Clinton pushes for New Start nuclear treaty vote
Published: 17th Nov 2010 16:13:49
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on the US Senate to ratify a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a day after Republicans threatened to block ratification efforts.
"We can and we must go forward," Mrs Clinton said during a trip to Congress.
The treaty would reduce both countries' nuclear arsenals and allow each to inspect the other's facilities.
Republican Senator Jon Kyl said on Tuesday the new treaty should not be voted on this year.
BBC state department correspondent Kim Ghattas says the Obama administration is worried that failure to vote on the pact may undermine one of its key foreign policy achievements - better relations with Russia.
Mrs Clinton spoke alongside Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and Republican Senator Richard Lugar in a rare public appearance at the US Capitol, urging the Senate to ratify the treaty in response to a "continuing threat that is posed to our country".
"We can, and we must, go forward now on the New Start treaty during the lame duck session," Mrs Clinton said, referring to the time between November's congressional elections and the January start of the new Congress.
"This treaty is the best way to reduce and address threats in our country," Mr Kerry said.
It is "ready to be voted on", Mrs Clinton added.
But without Senator Kyl's support, Democrats will probably be unable to secure the remaining Republican votes needed to ratify the treaty in the current Senate.
The Obama administration needs eight Republican votes to reach the 67 needed to ratify the treaty - but that number will increase to 14 when the new Congress convenes in January, as the Republicans won more Senate seats in the mid-term elections.
Senate Republicans have said they need further reassurance about America's deterrent capability after Start.
I would like to remind you that the Russian leadership's line that the ratification processes in Russia and the US should be synchronised remains fully valid”
New Start was signed by US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in April and replaces the the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, which expired in December last year.
New Start commits the former Cold War enemies to reducing the number of deployed strategic warheads and delivery vehicles each has, and establishes a compliance and verification regime.
Mrs Clinton's comments come a day after Vice-President Joseph Biden warned the US that failure to ratify a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia would "endanger our national security".
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said officials in Moscow hope the US Senate will find the time to ratify the treaty this autumn.
"We have taken note of Senator Kyl's comment. It's not our business to interfere in the procedure of agenda agreement and the Senate's work," Mr Ryabkov said.
"I would like to remind you that the Russian leadership's line that the ratification processes in Russia and the US should be synchronised remains fully valid."
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Clinton pushes for New Start nuclear treaty vote. [Online] (Updated 17 Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/108819-Clinton-pushes-for-New-Start-nuclear-treaty-vote [Accessed 21st May 2013]
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