Republicans to oppose arms reduction treaty as U.S prepares for nuke summit

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treaty at the Prague Castle in Prague on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treaty at the Prague Castle in Prague on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

Even as the U.S. Administration is getting ready to host the nuclear security summit on April 12 top leaders of the Opposition Republican Party on Friday indicated that they would oppose the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) when it comes for ratification in the U.S. Senate.

Billed as the historic treaty by the ruling Democrats and non-proliferation experts world over, the New START treaty was signed by President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on Thursday.

As per the treaty, both nations agreed to slash arsenals of strategic nuclear warheads.

“Whatever our ultimate conclusions on the START follow-on treaty, we continue to believe it will be difficult for it to pass the Senate without the fully funded robust nuclear weapons modernisation programme required by section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010,” two top Republican Senators, John McCain and John Kyl, said in a statement.

Noting that under the treaty, Russia and the United States have reduced the number of warheads and verification procedures significantly, the two Senators said both of these changes will have ramifications on U.S. force structure and intelligence that it will need to evaluate.

“While we were initially advised that the only reference to missile defence was in the preamble to the treaty, we now find that there are other references to missile defence, some of which could limit U.S. actions,” they said.

Further, the Russians have unilaterally declared that the article which allows either Russia or the U.S. to withdraw from the treaty is intended to allow Russian withdrawal if it believes new U.S. missile defence capabilities pose a threat to its strategic nuclear forces.

“This has the potential to constrain improvements to U.S. missile defences, if objected to by the Russians,” they said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, today called for timely ratification of New START.

“Today’s signing of the START treaty strengthens our security while affirming the vital role the nuclear arsenal plays in our nation’s defence.

I will work closely with Senator Lugar and our colleagues to see that this historic treaty is ratified this year,” he said in a statement.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:36:15 AM |

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