Russia and the US committed to start discussions on a successor to the New START Treaty – due to expire in 2026 – a move welcomed by CND. 

The statement was agreed during the review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York in August. The agreed statement, which was included in the final draft text of the NPT conference said: “The Russian Federation and the United States commit to the full implementation of the New START Treaty and to pursue negotiations in good faith on a successor framework to New START before its expiration in 2026, in order to achieve deeper, irreversible, and verifiable reductions in their nuclear arsenals.” 

Both US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed the need for a fresh nuclear arms control agreement in order to prevent a nuclear war on the first day of the month-long conference. However, within a week of the statement, Moscow notified Washington that it had temporarily suspended mutual on-site inspections of each other’s nuclear weapons facilities. 

While Moscow also blocked the final consensus on the NPT’s final outcome document over its opposition to wording which supported the need for Ukraine to control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the agreement on the need for a successor to New START was welcomed by 151 of 190 states-parties who attended the summit. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “The threat of nuclear war will never go away as long as the nuclear weapons states continue to possess their arsenals. This agreement on the need for a successor to New START offers a glimmer of hope towards greater dialogue and action on nuclear disarmament.”