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14 Sep, 2010 04:08

New START treaty to be signed soon

The US State Department wants Senate to rubber-stamp the latest nuclear reduction treaty by the end of the month. Russia is ready to ratify, but wants to sign-off at the same time as Washington.

The deal to reduce warheads by a third was sealed by the two countries' presidents in April.

RT’s Gayane Chichakyan in Washington explained what is taking congressmen so long.

“The message from the US government, the officials to Senate’s Foreign affairs committee is this – the ratification should not be delayed any longer,” she said. “It is expected that the treaty will get this committee’s approval as soon as this Thursday. Then, if passed, it will go to the Senate floor for ratification.”

After the ratification of the nuclear reduction treaty, the countries-participants will cut their nuclear arsenals by a third within seven years time after the ratification. Both states still possess more than 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, so this first step is considered a very significant one.

There is every reason to believe that START will be passed this week, Gayane added.

She also referred to ambassador Richard Burt, the US Chair of Global Zero, who said that it was not so much about the details of the treaty that took so long to discuss, but about Republicans trying to make a point to the Democrats.

“One of the problems is good old fashion ‘red meat’ politics,” Burt claimed. “The Republicans …just can’t resist this opportunity to say – well, you know, the Democrats are weak on national security. And that’s one of the real barriers that the Obama administration faces here. I have no doubt whatsoever if we had a Republican administration, this treaty would be already ratified.”

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty has pretty strong support regardless of this existing opposition between Democrats and Republicans. According to Chichakyan, there is almost no doubt here in DC that the treaty will pass.

“The treaty has the unanimous support of the country’s military leaderships as well as officials from the past seven administrations,” Gayane noted. “Republicans and Democrats alike testified before the Senate committee in support of the treaty. In fact, the number of former Republicans testifying outnumbered the number of Democrats. And of course, one of the main questions the senators asked was – does this treaty make the US weaker, more vulnerable? And the current administration as well as the treaty supporters made a great effort to convince the critics that teaming up with the Russians for the purpose actually adds to US national security. It helps to build more trustful relations between the two former foes, and it paves the way for future cooperation on security issues.”