Reset'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- There’s no debate over the contents of New START on this side of the pond.  No need, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it in March, for Rahm Emanuel to come to Moscow to whip up votes in the Duma.  If the Kremlin wants the treaty ratified, it gets ratified.  Moscow and Washington agreed they would ratify the treaty at the same time so the Russians are sitting and waiting for the Senate to get it done.

However, they’re realizing that the chances of the Senate ratifying it in the lame-duck session are quickly fading, if not dead already.  They also believe that a prolonged debate in the Senate could seriously harm the “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations and have broader policy implications.

“One should agree with Joe Biden who fears that, due to procrastinations with the ratification, the United States may lose Moscow's vital support in tackling the problem of Iran and in the war in Afghanistan," Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee -- Sen. John Kerry’s counterpart -- told the Interfax news agency Wednesday.

Margelov’s counterpart on the Duma’s international affairs committee -- the lower house -- said that Republican gains in the midterm elections could compromise the reset.

“We are concerned that now given the fact that there is a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, which is in opposition to President Obama, this will interfere with his initiative to restart Russian-American relations,” Konstantin Kosachev said Tuesday.

“The problem is not that [New START] is a bad document, but the fact that the [Senate] Republicans refuse to ratify the document. We are certain that these questions should not have anything to do with party politics.”

For its part, the Foreign Ministry is publicly optimistic, saying they think there’s enough time in the lame duck session to get the treaty ratified.  However, if the vote doesn’t happen this year, it “would not be the best outcome of the work we have done,” said deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nuclear Arms Treaty Unlikely to Pass This Year, Key Republican Says

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, the Senate’s number-two Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, said that he still doubts a new nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia could be ratified during the lame-duck period, despite pleas from President Obama and key Democrats on Capitol Hill.

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame-duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization,” he said in a statement released by his office.

Kyl’s reluctance is a blow to President Obama, who has made Senate ratification of the New START Treaty his top foreign policy goal during the lame-duck session. The president said on Sunday that he would like the Senate to approve the pact before the new Congress is sworn in next year.

Kyl’s statement comes despite some significant sweeteners that the Obama administration has offered in recent months to entice reluctant Republicans to vote to ratify the treaty. The administration has proposed spending over $100 billion over the next decade to sustain and modernize America’s missile-based nuclear deterrent, and another $80 billion to modernize nuclear weapons facilities. On Tuesday, Vice President Biden said in a statement that the administration would request an additional $4.1 billion for modernization over the next five years.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote a joint op-ed in the Washington Post urging the Senate to ratify the treaty and seeking to ease Republican concerns.

The treaty binds the United States and Russia to jointly reduce their nuclear arsenals and allows for inspection mechanisms to verify those cuts.

“Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspectors will not have access to Russian missile silos and the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals will lack the stability that comes with a rigorous inspection regime,” Clinton and Gates wrote.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


New START Treaty 'Top Priority,' President Obama Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(YOKOHAMA, Japan) -- President Obama said Sunday he wants the lame duck congress to pass the START treaty, calling it a "top priority."  The president made his comments after a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

He and Medvedev signed the treaty in April in Prague.  The nuclear agreement requires both countries to reduce their arsenals from 2,200 deployed warheads each to 1,550, with the reductions to come over seven years -- a 30 percent reduction from the last treaty.  The U.S. and Russia also agreed to reduce their long-range missiles and launchers to 700 for each country.

The Obama Administration wants the Senate to ratify the treaty before the new Congress takes over in January.  The Democratic majority then shrinks by six votes and the White House worries new members of Congress would block the treaty because they consider it too friendly to Russia.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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