According Washington Post, “President US, Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a sweeping new arms reduction pact on Thursday that pledges to reduce the stockpile of deployed, strategic nuclear weapons in both countries and commits the old Cold War adversaries to new procedures to verify which weapons each country possesses”.
In a ceremony in Prague, Obama and Medvedev each signed their names to the document, which U.S. officials said would be posted in full on the Internet later Thursday. The treaty, called New START, imposes new limits on the ready-to-use, long-range nuclear weapons and pledges to reduce the two biggest nuclear arsenals on the globe.
The New START will shrink both nations’ arsenals of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 over seven years, about a third less than the 2,200 currently permitted. It was a year ago nearly to the day, also in Prague, that Obama outlined his agenda to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy, with a long-range goal of eliminating nuclear arms.
“In a lavish chamber within the Czech capital’s presidential castle complex, the two presidents put their names to history. The treaty must be now be ratified by Russia’s parliament and by the U.S. Senate, where the White House lobbying effort is under way” says Associated Press. After talks will focus on nuclear security, Iran’s atomic program and an uprising in the strategic Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.
The process of negotiation was far more difficult than White House administration expected when the negotiations were inaugurated in April 2009 by Obama and Medvedev. Instead of an easy lift to be completed by December, when its predecessor, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, expired, intense wrangling extended the talks by more than three months. After sign New treaty, on next week, Obama welcomes to Washington the leaders of 46 nations for a two-day Summit — the largest in the U.S. since the 1940’s — on locking down nuclear material that could fall into the hands of terrorists.
Also, in Prague president Obama is hosting a splashy dinner for leaders from 11 Central and Eastern European nations — the new democracies and new NATO allies.