US and Russia agree to reduce number of warheads - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

US and Russia agree to reduce number of warheads

President Barack Obama President Barack Obama
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Senator John Kyl Senator John Kyl
President Obama meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev President Obama meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev

by Steve Handelsman

WASHINGTON (NBC) - President Obama and the president of Russia Friday announced an agreement to deeply cut both nations' atomic arsenals. The move decreases the possibility of nuclear war and demonstrating increased cooperation between the two rival nations.

The treaty still needs to be ratified by the senate. That takes a two-thirds vote, but so far, skeptics seem satisfied.

"We have turned words into action," proclaimed President Obama.

Trumpeting his new strategic arms reduction treaty start at the White House, President Obama said he finalized it on the phone Friday morning with Russian president Medvedev, who he'd seen in September.

"We have made progress that is clear and concrete. And we have demonstrated the importance of American leadership and American partnership on behalf of our own security, and the world's," said the president.

The treaty limits each nation's nuclear warheads to 1550.

That's a two-thirds fewer than what they had under the last treaty in 1991.

Launchers are limited to 700 land based missiles, long range bombers and submarines equipped with nuclear arms.

"The cold war really is behind us and these massive nuclear arsenals that both our countries maintained as part of deterrence no longer have to be so big," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Republicans say what's left has to be top notch.

"If you draw down the number of weapons and weapons deliver systems, nuclear warheads and systems then deliver them under this treaty, and that will be done, then it is even more imperative that what you have left works, said Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.

The new treaty would still allow US missile defense like the Bush era plan to build radars and interceptor missiles in eastern Europe to stop any future nuclear missile launched by Iran.

Keeping open the option for missile defense could win key Republican votes when this new arms treaty comes up for ratification in the Senate.

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