United States, Russia sign START treaty in Prague

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Prague (Czech Republic) April 8 (ANI): United States and Russia on Thursday inked the new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty and marked its completion here.

Outlining his vision on the nuclear disarmament, President Obama, during his speech said: "Today is an important milestone for nuclear security and non-proliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations. It fulfills our common objective to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty."

"It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy. It cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half. It includes a comprehensive verification regime, which allows us to further build trust. It enables both sides the flexibility to protect our security, as well as America's unwavering commitment to the security of our European allies," he said.

Obama said that he looks forward to working with the United States Senate to achieve ratification of this important Treaty later this year.

"While the new START treaty is an important step forward, it is just one step on a longer journey. As I said last year in Prague, this treaty will set the stage for further cuts. And going forward, we hope to pursue discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons," Obama stated.

"President Medvedev and I have also agreed to expand our discussions on missile defense. This will include regular exchanges of information about our threat assessments, as well as the completion of a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles. And as these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense," he revealed.

Talking about issue of nuclear weapons related to countries beyond the U.S. and Russia, he said: "But nuclear weapons are not simply an issue for the United States and Russia - they threaten the common security of all nations. A nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist is a danger to people everywhere - from Moscow to New York; from the cities of Europe to South Asia. So next week, 47 nations will come together in Washington to discuss concrete steps that can be taken to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years."

"And the spread of nuclear weapons to more states is also an unacceptable risk to global security - raising the specter of arms races from the Middle East to East Asia," he added.

Speaking about the progress in the U.S.-Russia relations, Obama said: "I also came to office committed to "resetting" relations between the United States and Russia, and I know that President Medvedev shared that commitment. As he said at our first meeting in London, our relationship had started to drift, making it difficult to cooperate on issues of common interest to our people. And when the United States and Russia are not able to work together on big issues, it is not good for either of our nations, or for the world.

"Together, we have stopped the drift, and proven the benefits of cooperation," he added.

Mentioning about Treaty and the special day, Obama said: Finally, this day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia - the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons - to pursue responsible global leadership.

"Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation of global non-proliferation," he said. (ANI)

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