US, Russia Agree Nuclear Reduction
posted by Paul Fiddian | 06.11.2009
The Presidents of Russia and the United States have agreed, in principal, to reduce their nuclear weapons reserves, it emerged from talks carried out between the two men on July 6th 2009. President Medvedev and President Obama signed a so-termed "joint understanding", on which terms each would slim down their respective countries' nuclear arsenal to a sub-1,700 level within a seven year timeframe. A new understanding, once formally established, would take over from the now-18-year-old Start I accord.
As far as President Obama was concerned, today's events symbolised a pledge from the US and from Russia to discard "the suspicion and the rivalry of the past."
New Arms Treaty
The new arms treaty would cover both nuclear warheads and ICBMs - Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. To quote directly from the "joint understanding", which was signed in public: "Within seven years after this treaty comes into force, and in future, the limits for strategic delivery systems should be within the range of 500-1,100 units and for warheads linked to them within the range of 1,500-1,675 units."
Presently, both the US and Russia are permitted to deploy up to 2,200 nuclear warheads, along with 1,600 launcher vehicles.
In a statement, the White House referred to the treaty-to-come as having "effective verification measures."
"The new agreement will enhance the security of both the US and Russia, as well as provide predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces", the White House asserted.
In post-discussion comments made to the media, President Medvedev referred to them as having been "very frank and very sincere", adding that "without any doubt, the meeting we had been waiting for in Russia and the United States" had taken place.
Independently, Russia gave permission for US military over-flights into Afghanistan, taking away the present risk associated with travelling through certain, insurgent-heavy parts of Pakistan. "This agreement will enable the United States to further diversify the crucial transportation routes used to move troops and critical equipment to resupply international forces in Afghanistan", the White House commented.
It added that the agreement had positive financial implications too - with forecast savings for the US military of as much as $133 million per annum.