More on theStrategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
Earlier today, President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia signed the New START Treaty and its protocol. Following the signing, President Obama said:
"[T]his day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia -- the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons -- to pursue responsible global leadership. Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation for global non-proliferation.
"While the New START treaty is an important first step forward, it is just one step on a longer journey. As I said last year in Prague, this treaty will set the stage for further cuts. And going forward, we hope to pursue discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons.
"President Medvedev and I have also agreed to expand our discussions on missile defense. This will include regular exchanges of information about our threat assessments, as well as the completion of a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles. And as these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense.
"But nuclear weapons are not simply an issue for the United States and Russia -- they threaten the common security of all nations. A nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist is a danger to people everywhere -- from Moscow to New York; from the cities of Europe to South Asia. So next week, 47 nations will come together in Washington to discuss concrete steps that can be taken to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years.
"And the spread of nuclear weapons to more states is also an unacceptable risk to global security -- raising the specter of arms races from the Middle East to East Asia. Earlier this week, the United States formally changed our policy to make it clear that those [non]-nuclear weapons states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their non-proliferation obligations will not be threatened by America's nuclear arsenal. This demonstrates, once more, America's commitment to the NPT as a cornerstone of our security strategy. Those nations that follow the rules will find greater security and opportunity. Those nations that refuse to meet their obligations will be isolated, and denied the opportunity that comes with international recognition.
"That includes accountability for those that break the rules -- otherwise the NPT is just words on a page. That's why the United States and Russia are part of a coalition of nations insisting that the Islamic Republic of Iran face consequences, because they have continually failed to meet their obligations. We are working together at the United Nations Security Council to pass strong sanctions on Iran. And we will not tolerate actions that flout the NPT, risk an arms race in a vital region, and threaten the credibility of the international community and our collective security."
Read more on the The White House Blog.