Nuclear-free world in near future: Obama

The United States and Russia have agreed the most “comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades,” President Barack Obama announced here on Friday.

At a press conference Mr. Obama said that he had concluded a “productive phone call” with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, bringing to a close more than a year of intense negotiations around reductions in the two countries' stocks of nuclear weapons.

Conceding that his aspiration for a nuclear-free world would not be reached “in the near future”, he said, that a fundamental part of that effort however was the negotiation of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia.

Elaborating on some of the details of the new START Treaty, Mr. Obama said it would make progress in several areas.

These include reduction by about one third the nuclear weapons that the two countries would deploy, “significant” reductions in missiles and launchers and putting in place “a strong and effective verification regime.”

However the agreement also ensures the maintenance of the “flexibility” that the U.S. and Russia need to “protect and advance our national security, and to guarantee our unwavering commitment to the security of our Allies,” Mr. Obama noted.

In this context he underscored the importance of the 40-plus nations nuclear security summit in Washington next week and also discussions to be held in New York later in 2010.

Hoping that Congress would work with him on the non proliferation issue Mr. Obama said,

“There is a long tradition of bipartisan leadership on arms control. Presidents of both parties have recognized the necessity of securing and reducing these weapons.”

He added that his administration would be consulting Senators from both parties “as we prepare for what I hope will be strong, bipartisan support to ratify the new START treaty.”

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