Posted on February 5, 2018 10:23:45 Filed in International
Presidents Obama and Medvedev after signing the Prague Treaty in 2010
The United States and Russia have extended for another seven years a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty known as New START. The treaty seeks to reduce by half the strategic nuclear missile launchers and increase inspections in both countries.
It does not, however, limit the number of operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads that remains in the high thousands in both the Russian and American inventories.
February 5, 2018 marks the date that the Treaty's central limits on each country's strategic nuclear arsenal take effect.
President Donald Trump had attacked the treaty, arguing that it favored Russia and was "one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration".
President Donald J. Trump participates in a photo opportunity with the First Lady's State of the Union Guests Tuesday, January 30, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
The nuclear arms reduction treaty, between the United States and the Russian Federation, was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague. Its official name is Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.
Under terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half. A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism.
"The United States of America and the Russian Federation have implemented the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty) for seven years", the American government said in a statement on Monday morning.
"The United States said it completed its reductions and achieved these limits in August 2017. The Russian Federation has repeatedly stated its commitment to the New START Treaty, including meeting the central limits, and we expect our upcoming data exchange under the Treaty to reaffirm that commitment.
"Implementation of the New START Treaty enhances the safety and security of the United States and our allies and makes strategic relations between the United States and the Russian Federation more stable, transparent, and predictable; critically important at a time when trust in the relationship has deteriorated, and the threat of miscalculation and misperception has risen. The Treaty exemplifies an enduring commitment by both parties to cooperate on issues affecting the strategic relationship and international security. The United States looks forward to continuing implementation of the Treaty with the Russian Federation.
"The United States and the Russian Federation will exchange data on their respective strategic nuclear arsenals within the next month, as we have done twice per year over the last seven years in accordance with the Treaty. Through the Treaty's verification regime, which includes short-notice, on-site inspections at military bases and facilities, the United States is able to verify the data provided by the Russian Federation regarding its strategic nuclear arsenal. The verification regime provides both countries insight into each other's strategic nuclear delivery systems, warheads, and facilities, as well as data exchanges to track the status and makeup of nuclear weapons systems.
"The recently released U.S. Nuclear Posture Review notes that arms control can contribute to U.S. security by helping to manage strategic competition among states. The United States remains committed to arms control efforts that advance U.S., allied, and partner security. The United States will continue to fully implement the New START Treaty and remains committed to working with others, including the Russian Federation, to create the conditions to support the ultimate goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons. The New START Treaty remains a critical component for supporting global non-proliferation efforts and strategic stability between the United States and the Russian Federation. Through implementing the New START Treaty, the United States continues to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling its arms control obligations, including under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons".