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19 May, 2010 00:26

US Senate takes up New START

Overcoming it's final hurdle, the START treaty was discussed before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill.

Top White House officials, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen called on lawmakers to support the nuclear pact. 

"This treaty reflects our growing cooperation with Russia on matters of mutual interest and will aid us in advancing our broader nonproliferation agenda," said Clinton in her defense of the deal.

"This treaty reduces the strategic nuclear forces of our two nations in a manner that strengthens the strategic stability of our relationship and protects the security of the American people and our allies," said Gates told the committee in his opening statement.

It's all part of US President Barack Obama's overall goal of a nuclear free world. However, before the policies and appropriations are implemented, the treaty has to be approved by Congress. Republicans, cautions of what they presume will limit the country's missile defense capabilities, complained the treaty did not address their concerns.

"The absence of the START treaty has us somewhat in limbo, and it would be helpful to go ahead and reach an understanding and move forward. But we've got to make sure that it's a fair and balanced understanding," said Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican-Georgia).

During the hearing, Secretary Clinton also announced that a new draft resolution to sanction Iran was being discussed before the UN Security Council.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike expressed their support for the new draft resolution for sanctioning Iran. 

"The Iranians should not take any agreement we do make between the US and Russia as any limitation on the United States' expressed feelings that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable," said Isakson.