In London tomorrow, Presidents Barack Obama and Dimitry Medvedev will meet for the first time and attempt to "reset" the U.S.-Russian security relationship. At the top of their agenda will be the negotiation of a follow-on agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), as well as the resolution of other weapons-related disputes over the possible deployment of additional U.S. strategic ballistic missile interceptors, the future of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, and how to strengthen international diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities. (Continue)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva March 6 to discuss a follow-on agreement to START and U.S.-Russian relations generally. In a press conference following their meeting, Clinton expressed the two governments' intention to have an agreement in place by the end of 2009. Separately, Lavrov issued a broad outline of the Russian position on the START successor in a March 7 address to the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD). (Continue)
In one of his statements the President of the Russian Federation expressed concern over the virtual standstill in the field of disarmament and suggested that Russia and the United States of America launch in the first place the negotiating process with a view to replacing the START which expires in 2009. Such a linkage is logical and comprehensible. Whatever the importance of any disarmament area, it is the situation in strategic arms control that most of all affects security if not the very existence of mankind. It is only natural that the leading role here belongs to states with the largest arsenals of such weapons. (Continue)
The Cold War ended nearly two decades ago, but U.S. and Russian leaders have missed opportunities to implement agreements that would have achieved deeper, irreversible cuts in their nuclear and missile stockpiles. As a result, their nuclear weapons doctrines and capabilities remain largely unchanged, and mutual suspicions linger.
Beginning with their inaugural meeting April 1, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev have the opportunity to reset the U.S.-Russian relationship with the negotiation of a new and far-reaching nuclear arms reduction treaty before the year’s end. If a new treaty is not concluded and the 1991 START is allowed to expire as scheduled on Dec. 5, there will effectively be no limits on the two country’s still bloated nuclear stockpiles. (Continue)