Today, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher delivered remarks at the Global Zero Summit in Paris, France. Under Secretary Tauscher said:
"I know Global Zero has set itself an ambitious goal of wanting to eliminate nuclear weapons during the next 20 years. The goal is admirable, and I thank you for the time and energy each and every one of you is putting into this effort.
"The nuclear arms race that characterized the Cold War cast a shadow over the lives of people everywhere -- especially those living in Europe and the United States. But today there is universal agreement that, as Secretary Clinton said last week in this great city, 'People everywhere have the right to live free from the fear of nuclear destruction.'
"And President Obama set forth an ambitious agenda in his speech in Prague last year. The president has embraced the vision of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan of calling for a world without nuclear weapons.
"Those are not just abstract words for him. This issue animates the president, it's not one of those issues that an aide had to tell him about. He has put his political capital and muscle behind that vision."
The Under Secretary continued: "Nuclear disarmament is not the Holy Grail. It's only worth pursuing in so far as it increases our national security. I believe that the journey on the road to zero is perhaps more important -- than the goal itself. It's those concrete steps that we take that will enhance the national security of the United States and make the world a more stable place."
The Under Secretary then outlined steps which the United States is taking to reduce nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.
"On March 1, the Obama administration will release its Nuclear Posture Review, which will reduce role and number of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy. For the first time, there has been significant State Department participation in the Nuclear Posture Review. We have made sure to fully address all matters relating to our nuclear posture. We also have spent a significant amount of time consulting our allies because it is our goal to strengthen their security as well. At April's Nuclear Security Summit, the President will bring 44 nations together to advance his goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.
"In May, we will strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime at the Review Conference and work with allies and partners to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of every nation are enforced. We are also working to start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty to halt fissile material production, so that we don't add to global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium or weapons grade plutonium. And, when we're ready, we will ask the United States Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
"Looking back, the United States and, for that matter, Russia, have not gotten enough credit for the steps we have taken to disarm. They have been substantial even though we all know we have a long way to go."
During a news conference in Paris, Under Secretary Tauscher spoke specifically about the nuclear arms agreement with Russia. She said, "As we are in the endgame right now of finishing the conforming of the Treaty, and the technical annexes and some other little negotiations that we have to do. We're looking forward to doing that this year and making sure that the START Treaty not only gets a great hearing but also gets ratified."
Read the Under Secretary's full remarks at the Global Zero Summit here.