US Senate Ratifies Nuclear Treaty with Russia

Nuclear-Weapon-TestThe United States ratified on Wednesday a historic nuclear pact with former Cold War enemy Russia in a move hailed by other countries as a big step towards strengthening world peace.

The US Senate gave its approval of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) after several months of political debates via a 71-26 vote. The deal reduces the number of nuclear warheads that the two countries can own to 1,550. START also requires the US and Russia to own not more than 800 launchers and bombers. The deal will be officially operative as soon as the Russian Parliament ratifies it. Russian Lower House Speaker Boris Gryzlov said the START could be ratified as early as Friday if legislators don’t see modifications in the US Senate-approved version of the deal.

World leaders including NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen hailed the START ratification by the US Senate. Rasmussen said ratification of the deal will have a significant impact towards ensuring Euro-Atlantic security. “The foreseen reduction of US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons will pave the way for progress on conventional and nuclear arms control initiatives that would further enhance security in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond,” he said.