The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament strongly welcomes the anticipated passage of the new START-replacement treaty, expected to be voted upon by the US Senate later today. Britain’s leading anti-nuclear campaigners expressed hope that its successful ratification will “re-open the space for further disarmament measures by the US, Russia and other states – measures we desperately need to reduce and ultimately rid the world of the most deadly of weapons”.
The pact, signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev on April 8th, is expected to be ratified later today after sufficient votes were pledged to take it beyond the two-thirds majority required. It succeeds the 1991 START I treaty and sets warhead limits 30% lower than those in the 2002 Moscow Treaty – the most recent arms limitation agreement.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “This is a significant advance for disarmament, enacting real reductions in the size of the nuclear forces deployed by the US and Russia. They both retain the ability to destroy all life on earth, but reducing the size of their deployed forces lessens the possibility of accidents or unauthorised launches on either side.
“The months of uncertainty over whether this treaty would succeed had cast doubt on whether the positive momentum created by President Obama could be sustained. With this hurdle cleared, the US Administration should seek to maximise the practical steps it can take immediately, without any need for legislation, for example reducing the ‘alert state’ of their weapon systems as well as permanently disabling the thousands of retired warheads in their stockpile. Parallel to this, negotiations should commence on a treaty which would encompass all US and Russian nuclear weapons – including the ‘smaller’ tactical weapons which are ignored in the new START agreement.
“Today’s vote re-opens the space for further disarmament measures by the US, Russia and other states – measures we desperately need to reduce and ultimately rid the world of the most deadly of weapons. Whilst the US and Russia have the biggest cuts to make, the other nuclear states who are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – Britain, France and China – also made a binding commitment to disarm. All states should be working towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which would universally ban nukes in the way that chemical and biological weapons are successfully outlawed.”