Washington, D.C. -- Former Senator Gary Hart, chairman of Council for a Livable World, today praised Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitriy Medvedev for their commitment to negotiate a new legally-binding treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in December.
Last month, Senator Hart issued the final report of The Commission on U.S. Policy toward Russia, a group he co-chaired with Senator Chuck Hagel. The Commission called for a new nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia.
According to a joint statement issued today, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed "to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty." Ideally, a draft agreement will be ready by summer so that the U.S. Senate has enough time to review it.
In response to today's development, Hart issued the statement below through Council for a Livable World.
"It is very welcome that Presidents Obama and Medvedev have pledged to pursue new and verifiable reductions in strategic nuclear weapons by the end of the year," said Gary Hart. "It also is important that they looked beyond this year and committed to the long-term goal of a nuclear weapons free world."
Added Hart: "Equally significant is that the United States and Russia have both committed to improving relations after a difficult period. U.S.-Russian cooperation is imperative to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, confronting the terrorist threat, stabilizing Afghanistan, and achieving security and prosperity in Europe."
For background material on negotiations over a START follow-on agreement, including information on nuclear stockpiles and quotes from key supporters, visit our START Resource Center.